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Herckle with Sock Monkey

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Hercky in Connecticut Snow

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The date: Dec 2, 1972. The occasion: the day of our marriage! I weighed 120 then.


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Hello and thanks for stopping in today! Hope 2007 is brimming with hope, health and happiness.

Btw, Herckle (Herc, Hercky, Herckleperckle, etc.) is a nickname for my beloved 13-year-old mutt, Hercules.
I adore my family: husband of 34 years and two adult children . . . and Herckle, of course!

My name is actually Dale. I am 58 years old, 5'4" and weighed 203 pounds when I began this program on September 1, 2006. Thanks to SP, I had a concrete program to get me going, a helping hand to step it up, and a warm and welcoming place to reach out to others like myself.

Before I had completed my first 3 months here, I reached my Christmas Day goal of getting down to 168! And I am down even more now. So I am tickled as can be--and I determined to continue to make progress.

More importantly, I have regained the ability to be me--more active, more confident and more capable of coping with everyday life--an entitlement I thought I had lost forever.

I fully intended to keep going without a break. But I found Thanksgiving was difficult for me. I am back on 'the program' once again, though, as I want to live life fully--and feel I can do so best at my wedding weight, 120.

My Story--The Past, The Past

To be truthful, I started having an issue with weight in the 10th grade--at the time of my parent's divorce. I have been a successful dieter in the past, but, like my mother, who I lost on Christmas Day, 2005, I am a yo-yo dieter. So my weight has been as low as 112 and now, the high (when I finally allowed myself to step on the scales again in late August, 2006) was 203.

Things became particularly problematic for me--with my weight at 135-- after I took early retirement at age 55 and then couldn't land another job in my field. I was devastated. I was on the computer all day long, trying to find jobs. Although I came close on a couple of 'down to the last two candidates' interviews, I found myself to be the loser.

My experience, skills and (at 135 lb) my image were not holding me back. What was was my age--55. I think it took me two years to put on all the extra weight--and all from overeating due to the stress I felt. When I realized that I'd never land another corporate job like the one I had, I kind of gave up, and 'let myself go.'

I ate all day long --not huge amounts, but when you eat the day through, it does add up. I typically wasn't hungry, and my choices were terrible--cookies, candies and doughnuts--whenever the urge hit. And that was in addition to the balanced meals I was cooking for my husband and myself at dinnertime and on weekends. Soon the 'grazing 24-hour' thing became a habit. And then the habit became an addiction. I truly believe that.

That's when I started having health problems:

* The two herniated disks in my back became unbearable, so walking Herckie became a monumental task.

* I developed high blood pressure--after having had low blood pressure all my life--and that made it hard to clean our home like a tornado, as was my custom.

* I started getting nosebleeds and migraines.

* I developed GERD (acid reflux).

* I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. (A year and hundreds of huge aqua pills later, that was found not to be true. I still do have IBS issues, but not Crohn's.)

* I suddenly had tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms/hands.

Even with medical intervention and supervision, my quality of life was deteriorating. I was (and still am) on antidepressants (chemical imbalance) which, thankfully, did make it possible for me to have a good attitude and concentrate on the positives in my life. But I think they also are a factor in the weight gain (in that I didn't worry too much while rewarding myself by stuffing my face with a chocolate donut) after, say, I walked Hercky or made the bed. I made excuse after excuse to myself.

Although the weight is a huge factor in my self esteem (when I choose to think about it), I know it is an absolute burden with respect to my ability to do the things I like to do.

I am a huge walker. My husband and I used to go camping, and walking trails was something we both enjoyed. I knew that my extra weight had to be exacerbating the pain from my herniated disks. I just couldn't get motivated to do anything because my body seemed to be shutting down, little by little.

And of course, the overwhelming fatigue--whether from the meds or not--was just the last nail in the coffin, so to speak. You could have called me a shut-in until recently--though I almost always took Hercky on at least one walk per day. (My husband did the rest.) I disliked eating out or going places because I was too tired, but also because I was afraid someone might recognize me. Because the change in me would have registered on their faces. And I didn't think I could have taken that on top of everything else.

Here and Now

After an appointment with my doctor on August 30, 2006, I finally felt motivated to DO something about the extra pounds that have been dragging me down in so many ways. I decided to lose 80 pounds total, to get back to a comfortable weight of 120. I am off and running, for sure!

I found SparkPeople by a fluke and am just thrilled with it. My family members are completely supportive of my efforts, and that helps tremendously.

So here I am, at minus 44 pounds and continuing this walk with you. I am determined to do this so I can enjoy the years ahead, whatever they may bring.

Member Since: 8/31/2006

Fitness Minutes: 75

My Goals:
My primary goal is to recapture the ability to enjoy life outside the confines I have built for myself. That means dropping a total of 80 pounds.

