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Shelly Smith

Shelly Smith has been overweight for as long as she can remember. "I had a German grandmother who loved to feed her granddaughter. And I loved everything Grandma and Grandpa made. Oh, yes, I did. I've always had a sweet tooth."

But 30 pounds from now that will no longer be true. Ever again.

"I've done Weight Watchers, HMR (a medically supervised fasting diet), you name it. I've done them all, like everybody else," she says. "I thought it was going to be my life for the rest of my life, and I was just going to have to live with it."

But in June 2018 Shelly's life began to change. On a doctor's advice, Shelly and her mother signed up for Yakima Valley Memorial's Diabetes Prevention Program. Memorial's DPP program is a year-long series of classes that helps people in the Yakima Valley lose weight and, thus, improve their health.

"The first week I lost two or three pounds. That got me a little bit excited," she says. "The next week I lost 2 or 3 pounds and that was it, I was in."

And now?

"This is going to be a place where I can successfully manage my weight for the rest of my life," Shelly says with new confidence. "I'm working on my last 30 pounds. My goal is 250. I'm not planning on being skinny or thin: I will just weigh a lot less. My knees don't hurt, I'm mobile. I feel better physically and mentally. I feel more happy and positive."

Over the past year, Shelly Smith has become a woman in control, losing 105 pounds and dropping from 383 pounds to 278.5. "105 pounds," she says mostly to herself. "Woo-hoo! I am thrilled to death. I have to tell you, even that .5 is important. Every point counts. I might not remember any other numbers, but come tomorrow morning or anytime during the day I know that number."

Shelly, 58, is a secretary for the Department of Ecology. She works early, gets off at 3 p.m. "That way I can go straight to the gym. I try to go every day for an hour."

Much has changed about how Shelly and her mom eat. "We read labels. I saw Johnsonville brats in Safeway. Ohhhh, how I love Johnsonville brats. I flipped over the package and the calories weren't too bad, but 27 grams of fat is out of this world! That's half my grams for the whole day.

"We're big on fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Protein is huge for me. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm a carnivore and I have to have protein."

But Shelly is no saint, she just knows her limits.

"I rarely eat potato chips," she says. "If I do, I'll grab one out of the bag and enjoy that. If we have a hamburger, we've switched to the smaller buns. I stick as close as possible to my 3 ounces of meat or chicken on the bun. With Halloween and Easter candy, I read the bag. I do my math, because I can have one piece and it'll be just fine.

"Even weighing myself has been kind of a journey. At first it was disappointing: I'm not losing weight fast enough. I was beating myself up. But the scale is not my enemy. The scale is my tool. It tells me where I'm at today, and it helps me get to where I want to be, figure out what I'm going do to get back to where I want to be. It's my management tool. It informs me."

She pauses and then adds, "The funny thing is, until you have a conversation like the one we're having now, you have no idea you were pulling it together. Oh, my goodness, I really have a clue!"

Shelly is finally losing the weight just for Shelly. No one else.

"If you think I'm too heavy or you don't think I look the way you want me to, there's the door," she says. "Do what the heck you want and leave me alone. I don't need your grief.

"I think I can be content now and happy with my goal choice. I think it's very doable and very livable."