An encouraging transformation

Published 8:54 pm Saturday, June 27, 2015

The photos have such a distinctive before-and-after contrast that one wonders whether he is looking at the pre-production elements of a late-night television weight loss commercial.

The “after” Lisa Nowalski of 2015 is quite literally half the person of the “before” Lisa Nowalski of 2012, and she’s on a mission to share the transformation with others.

As staff writer Matthew Ward reported in Friday’s edition of the Suffolk News-Herald, Nowalski tipped the scales at 285 pounds in 2012, when something clicked on a two-mile bicycle ride to the pharmacy to pick up refills on some of the 14 different medications she needed to get through the average day.

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Upon returning home, she realized she’d done four miles on her bike without suffering a heart attack. That small victory became the foundation of a series of them that has culminated in the current Lisa Nowalski, the one who weighs just 145 pounds and has served as a Y-Change coach at both the Taylor Bend YMCA and the Suffolk Family YMCA.

The transformation has come only on the heels of a lot of hard work — Nowalski is so committed to working out that she and her husband find gyms to use while on vacation. And there have been both sacrifices and frightening moments along the way — she suffered an attack of ulcerative colitis in 2014 that might have killed her if she had not lost so much weight, for instance.

But the journey has been worth it, she says, and she’s doing everything she can to spread the word that it’s possible. Nowalski is just the kind of person to serve as a coach in the Y-Change program. With a story as inspiring as hers, just about anyone could be motivated to make the necessary changes to improve their health.