Name: Cindy Erwin

Age: 57

City: Walnut Creek

Free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm free at last!

That is how I feel about my life since I lost 68 pounds, and I know I will never be fat again.

Four years ago a friend told me she was attending Overeaters Anonymous H.O.W. (honesty, open-mindedness, willingness) meetings, a 12-step program. I knew right away that I wanted to go, too.

At the meetings, I heard stories of other people in various stages of weight loss. I loved that the program did not require people to exercise. I had tried to diet and exercise together before and gave up on the diet when I had failed to exercise. I had a sponsor and I followed the eating plan, which leaves out white sugar and white flour. Some people say, "I could never do that." But that's the magic of it. By giving up white sugar and flour, I found I no longer craved them.

Yes, I had cravings in the first week or two, but after that they diminished to none at all. For so many years, I thought I just didn't have what it takes to stick to a diet, that I was weak. I didn't realize I was addicted to the things I kept eating. When I took those things out of my diet, I had complete control over what and how much I put into my mouth. For me it was an absolute revelation!

It took eight months for the weight to come off. After that, I was able to increase the volume of food I ate until I stopped losing weight. I have always liked to eat a lot. If I am at a buffet, I just eat the foods I'm allowed to eat. I have traveled to other countries and spent days on cruise ships and always manage to stick with my eating plan. I don't feel like I'm still on a diet. I just eat lots of good, clean food and enjoy every bite.


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My life has not been the same since. Gone are the self-loathing and self-hatred. Gone is being invisible in a world of beautiful people.

Have you lost a significant amount of weight, or did you finally lose those stubborn last 10 pounds? If so, we'd like to hear your story. Tell us in 400 words or fewer about your weight-loss journey. Send your stories to mross@bayareanewsgroup.com with the subject line "weight loss story." Include your name, age and city and a contact phone number. Also, send before and after pictures in JPG format, if available.