I have rid myself of 44 pounds to date--I'm a bit over halfway there! And I am digging in to make the rest of my padding ancient history, too!

My Program:
Trying to stay between the 1000 calories per day that my doctor recommended and the minimum SP recommends for me (1200 calories)--to satisfy the nutrient values. And I am making a point of walking 120 minutes per day minimum. I have also added strength training exercises.

Personal Information:
Name: Dale (aka Herckle)
Birthdate: 11-11-47
Home: Wilmington, DE

Other Information:
2 wonderful children, both on their own now
1 hubby
1 perfect child, my Herckle!

Lost my mother to breast cancer (after a 24-year battle with it) on Christmas Day, 2005. She also had a weight problem most of her adult life, developing diabetes and congestive heart failure. She should have lived much longer than her 74 years. In her last few years, she finally got control of her weight and diabetes, but it was too late. At the end, the cancer had spread to her liver, lungs and brain. She had a series of strokes CAUSED by the cancer, followed by a heart attack. (The physicians did list her death as caused by breast cancer.)

In all those years, she never gave up. And her strength and spirit are in me. So I will not give up on life, either. Gonna make it to a healthier me NOW.

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    LOL!! I thought I'd ALREADY added you to my Friends - counted you, just hadn't ADDED you.
    5348 days ago
    Dale, I saw that comment you left on Psychogreengirl's page... Back AWAY from the knife drawer, you... ;) Slow and steady wins the race.
    5348 days ago
    Hi Dale and thanks for your very sweet comments on my page. The wedding is in two weeks and I can't wait!! I fly up a couple of days early to help arrange flowers and bake cupcakes no wedding cake for this one!) The March bride used to be a model so I definitely have a tough audience for my weight loss - she's got the best tips and hints and for years they went in one ear and out the other. Now she's thrilled that I'm on the right track and is my biggest cheerleader!

    I write all kinds of things. I used to edit my national dog club's magazine for 5 years. I've published poetry, non-fiction articles on dog training and tropical fish, and spent a decade writing business plans, press releases, and shareholder brochures for emerging companies in a wide variety of industries. It was fun and I learned so much. Last Novement I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where participants write a 50K word novel in 30 days. It was a blast and I finally finished my first novel!!

    If you're interested, you should check out the SparkPlugs group that I'm in. We're mostly over 50 and started out with 90 lbs to lose. It's a great, very supportive group of ladies spread all over the world including Israel and Japan!!

    Anyway, I look forward to learning much more about you and cheering you on as you move to a new, healthier Dale!

    5357 days ago
    Hi Dale!

    Thanks for your note and all of your kind words! Your little Herckle is adorable too! I especially like the pic of him in the santa hat. What a little cutie. WOW, after reading your profile, I sure give you a lot of credit. You've been through a lot and for you to even be here is very courageous of you. Congratulations. Just remember to take it one step at a time, and recognize the good choices you make. I've lost/gained back weight a hundred times and I only ever recognized what the scale said, so after a good week of eating right and working out, if the scale didn't move, I was a failure. This time it is different. I praise myself for getting up and going to the gym, for choosing fruit or a salad instead of fries at a restaurant, for getting my water in, etc. That way, I can go to bed each night and be proud of my accomplishments and know that I am working my way to a healthier, thinner me.

    Good luck on your journey! I am here to walk it with you! Laurie
    5357 days ago
  • v SMURFETTE2423
    HERCKLE- I'm so glad you are on 50+ women site. I, too, tried to get a job in my late forties and fifties and got into the second interview and was passed over for right-out-of-college youngsters. I think it's a problem with administrators and their feelings of insecurity- they think they can MOLD the young people but, due to the wisdom and "horsesense" that comes with age, we may have an individual idea or two in our brains and might want THEM to change so things work better. I, too, have chemically-caused depression (I think we're actually lucky because, for OUR kind of depression, the medicines work pretty well. I, too, lost a loved one last year, but mine was my daughter Bonnie Blue, who had heart problems all her life , with many open heart surgeries and one heart transplant. Somewhere in there, she had a BABY (a true miracle by EVERYBODY'S standards, but she wanted to be a Mommy since she was 2, so it was worth everything to her- the reckless passion of youth!) and they lived at our house from then on. She died last year and now Ron and I, at age 55, are raising a THREE-YEAR-OLD! Bonnie had a kind heart to leave us this little angel; I don't know WHAT I would have done if I hadn't had to care for him. Anyway, so now I am a human blimp and I'm looking to lose weight, get healthy, and look like Angelina Jolie. What are my chances? LOL Now that I've written a BOOK, I just want to say THANKS for being a kindred spirit. There are a great many women like us on 50+ Women and it's GREAT! Hugs, Laurie/ SMURFETTE
    5359 days ago
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