Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

300 Pounds Knocked, and She Slammed the Door in Its Face

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

300 Pounds Knocked, and She Slammed the Door in Its Face

Article excerpt

The scale stared public relations executive Iris Salsman in the face and said 264 pounds. That meant that knock on the door was 300 pounds beckoning with bags of fast food and soft drinks promising stress relief.

But, "There was no way I was going to be 300 pounds," Salsman, 68, said. "But if I'd have kept going ..." She was 5 feet, 5 inches, so her weight looked like more.

Today, she's 125 pounds, plus or minus a couple of pounds now and then. "I lost more than what I weigh now," she said. She did it without trying to lose weight, she said, with changes, instead, to fix her life. The weight loss was a byproduct.


She worked on a hard and fast rule she vowed to use forever: "I won't be in any situation that allows people to make me feel bad about myself," she said. That included weight-loss programs, trainers, even clients and business associates. She even left an old business and started a new one.

She stopped weighing herself more than once every three months. "I waited for my doctor visits," she said. "Weighing always shows a (fluctuation) and seeing that can be discouraging. After three months, you have to lose weight."

About five or so years ago, she was the managing partner in a public relations firm and was still struggling with the train wreck of a business climate during the Great Recession. She also had aches and pains from joint problems. So she had hip, knee and shoulder replacement surgeries.

"I was stressed, fatigued and in pain," she said.

The weight had taken its toll, physically and emotionally. The partners liquidated the business and took clients with them for their preferred representation.

She had developed type 2 diabetes, had high blood pressure; she visited an emergency room three times with what she thought was a heart attack but turned out to be exhaustion.

That had to change. In April 2012, she started her self-designed program aimed primarily at feeling better. "I changed my lifestyle," she said. "I wasn't trying to lose weight," although she figured that would be a byproduct.

She also decided she wouldn't do anything she didn't want to do. She loved to eat and cook. She didn't exercise much because she didn't like to sweat or be out of breath.

So she stopped regular visits to fast-food restaurants, even some with pretty good menus. She began shopping at grocery stores where she bought mainly organic products, even those in packages. She eliminated sodas and bought sparkling water and a flavoring that made them taste like flavored, carbonated drinks, but with no calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners.

She changed doctors. She selected an endocrinologist who sent her to a dietitian who specialized in diabetes therapy. Salsman also hired a personal trainer, but mainly for advice on how to exercise.

She purchased a copy of "Calorie King," a book that has the calorie count on nearly every food, fresh or restaurant. …

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