"I lost 65 pounds but gained so much more, including friendship, support and accountability.” ”
By Becky Kolosik
One thing Vicky Sponseller has learned since joining the Indianola YMCA is that it’s best to just try something, because you never know what you can do until you try. And what she has accomplished over the last two and a half years is a daily reminder that any goal is achievable if you work hard and never give up.
Vicky had always struggled with her weight, even from an early age. About six years ago, Vicky began suffering from chronic headaches that kept her confined to her home, which in turn caused her to gain even more. After seeing a specialist and enduring a battery of tests, the doctor said her weight was likely contributing to the headaches. At her heaviest, she weighed over 420 pounds.
A wake-up call came in 2014 when her brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly. “He didn’t have any life insurance, and I decided then and there that I didn’t ever want to leave my fiancé in the same situation,” she says. “I applied but was denied due to my weight. That’s when I knew I had to do something.”
"That’s when I knew I had to do something.”
Vicky’s doctor recommended weight loss surgery, but she needed to lose some weight on her own to be approved for it. “I started measuring my food and joined the Y. I lost 65 pounds but gained so much more, including friendship, support and accountability.”
After the surgery, a wellness coach got her set up on ActivTrax and she started working on strengthening her body. Then she added a couple water classes. She’s tried everything from tai chi and yoga to Zumba, cardio kick and Active Older Adults, too. The weight kept coming off and she’s lost a total of 173 pounds!
A little over a year ago, Vicky was asked to share her story with a new Y member. She said yes, and that’s when Cathy Zimmerman came into her life. “We’ve become workout buddies, accountability partners, but most of all, great friends,” she smiles. Together, they are not only working toward their goals, but sharing their positive attitudes and friendly smiles with everyone they meet.
“We’ve become workout buddies, accountability partners, but most of all, great friends.”
Today, Vicky is healing from a recent skin removal surgery, and despite some complications that slowed her progress, she’s getting some laps in on the track until she can dive back into the pool. “The skin removal was an important step,” she says. “The weight of the loose skin was not only painful, but it kept me from being as active with my exercise as I wanted.”
What’s next? Vicky plans on continuing to work toward her goal weight of 175 pounds and hopes that the headaches subside. Plus, she’s looking forward to her wedding next June. For others wanting to lose weight, she has this advice: “Take it one day at a time, listen to your body, and remember: you can’t out-exercise your fork!”