“The Skinny” on Donna Webster: The Amazing Transformation of a Local Physical Therapist

“A very wise friend once told me something that truly made me think. He said, “Donna, as a Physical Therapist, you ask people to do things that are hard for them to do every day. Why wouldn’t you want to show them that you have done something that is very hard to do and have been successful at it?
Here is my story…”

It all began in November of 2010 when I went to have a tooth pulled, and the oral surgeon would not perform the procedure due to the fact that my blood pressure was extremely high. That day, something either turned on or turned off in my brain. I was done. I did not want to struggle through life any longer. I did not want to just
sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else live life, participate in activities, and have fun. I wanted to be there for my kids and some day for my grandkids. I wanted to help my daughters, one day, chose their wedding gowns. So, that day in November, I decided that I had to lose weight and get healthy for my family, my friends, my patients, and most importantly, for me.

I believe that most everyone knows how to eat healthy, but we just have a difficult time saying “no” to the sugary or salty treats, creamy sauces and fried, high fat foods that taste so good. I took my knowledge of correct eating habits and started a diet. I began to read packages. I discovered that 52 crackers was not considered a serving; it was only 12 crackers! I discovered that what the experts all say is true. If you eat less sugar, you will crave less sugar. If you wait for 20 to 30 minutes after you eat, you will feel full and won’t have the perceived need to eat more. If you eat smaller meals and don’t skip meals, you will boost your metabolism so you will burn more calories. I ate fewer chips and candy, more vegetables and fruits, less meat, more fish and beans, less white potatoes, rice and bread and more sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain bread. I ate less high fat foods and more low fat, or no fat foods. My kids sometimes complain that there is nothing to eat anymore, but are also beginning to become more aware of the foods that they put into their mouths and how to eat healthier.

I also know that exercise for all my muscles, including the most important heart muscle, is very important for healthy living. I began exercising. The first night I was on the treadmill, I walked very slowly and was able to complete 15 minutes, which was about a half mile. I was absolutely wiped out; exhausted. Now, almost 2 years after beginning my odyssey, I
am walking between 6 and 8 miles (about 2 to 2 and a half hours) at least 3 times a week and am riding a stationary, recumbent bike 14 to 15 miles (about 1 to 1 and a half hours) at least 4 days per week. I used to struggle to get up out of bed or out of a chair, and now I am able to complete 500 sit-ups at a time. This is just amazingly unbelievable to me.
I have had people that I have known for years not recognize me. People that I hadn’t seen in since I began my weight loss regime have asked me, “What happened to the rest of you?” I still pass by mirrors and have to look twice at my reflection just to make sure it really is me in the mirror. I have even had some fellow employees say to my supervisor, “Come on, tell the truth, Donna had bariatric bypass surgery, didn’t she?” My supervisor always answers, “No, she lost weight just like she told you she did., through hard work, diet, and exercise”.

I still take blood pressure medication daily, but my blood pressure is no longer scary high, and my heart rate is generally 65 beats per minute. I have lost 210 pounds and weigh less than my kids have ever seen me weigh, and less than I weighed when I got married 27 years ago at the age of 24. I feel healthy and have a lot more energy than I have had in a long time. I want to assure you that if I can accomplish something like this, anyone can reach their goals through perseverance and hard work, which is the hardest thing I have ever done next to being a Mom.

“Don’t give up, don’t get discouraged, and do it for yourself.”
~Donna Webster, Lead Physical Therapist, Parkview Regional Outpatient Therapy