Latina cancer survivor lost more than 100 pounds in a bid to save her own life!

patti murillo casaIn 2008, retired NYPD officer Patti Murillo-Casa was diagnosed with stage IIB cervical cancer. For many women, this would have been a wakeup call to get healthy and start living life to the fullest. Not so for Patti. Instead, she admits she used her cancer diagnosis and recovery as an excuse to continue her lifelong habit of eating any and everything she wanted; she deserved it, she thought. "In my mind it didn't matter what I ate or how much I ate; I felt entitled since I had fought for my own life," she writes on the Huffington Post. But little did Patti know that her "reward" for surviving cancer would become the very thing that would put her life in jeopardy!

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Three years after she was diagnosed with cancer, had grown to weigh 238 pounds and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It was a whole lot for her petite 5'3 frame to handle. "I was sabotaging my already-shaky health and the second shot at life that I had been given," admits the 51-year-old Latina. It took Patti realizing that she was a breath away from having to inject insulin morning, noon, and night, like her mother had for her to realize it was finally time to make a major change.

The beginning was hard, Patti admits. Though she was able to make some changes, like counting calories and sticking to eating six small portion-controlled meals a day, she admits it took her a while to really hit her stride. "Just walking 15 minutes on the treadmill was very hard," she recalls. "I used to get out of breath, but I was consistent and progressed as time went by." Well, you know what they say: slow and steady wins the race.

It took her 14 months, but Patti lost a whopping 113 pounds! That means she's half the woman she used to be. Though she struggles from time to time, Patti says that she remains motivated; she's not giving up. "Weight loss is a difficult journey for anyone, and different for everyone. I'm still learning--it is a continuous process," she writes on her blog, Heavy Girl to Healthy Girl. But she reminds us (and herself), "There is NO end to healthy living." How very true. Healthy living isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. No one knows this better than Patti.

To date, Patti has completed thirteen 5Ks, and plans on running her first 10K soon, followed by a half marathon. That's a major feat for someone who could barely walk on a treadmill a few years ago. But that's not all. Ever the life saver, Patti has dedicated her life and career to helping others. She's now a certified spinning instructor and a licensed Zumba instructor. "I try to help as many people as I can when they ask either through my Facebook page or my blog by sharing my knowledge and experience of my journey," she writes. "I love to help and motivate people that think that they cannot obtain their goals and live a healthier lifestyle." Really, who better to share that lesson than a woman who practices what she preaches? Go get 'em, Patti!

Images via Patti Murillo-Casa/Facebook, Huffington Post

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