Exercise-Yuck, No Thanks

November 6, 2023

Exercise-Yuck, No Thanks: Ever since I was little, I’ve been overweight. I just never knew it until I went to elementary school. At home, Mom & Dad were what they laughingly called, “larger than life”. My older sister was the same. By the time she was 14, I started seeing her not eat the mounds of high-calorie food that were put in front of her at mealtime. Mom wouldn’t hear of it and made sure she, and all of us, finished our plates. After all, she was a good cook! My sister moved out at the age of 16.

 I really never thought anything was “wrong” with me until one day on the school playground in 5th grade, some boys were huddled together, laughing & pointing in my direction chanting “fatty, fatty 2x4, can’t get through the schoolhouse door!” When I told my mom, she kind of ignored it and we sat down to a spaghetti dinner with extra cheese. I can’t ever remember us taking a walk or doing anything physical but eating and watching TV.

I Didn't Feel Beautiful

When I went into high school, I was 90 lbs. overweight, had high blood pressure, and diagnosed prediabetic. Everyone said I had a pretty face, but when I looked in the mirror all I thought was “fatty, fatty 2x4…”. I could never, no matter what drastic diet, lose the weight, and as for exercise, NO THANKS! With each failed diet, I got more and more frustrated, which just caused me to find comfort in food. I tried diet pills but got sick as a dog and developed heartbeat irregularity. My Dad was furious that I had done something so dangerous and continued to tell me I was beautiful just as I was. I didn’t feel beautiful.

By the time college came, I was 130 lbs., overweight and officially obese. I could barely walk from my dorm room to class. I started skipping class to do marching in my dorm room to burn calories, but quickly would get a headache & chest pain after five minutes so I’d lay down for the rest of the day. My grades were lousy, my concentration rotten (I had been a straight-A student in high school). I didn’t want to see anyone or do anything and soon fell into a full-blown depression, barely leaving my dorm room except for class and not even all of those. My roommate told our dorm RA that she was worried about me. The RA took me to our school counselor, who got me started with a dietician and into an exercise program – both of which I hated. I dropped out of school.


My parents were livid. To them I looked fine, was smart and normal. YEAH, RIGHT! I finally called my sister, who had undergone gastric bypass surgery. She wasn’t skinny, but she looked great and seemed HAPPY. I told her how miserable I was and that I felt like my life was worthless. She immediately got me an appointment with her doctor for gastric bypass, but he would not approve me for surgery until I lost 50 lbs. (50 LBS.– YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! I CAN’T EVEN LOSE 5 LBS.) My sister helped me choose what foods to cut down on (mostly sweets and bread, which I loved) and she introduced me to a lady who had a special exercise class for the obese. I thought exercise-yuck! I went anyway and was shocked to find other people there that looked just like me. We’d all laugh and have fun together because it was so easy just moving around to music. Nobody cared how we looked or if we were skinny & cute. When Summer came, we got in a local pool with the Trainer, walked and kind of wiggled around. It was so easy! We all wore t-shirts over our swimsuits or just shirts & shorts in the pool. Soon I actually started looking forward to those classes. Before I knew it, I had lost 54 lbs. Wow!

I had the gastric bypass and tried to have smaller portions of healthy food, more often, but within a year, I started gaining weight again and slipping into old patterns. I immediately called a trainer who specializes in obesity fitness and resumed exercising (and having fun at it – can’t believe I’m saying that). From then on I’ve been able to lower my blood pressure, am no longer prediabetic, and am maintaining a healthy weight. Finally, I actually feel good about me!  - Susan G., Fullerton, CA

Exercise Program For The Obese

Friends, this is the story of one of the fabulous women I’ve had the pleasure of working with in an exercise program specifically geared for the obese. I became connected to ObesityHelp many years ago as a specialty Exercise Therapist for the obese, and our association has been a highpoint of my life. 

I hope this story will encourage you to try some simple & medically safe exercise with a Professional Trainer specialized in obesity fitness. Just moving around a few days a week in a medically supervised class, or privately, with a certified specialized trainer, will help jumpstart your wellness, lower blood pressure, boost your attitude, and even make you smile again!

Give it a try whether you want to lose 50 lbs. or 150 lbs. before or after Gastric Bypass Surgery, or simply to take control of your life, your health and how you feel about you. There’s joy to be had in living - YOU DESERVE IT!

Resa Hempfling is a former Olympic competitor & Obesity Specialized Trainer.

Resa Hempfling


Resa Hempfling is a former Olympic competitor & Obesity specialized Trainer in Laguna Niguel, California. She is also an Aqua exercise therapist and is Arthritis Foundation certified.