Ruthie Forgey: Fit, fabulous and 50
by WILLIAM WRIGHT Lifestyles Editor
Jan 26, 2014 | 2046 views | 0 0 comments | 88 88 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ruthie Forgey
LOSING 175 POUNDS in 24 months was not easy, according to Ruthie Forgey, who weighed 386 pounds before she decided to get fit and fabulous by age 50.
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Two years ago Ruthie Forgey decided she wanted to look fit and fabulous by 50. That meant carrying 386 pounds on her 6-foot frame was no longer an option for the single mom and corps administrator for the Salvation Army of Cleveland.

Forgey said she was ready to make a real lifestyle change and was determined to utilize every resource within her power to put together a fitness routine that truly works.

During the next 24 months she lost an amazing 175 pounds and became an inspiration for women who have followed her example. In fact, Women’s Day magazine has reached out to Forgey for an interview once she reaches her goal of losing a total of 200 pounds, which she plans to reach this year. Forgey shared how she lost weight, is keeping it off and how anyone can do the same without overspending or dieting.

She said, “Going into the New Year of 2012, I realized I was about to turn 48 and I was on three different blood pressure medications and a stomach medicine. But somehow I had dodged the bullet for diabetes. My mom was diabetic. I knew I was slowly killing myself. I mean, just getting up out of a chair was hard! To do the things I needed to do here (at the Salvation Army) and to live a life of quality, I knew I needed to lose weight.”

That was not to say that Forgey had not lost weight in the past. She had. Having lost 80 pounds after her son was born 18 years ago, having walked 400 miles in three months when her son was 5 years old, thereby losing 60 pounds, and having lost another 80 pounds seven years ago on another diet, Forgey had joined a large community of dieters who had lost weight but just could not keep it off.

“The weight-loss industry is a $98 billion dollar industry with a 97 percent fail rate.” she said. “That’s each year. I would lose, then I would gain it all back. Diets won’t work, not long term. You can’t go on a diet. You really have to change your lifestyle.”

Having come to that realization, Forgey said she began to pray about the matter as she was approaching 2012.

“I told the Lord, ‘I need your help in this,’” she said. “I need a change of lifestyle. I don’t need a diet. I had worked with a nutritionist years ago and learned a glycemic index eating plan, which is low [in carbohydrates] and higher in protein. Basically, it’s this: If it’s white, don’t bite. Corn is white on the inside, so don’t bite it. Peas are white, so don’t bite them. I stopped using sugar and stayed focused on whole wheat and low carbs.”

By June 2012, she had lost 50 pounds, but Forgey knew this was just the beginning. She said she decided to try burning calories by getting into the water at the YMCA and doing water aerobics.

“I did that for four to six weeks. Then I got on the treadmill and I started walking the Greenway around town,” she said. “By December 2012, I had lost 100 pounds”

As she approached 2013, Forgey was told about The Cleveland Family YMCA’s New Year, New You competition, to which she submitted a 250-word essay explaining why she wanted to lose weight and improve her physical condition. She was delighted to learn she was selected as one of eight winners to receive an eight-week YMCA membership that included a personal trainer for one hour a week. It was announced that the male and female contestants who lost the highest percentage of body weight over the eight-week event would win a six-month YMCA membership.

“Meredith Casteel is an excellent trainer there,” Forgey said. “I ended up winning the contest! For those eight weeks I lost 26 pounds I continued to go to the YMCA, doing high-interval fitness training — things I never thought I could do! This year I lost 75 pounds and I have 25 pounds to go.”

According to Forgey, “a lot of prayer and a daily surrender” was her secret to success, giving her constant motivation. Thinking back to when she started this journey, Forgey said, “I resolved on Jan. 1, 2012, not to make a resolution, but to make daily resolutions. It was a daily resolution to be the best I can be emotionally, physically and spiritually. Every day I would get up and ask myself, what can I do today to be the best I can be emotionally, physically and spiritually. And I would do just those things for that day, because we can do anything for 24 hours. If someone says, ‘I want you to get up and go to the gym every day for the rest of your life at 5 a.m.,’ I would say, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ But I can do that today. You can do anything for 24 hours.”

Another instrument Forgey said she used was myfitnesspal.com., a free website that has helped millions lose weight by keeping track of the foods they eat. It also has mobile apps that make calorie counting and food tracking easy.

When asked how she is keeping the pounds off, Forgey said having a “free day” or “free meal” once a week, where she could eat whatever she wanted, has helped her tremendously.

“I did that and maintained my weight the whole time,” she said. “I called it Free Friday. Everyone at work knew about Free Friday. If they were going to have a party or have a celebration, we moved it to Friday — just because they love me and support me. I have a great support group and a great group of friends who support me.”

Forgey admits she “fluctuated about 12 pounds” during the holidays, but shared another secret. She said she monitors her weight only once a week.

“If you weigh every day you’re going to mess up, because the scales can fluctuate 3 pounds on any given day. I monitor my weight once a week on the scale. Now my quality of life has changed. I feel so good! ”

All of the things most people take for granted — riding a roller coaster, choosing to sit at a booth instead of a table at a restaurant, where to shop for clothes, even being able to take a bath as opposed to always having to take a shower — Forgey says her weight loss and new look have changed her life for the better.

The best thing about losing weight is the quality of life,” Forgey confessed. “There are things I plan and want to do that I couldn’t do at 386 pounds. Just to know that — short of an illness or accident — I have increased the longevity of my life, to be able to fulfill the purpose God has given me with excellence, is a wonderful blessing. I can do anything now!”

Forgey, who has been with the Salvation Army since 2008, said, “If I can lose 175 pounds, anyone can. In the last two years it only cost me a gym membership at the YMCA. I only have 25 pounds to reach my goal and I’m 50 for the entire year, so — fit, fabulous and 50! If I can do it, anyone can.”