Welcome Back!  Last week Molly Brady showed us her stuff!  She really gave us food for thought (pun intended).  The response to her blog was overwhelming and she thanks you for your readership.
This week, we welcome another success story, Tracy Gonzalez.  She will inspire you to find wellness, but will be the first to tell you, “you have to want it”.  Her journey is replicated over and over in every state, every city and town and is an all too familiar story.  Break the cycle.  Today.
Now, let’s grab a Cup of Coffee and see what she has to say….
My marriage was a disaster.  I was eating just so he wouldn’t want to be with me, but it didn’t matter.  He was an alcoholic, and nothing I did deterred him from wanting to be with me.  I waited until my youngest child turned 10, and at 44 years of age, I left him and started to get my life together.
There were times I would look in the mirror and just think to myself, “just give up…who cares?”.  But then I would say to myself, “you have KIDS…your kids care!”I was all they had, and I will admit it, I did it for them.  I lost 95 pounds my first year of changing my life style.  I say changing my life style, because this wasn’t a diet.  It was a whole new way of living, and if I couldn’t commit to a new life, then I knew I would just go back to my pattern, which was lose some, gain back more.  The cycle had to be broken, and I was the only one who could do it.
I started by cutting down on carbohydrates, and walking on the treadmill.  Even just walking for 15 minutes, I felt like I was going to die.  It was so hard!  Every time I thought about giving up I would just think to myself, “you weigh 400 pounds…your doctor says you are going to die if you don’t do this…my kids need me”.  Then I would start over and do it again, and again, and again…until one day, it didn’t make me feel like I was going to die.  One day, it all just felt normal, like a routine.
There was a lot of success early on.  The weight came rolling off, but then I started to have those weeks where it was only one or two pounds, and I would get discouraged.  So much so, that after I lost the 95 pounds, I started to slide.  For two years, I yo-yo’d back and forth…gain some, lose some…gain some, lose some.  At about the two year mark, I finally got serious again, and as a result, I dropped another 50 pounds!
Then, I plateaued and the next two years passed me by.  I was frustrated, but I had come too far.  There was no going back now.  It honestly has taken me 7 to 8 years to lose all the weight, and I’m still not finished, but I’m working on it.  I have toI’ve totally changed my mindsetI now eat to live, I no longer live to eat.
I’ve learned how to become very creative in how I cook.  I use lots of seasonings and I am always experimenting with my food.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!!  It takes planning and organization, but you can do it!
I’ve learned so much about myself.  I’ve learned that living with a man who was verbally abusive not only hurt me, but it hurt my kids.  We were isolated and lonely.  Food at times was my only comfort.  I don’t have an addictive personality, so I’ve been lucky.  I didn’t go from addicted to food, to addicted to drinking, or gambling, or shopping, thank God.
I feel diet is more important than exercise, and the reason  I feel that way is because once the weight starts coming off, you WANT to move more.  Life suddenly becomes fun!  You can do all those things you could only watch other people do when you were heavy.  Water is also key.  It’s your best friend.  I like my water bubbly with lemon, but you do you.  Whatever works for you.  There are no rules.  After I lost the weight, I joined Curves, and enjoyed working out with just women.
I want to leave you with these final thoughts:  As with any addiction, you have to get it straight in your head, first.  You must do that first, or you will fail.  This is a lifetime battle, so set the foundation and do it right.
Change the way you talk to yourself.  I would often think, “Why did I allow myself to do this to my body?!  It breaks my heart!  I’m a strong woman, and I hate looking at my body!”.  Be gentle with yourself and realize that you are doing the best you can, then do the best you can.  And finally, treat yourself.  Once the weight comes off, you will have saggy skin.  You can’t lose that much weight and not have saggy skin.  Plan for that skin removal procedure.  Start saving your money from day one.  Didn’t buy a soda at the local fast food place?  Stick that money in your recovery fund.  Recover your body.  For you.

You deserve to be healthy and feel good in your own skin.  Never forget that.  You can do it.  If I can do it, you can do it!

And now, let’s read what our guest DO, Dr. Laura Rosch, has to say to Tracy, but first, a word from our sponsor:

I love that our lives are woven with so many interesting experiences, thoughts, feelings, people, events, places… how exciting!  We never know what the day can bring and certainly added stressors that we may have a little more influence over by choice… well… in my view- let’s do the best we can with them!  I believe each of us should do the best to show loving and caring behavior to ourselves and each other.
Making good food choices is a perfect example of a caring behavior.  Exercising your body is another.  Surrounding yourself with people who love you, and support you… well that is a caring behavior as well.  It is so exciting to hear how other’s have taken their personal path to caring for themselves.  It applies to all the decisions in our lives and each of us is at a different growth stage in many of these areas.  Many caring behaviors take work, they require effort and it will not always be a welcome process.  I do know that at the end of the day you will be surprised in ways you could never have imagined if you take a deep breath and make that step forward.
Be kind to yourself along the process.  What you have learned can help so many!

