She opened up the bottle and dumped it down the drain. Then she did the same with the rest of her stash.
At that moment, Borawski gave up sugar cold turkey.
Ten days later, she went to the doctor and had lost 7 pounds. She bought a calorie-counting book on the way home and started reading food labels. Soon after, she restricted her calorie intake to 1,000 calories a day (experts warn against eating less than 1,200 calories a day because it sends your body into starvation mode). She says she wasn't hungry at that limit because of her lack of mobility.
"Because I was so heavy, I had a lot of success really quickly. I lost 45 pounds between March and Memorial Day."
In October 2011, Borawski walked to her mailbox without a cane for the first time. Her next trip was to the neighbor's mailbox. The first time she walked down the steps at work, her student assistant cheered.
Almost a year later, she showed up in Bowden's office doorway. He never heard her coming.
"There's a chance we may have done a little dance in the hall," he says with a laugh. "To see somebody walk again? I considered that miraculous."
Every time she lost 20 pounds, Borawski went to the store and bought a pair of pants in the next size smaller. They sat in the corner of her room until she could pull them on. They were her motivation when she was tempted to cheat.
To celebrate losing 200 pounds, she bought a black and white diamond ring. She wears it every day as a reminder never to go back.
"The first row of black diamonds is the first 100 pounds, the second row is the second 100 pounds," she says. "The white diamonds in between are the new life I've found."
Last month, Borawski walked three miles for the first time. She does 200 to 300 squats a day to strengthen her legs after years of immobility. She eats around 1,400 calories to maintain her weight at a healthy 150 pounds. Her rheumatoid arthritis has improved significantly, and her doctors are "amazed and impressed" at her overall health.
Borawski's goals now are simple: to walk a 5K in September and to inspire others.
She keeps her electric wheelchair in her office with a sign: "Theresa doesn't live here anymore."
"The key for me was finding a plan that I could live with for the rest of my life," she wrote on iReport. "I am a brand new person, have so much energy and am now a participant in life, rather than just watching it pass me by. I am blessed beyond measure and can't wait to see what the future holds for me!"
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