The story of the month for January 2010 comes from Jennette Fulda of JenFul.com

I had the pleasure of meeting Jennette in November of 2009, at the Nutrilite Sports Nutrition Blogger Event. As we got to talking, Jennette shared her story of wellness over the years when it came to diet, weight loss and general health with me and I knew it would make a great story to inspire you as well.

It was great to hear Jennette’s experience and be moved by her story. Many people today are battling to lose various amounts of weight, and it is nice to share in each other’s journeys, learn what works, what doesn’t and celebrate each other’s successes. Over the years, Jennette has chronicled her journey on her blog Pasta Queen and today continues to write on her site about her various experiences. She has also written her story in more detail, in her book Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir.

Here is Jennette sharing her story of weight loss, health and wellness:

Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change

When I was a kid, I paid as much attention to my health and wellness as I did to the NASDAQ. It wasn’t something I thought about or knew much about. I ate what I wanted, be it microwaved pizzas and beef jerky, or three ice cream pops from the freezer.

As you’d expect, this behavior caused me to gain weight. By middle school I was overweight, by high school I was obese, and by college I was morbidly obese, weighing in at 372 pounds. I had to have my gallbladder removed at age 23, which was the first of many health problems that would be in my future if I didn’t change something. My surgeon for that procedure brought up the possibility of having weight-loss surgery. I decided I needed to make at least one last gung-ho, full-fledged effort to lose weight before I even considered surgery.

At the beginning of 2005, when I was 24 years-old, I started following the South Beach Diet. I started walking regularly too. A little over two years later, I’d lost over half my weight!

Strategies I Implemented & Their Results

My younger brother had been successful with the South Beach Diet, and he seemed to be eating fairly normal food, so I followed that plan. It emphasizes eating lean meats, fruits and veggies with a low glycemic index, and choosing whole grains over potatoes or white flour. As a result, I cut a lot of sugar and cheap carbs out of my diet, like regular sodas and chips.

I’ve learned so much about food over the past years, like what types of fats are good and bad, what macronutrients my favorite foods are made out of, and where my food comes from. When I started, the only thing I knew how to cook was a grilled-cheese sandwich, but now I’ve got a binder full of my favorite recipes.

I also began exercising regularly. At first all I could handle was walking half a mile before I needed to rest. Gradually I walked farther and farther, and after I’d lost over 100 pounds, I started running. I also took up Pilates and weight-lifting. After I lost half my weight, I ran a half-marathon.

Most important for me was taking on the mindset of an athlete instead of someone only concerned with her weight. I took a lot of pride in my accomplishments, be it running a 5K or finally doing “The Teaser” position during Pilates. I prefer to focus on my “verbs,” meaning what I can do, instead of my “adjectives,” that only describe what I look like.

How My Changes Benefitted Me

I felt so much better after only a week or two of changing my habits. It was amazing. I didn’t realize how crappy I’d felt all the time, until I felt better. It was like putting on a pair of glasses after being nearsighted all my life.

I’ve greatly reduced my risk of heart disease and developing diabetes. My knees no longer hurt when I walk up the stairs. I’ve also gained a sense of self-confidence that has made me a stronger person more willing to take risks, such as quitting my job six months ago to freelance full-time.

Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey

Unfortunately, almost two years ago I developed a chronic headache condition that was even harder to battle than obesity. I went through a period of depression and started binge eating because food was the only thing I got pleasure from. I’m finally on a treatment plan that has helped me manage my headache and bring down the pain level so I can live my life again. I gained about 40 pounds during those years, so I’d like to knock off at least 20 or 30 of those, if not all of them.

I think my experience shows that living well is a lifelong commitment. You don’t just get to the finish line and get to stop. The only finish line is death, which I’d like to put off as long as possible. My headache also showed me that when one element of your life goes out of whack, your whole life can become unbalanced. However, I’ve been maintaining my weight lately, and I think after we’re through the holidays I’ll stand a better chance of reaching my goals.

Wisdom & Inspiration for Others

Never give up.

Like I said, it’s not over until your dead. You’ll have ups and downs, but like a surfer you just have to ride the waves out.

I think it’s important to focus on the positive too.

I could be negative and only focus on the fact that I’ve gained 40 pounds, but when you look at the fact that I’ve lost 150 pounds and kept it off, the world seems like a much brighter place.