About Laura Rosch

Laura M Rosch DO MS, is a board-certified internist for 37 years has been practicing mindfulness since the birth of her eldest daughter 18 years ago. She currently lectures to first year medical students on mindfulness while in medical school. She chairs the Department of Internal Medicine at Midwestern University and is on staff at Northwestern Memorial, where she sees patients part-time for their Urgent Care Centers. Dr. Rosch has taught wellness and group exercise programs for 40 years and is certified by the American Council of Exercise and holds a Food for Life credentials from the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. She practices Vinyassa Yoga and is working on her certificate to become a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist.


  1. You made me cry Kim … thank you so much for your kind words…. and your right I am so blessed to grow up in the house I did… my parent are the best and I had so much love growing up… I’m so glad you have the amazing memories and I also have them…I love you and wish one day soon we could sit together and laugh about those days… I will continue on my journey there is no stopping me now….and you too can achieve any goal you set for yourself… love you bunches my friend ❤️

  2. Hi, I’m Kimberley Bale Flowe.
    I went to elementary and Jr. High school with Tracy Yazzolino Gonzalez. She was always such a smiling loving girl, she was heavyer than most girls in our classes but I myself didn’t see people the way most kids do. I was raised in a violent household my mother cooked to comfort us children me andmy younger brother by 6 years. Mom was not over weight and neither was I. I had over weight aunts and cousins most still are. So I seen beyond Tracy’s weight as a young girl, she was kind and had smiling eyes and laughed often. In sixth grade I stayed over at her house, wow! What a loving happy household, her mom and dad cooked together in the kitchen. The kids set the table and there was no yelling or fighting, I was blown away by this sweet family. All of the children smiled and laughed while we all enjoyed a wonderful huge dinner of pasta, sauce, bread and maybe even salad I can’t even remember it all but boy was it wonderful.
    Tracy’s mom was not over weight, her dad was and so full of love, pride and wonderment as he talked with his children or watched them walk by, his laughter filled the home. His Nick name for Tracy was (not sure of the spelling ) coosa bellas, which meant chubby cheeks. When I left their home I was sure that they were the luckiest kids in town. No fighting or screaming no glass shattering in the middle of the night, no bruised up mom waking you up for school and no dad coming home drunk with no paycheck because he gambled it away before he made it home from the bar.
    Needless to say it was often that we didn’t have enough food in our house.
    I married my husband at 17 after I graduated early, I weighed 117lbs and wore a DD bra when we married.
    His family never did without anything, food and sodas were plentiful in their house and his mother and sister were over weight his mother comforted her family with food but it only showed on she and her daughter. We all moved back to back to North Carolina where they were from, I learned to cook what my husband grew up on, I also knew how to cook my Western cowboy mear, potatoes,gravy, breads, cakes ,pies and so forth. I did ok and weighed 130 when I got pregnant 4 years later and in the south you get fed a lot while you’re pregnant, all you hear is you’re eating for 2 now. I weight 200 lbs after my first baby then weight 175 when I got pregnant with my wnd child 1 year later, I gained 6lbs the whole pregnancy.
    I had two babies and as thousands of miles from my mom, I never left my children, my husband wanted to work and I was to be a stay at home mother. This is when the weight started piling on. I had/ have the best husband he didn’t care but he never gained a pound. Since I was 14 because of the stress and severe allergies I developed one of the worst cases of psoriasis the dermatologist had ever seen, he said I’d be crippled with psoriatic arthritis by the time I was 19 if we couldn’t get them under control. We got them pretty well controlled until I my kids got chicken pox, I had never had them at 26 after the chicken pox I was back to the worst case of chicken pox ever seen. So began my life on steroids and the weight kept piling on till I was 200 lbs and I began the yo yo, next fad diet, lose some gain some and so on but I also couldn’t move well. Now I have psoriatic arthritis, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, fibro myalgia, nerve damage to my lower back and siatica the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy has spread bilaterally to my left arm and leg I have frozen shoulder and I weigh 261 lbs and feel like I’m going to die every day. Tracy, I’m so pround of you honey and I’m thrilled that you have come so far.
    The point of me telling my story is, we all think when were young that we’ll always look like we did in school, some are blessed with that trait. I myself had a real nice figure and boobs enough for 2 girls, now them buggars stare at the floor all the time and with my having Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy any surgery is likely to cause me more chronic pain. Needless to say now I’m a pretty big gal and I feel like hell and I’ve got to get this weight off before it SERIOUSLY KILLS ME.
    I love you Tracy, you keep going girl you deserve to feel wonderful and to enjoy the body you’ve worked so hard for but I want you to know this from the eyes of a child that grew up in the same town you did. I’ve ALWAYS only seen you as one of the most beautiful people I have ever known that got to grow up in the most wonderful family I ever had the honor to be invited to spend a weekend with. You deserve all the wonderful things you desire, good luck my sweet friend.
    SINCERELY, Kimberley Bale Flowe

    1. I’m bawling…thank you for this. You are so right…I wish you nothing but the best life has to offer, Kimberley…

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