As she struggled with mental health issues during her teenage years, Grace Lindman found herself battling another problem — drastic weight gain.
"The medications I was on not only messed with my brain chemistry but also made me gain 150 pounds," Lindman said recently. "Food was not only my friend, it was my comfort. I had a lack of control with some of the side-effects of my medication."
Lindman grew up in the Chicago area before moving to Kansas with her parents. She said coming to small-town Kansas was a bit of a "culture shock," and that she was in public schools until her freshman year of high school.
Seeking a better fit, she enrolled in an online virtual high school through the Basehor-Linwood school district, working at her own pace and graduating a year and a half ahead of schedule. Then she was out on her own for about a year.
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In 2016, Lindman decided it was time to find some additional support. She turned to her grandfather and grandmother, Richard and Rita Carter, of Topeka. The Carters are the parents of Lindman’s mother, Jill Stewart.
"They are wonderful people," said Lindman, a 21-year-old Washburn University student. "They gave me a really nice foundation to kind of start over."
Not long after she moved in with her grandparents, Lindman said, she began to take stock of her life. It was then that she started to address her weight, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
She credits her grandmother with gently confronting her about her weight, which Lindman said helped her jump-start her drive to shed the extra pounds.
"She was definitely my support," Lindman said. "She encouraged me, and I think she was kind of the one that brought the issue to the surface.
"I knew I was overweight," she said, "and I knew I was unhealthy, but I didn’t acknowledge it. One day, she told me she was concerned about my weight, and at that time I was at my highest, which was 287."
Lindman said she "did some research on exercising and what I could make to eat at home. After about a month of that, I said, ‘All right, I’m doing it.’"
Lindman said she started slow.
"It took me several months to make the decision to go through with it, or to lose weight," she said. "I started out by cutting out fast food and kind of snacky food, and I made a rule that I could only eat at home."
About the same time, Lindman said, her father, Jerry Lindman, started on a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
"This was before a lot of people heard about it," Lindman said. "He lost about 65 pounds and was feeling awesome. After I lost about 25 pounds, I started the keto diet, and it absolutely changed my life."
Not only did she feel better mentally, Lindman said, she also had more physical energy and felt more confident.
After a year and year and a half, Lindman said, she had lost 150 pounds. She said it was "crazy" when she would weigh in each week and see she had dropped one or two pounds. She has kept the pounds off and today is around 135 pounds, the same weight she was at in middle school.
Lindman said she didn’t start exercising until a little over a year into her dieting.
As Lindman started seeing results from her change in diet, she lost one of her biggest supporters when her grandmother — whom she called Mimi — died this past April at the age of 76.
"It actually did take a toll on me," Lindman said. "I didn’t necessarily gain weight, but I stopped going to the gym and I stopped keto, because meal prep is really important, and for some reason I couldn’t do it.
"But about the beginning of the fall semester, I told myself I had to keep doing it, I had to get back on a program — that I wasn’t done, and Mimi knew I wasn’t done before she passed. I can’t say I did it for her, but I know she’d be very happy."
Today, Lindman is working part time in the graphics technology department at Washburn University Institute of Technology. She also is a junior at Washburn University, where she is studying sculpture and ceramics.
During sporting events, Lindman performs with the Washburn University color guard, something she did in middle school and decided to take up again.
Lindman’s mother said she admired her daughter for the determination and perseverance she has shown, but more importantly, for the character she has demonstrated and for her compassion for others.
"My daughter is fiercely determined once she sets her mind to something," Stewart said. "She has survived many challenges and disappointments in her life.
"Through these events, she has emerged as a strong, beautiful and loving human being. She fights for the underdog. She celebrates the successes of those around her. I’m so proud of her and beyond blessed to be her mother."
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com
An AP Member Exchange shared by the Topeka Capital-Journal.
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