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Back to bathing suits!

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

Back to bathing suits!

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LIAN SCANTLEBURY looks and feels like a new woman. That isn’t due to a new attitude, a new hair-do, although the “attitude” did have a bit to do with it.
For Lian, this transformation came as a result of a health scare earlier this year that literally forced her to change her life.
“I was at work one day standing up by manager’s counter and my head just started to spin. It happened more than once and then my doctor told me that I was too young to take high blood pressure pills because I am only 30,” Lian said.  “He didn’t want to put me on because once you start it, it’s a lifetime thing.
At that point, Lian was tipping the scales at close to 200 pounds. Trekking up the stairs left her winded but it didn’t deter her from being attracted to snack boxes and other unhealthy foods. While she does have a family history of hypertension (mother, sister and father), she didn’t think that her dizziness were symptoms of it or that she was close to becoming another family statistic.
Perhaps it was the seriousness of her diagnosis, but Lian immediately went to Selman to see if she could find a remedy for her health that didn’t include a lifetime of pills.
“When I went to her she asked me what I ate, and I told her salted nuts. She told me to eat baked or roasted nuts,” said Lian. “All the luncheon meat and canned stuff I used to eat I’ve stopped. Most of food now is boiled. Even my ketchup has no salt in it. She has taught me how to how to go into the supermarket and read labels.”
That first meeting in February with Selman also caused Lian to purge her house of the corn curls, ice cream and other salted treats that she kept strategically hidden to snack on.
“At first it was really hard for me because food, you know, is comfort, but I was determined to be honest and do the work,” she said.
It seemed initially that Lian was going through major food upheaval. Not only was she doing away with salty foods, but her changes stretched to other food groups, including dairy as well.
“I stopped using evaporated milk and now I’m using almond milk, along with raisin bran and foods that are high in fibre,” she said. “I use a lot of fruit and I haven’t tasted a carbonated drink in a little while. My diet changed, my eating habits, my intake of food. Before I could eat the biggest snack box myself; now I can’t get three quarters of that eaten. I haven’t tasted fried food in months.”
Initially depriving herself of foods that she had grown accustomed to and loved was difficult, especially when she had to adjust her taste buds to the lighter foods. But Lian admits that her body has gotten used to her new diet.
But for Lian her biggest change is in her body.
“I am 170 pounds now and I’m losing everything naturally,” she says beaming. “I’m the smallest person in the aerobics class now. I used to wear a size 14 and now I’m wearing a size 10.  So I had to get a whole new wardrobe.
“When I went back to the doctor twice, my blood pressure was down as well.”
What Lian has done is that she incorporates more vegetables and salads into her diet as well, along with cutting down on her portions. Her resolve has also been strengthened, because even when she’s around family or friends eating fried foods or things she no longer eats, the desire to partake just isn’t there.
But it’s the change in her body and appearance that has really boosted her self-esteem.
“I was getting sick all last year and I couldn’t understand why. Now I’ve felt better that I have in a long time. I don’t feel tired and restless and lazy. Now I can move with ease,” she said. “I go to the beach and I can wear my bathing suits. I feel so wonderful.”