There’s no better way to connect people together than a pure, real, success story. Every journey, no matter what the journey, has its ups and downs and that’s what it makes it relatable no matter who you are.
“MY LONG JOURNEY TO WEIGHT LOSS AND OVERALL HEALTH.” –TIFFANY LEHMAN
“When I met my boyfriend in 1996 (who is now my husband) I weighed the heaviest I ever had at that time which was 180 pounds. Fast forward to 1998, when we got married, and I weighed approximately 240 pounds.
We had our first child in 2002. Due to my obesity, it was a struggle for me to get pregnant and we did have to use infertility medication to help us conceive her. I always thought after she was born I’ll lose the weight. Needless to say, that never happened and I continued to gain weight.
In 2005, we had our 2nd child. After he was born I weighed more than I ever had. At my heaviest, I was 270 pounds. This weight was several months postpartum. (I’m only 5’ 3” tall with small/medium bone structure.)
As you can imagine this effected every area of my life. I was sad, depressed, and ashamed of what I had done to my body. I was equally terrified to do anything about it.
TURNING TO FITNESS
Between 2005 and 2011, I discovered fitness and l loved working out, trying to run, lifting weights, kettlebells, and boot camp type workouts. I never changed my eating habits however, therefore my efforts in the gym were not showing. What I ate in private showed in public.
LIFE CHANGING NEWS
April 30, 2015 was a day that will forever change the course of my life. I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Other than being overweight, I’ve never had any health issues in my life. I spent the rest of 2015 enduring chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and radiation.
When I went into remission on January 11, 2016, I weighed 250 pounds. I vowed from that day forward, to devote my life to being as healthy as possible, which meant I needed to face my fears and lose the weight once and for all.
In 2016, I did every diet known to man. I tried to work out and walk but I couldn’t hardly move due to the post cancer prescription drug that I have to take for five years. One of the side effects of this medication is severe joint pain and inflammation. Not to mention, in 2016 I had to have a complete hysterectomy so I could be put into menopause and stop producing estrogen. Also in August 2016, I endured my biggest surgery with my breast reconstruction. My breast reconstruction were not implants. My new breasts are what used to be on my lower abdomen. Needless to say, that was a 10 hour surgery and a 14 week recovery.
I ended 2016 only losing 25 pounds. I was happy with that weight loss, however, I couldn’t hardly move, I was so tired, severe chemo brain/brain fog, still depressed, anxious, surgery recoveries, etc. I thought to myself, ‘if this is what surviving cancer is like, I don’t want to live this way.’
By this point in my life I’ve done every diet, pill, powder, etc. known to man to try to get my weight off. I couldn’t do liquid diets or pre-packaged food diets due to the protein sources being soy based and with my type of cancer, I need to avoid soy, due to its ability to produce estrogen (my cancer was estrogen fed).
ONE MORE TRY
In January 2017, I felt so defeated and sad. I was scouring the Internet for anything new in the diet world. On Facebook, I saw where a high school friend of mine won a National Fitness Competition. I sent her a private message and begged her to tell me her secrets. She told me she followed a ketogenic diet. I bawled my eyes out. I did NOT want to do Keto. But, I did. Keto is the last diet I tried, and the only thing has worked for me. I thought, I’ll give it a month and after a month I will go back to my medical team and see what my options were.
When I started Keto, I couldn’t hardly walk due to the pain and inflammation. Prior to cancer, I loved lifting weights. Barbell squats are by far my favorite. Due to a mastectomy, lack of mobility and again inflammation, I couldn’t lift a barbell. By April 2017, I had been following a ketogenic diet and I was able to get a barbell on my back and squat. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me. From there, I have been able to continue to get stronger, lose more weight, I no longer have severe inflammation and joint pain, I have energy for days and I have no more chemo brain/brain fog.
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
I went to my oncologist for my quarterly checkup and I’d lost about 40 pounds! He wanted to know what I was doing because it was such a shift in when he last saw me. I was afraid to tell him I was doing the ketogenic diet in fear of what he may think, but he told me to keep it up and keep going. With the ketogenic diet it’s drastically reduced my inflammation and cancer thrives in inflammation. Keto is not for everyone but it is for me. I’ve been eating this way for nearly two years and I don’t ever see that changing.
ALTOONA CAMPUS RELATIONSHIP
Depending on my fitness goals, I’m in the Campus working out anywhere between 3-5 days a week. I love the classes the Campus offers. I especially love the classes that focus on strength building and cardio. I love the women I’ve met as a result of being a member. I have a great gym family today that encourage and support one another.
I’ve never felt better in my life. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well. Since going into remission in January 2016, I’ve lost 80 pounds. Ideally, I’d like to lose 25-30 more. I’ve been at my current weight of 170 for nearly a year, and if this is what my body wants me at, then this is where I’ll be, and I want to just be a little brick house of muscle.
I’m living my best life today and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my family and me.” –Tiffany Lehman
Everyone has a story and no two stories are the same. Tiffany is a great inspiration that finding your passion, your support, and your commitment will determine how your story ends. The Campus community is blessed to call Tiffany one of our greatest FitFam leaders!
-Amy McAllister, October 29, 2018