Real women don’t tell their age. Someone made a comment something like that to me the other day. I disagree. Real women are proud of their age, no matter what it is. It makes a statement to the world that they have overcome yet for another year.

Today, I turn 62 years old and that is certainly an accomplishment for this real woman.

before-after 2015

Teresa Shields Parker, 2004 at 430 pounds. Teresa in 2015, 260 pounds gone.

Death Sentence

When I was 45, a cardiac surgeon told me I wouldn’t live to see 50.  He dropped that time bomb and walked out of my hospital room. No patting of the hand. No. “There-there now, it will be OK.” No, it was, “Just the facts, Ma’am,” and left.

His pronouncement was rude truth. I weighed 430 pounds. I had  diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and could barely walk. His was the exact swift kick in the behind I needed, though it would take me 10 more years to really understand how to get the weight off and keep it off.

After I was released from the hospital, I went on one of many diets I’d been on through the years, lost 100 pounds and kept it off for six months. This was tons better than I’d done before. I began gaining it back, although much slower this time. The surgeon’s words were still ringing in my ears.

What I Wanted

I really wanted to see my children graduate high school, college, get married, start their careers, have my grandchildren. It didn’t seem fair that their grandmothers were both gone. It would be really rude of me to eat myself to death and leave them bereft of their only matronly influence.

I knew my tendencies and I knew I was headed back up the charts if I didn’t get to the root of my issue. I’m thankful, where the surgeon couldn’t reach me completely, Dr. Jesus reached in and grabbed hold of my real heart, that seat of emotions thing that governs everything I do.

Wakeup Call

That wakeup call came when I realized I was just like an alcoholic only with sugar and gluten. I should call myself a comfort food addict.  Anything made with sugar and flour screamed, “Grandma,” and I ran to embrace it with open arms. It reminded me of her unconditional love.

Interesting that extreme love can translate into extreme weight gain. It wasn’t her fault and if she were here today, she’s be the first to tell me not to eat the things that cause such an addictive reaction.


Now that I’ve lost 260 pounds I’ve written several books about weight loss. Sweet Grace tells my journey. Sweet Change tells others’ journeys and gives my tips on how to tap into the power of change. Sweet Grace Study Guide gives practical tips to lose weight and overcome sugar addiction.

My next book, Sweet Freedom will be about overcoming barriers to weight loss. I’m really excited to finish it and can’t wait to get it into your hands. It is the further revelation of my journey, the emotional healing that is so necessary to losing weight and changing one’s life to keep it gone forever.

Who Am I?

Being able to lose an extreme amount of weight definitely redefined my identity and set me on a course that has been beyond anything I could ask, think or imagine. It’s like Paul was writing directly to me.

“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you.”1    

This year, I was alive and kicking at my daughter’s wedding. The cardiac surgeon was not a prophet after all. However, he would have been if I had not admitted my weakness and grabbed hold of God’s power to set this captive free.

I really like doing real age test these days. One site tells me my age is 58 and another 55.6. However, I’m especially fond of the crazy site that tells me I’m really 27. Hey wait, I’m younger than my son!

My Birthday Gift

Six sessions with a personal trainer is my birthday gift to myself.  I exercise in the water for an hour five to six days a week, now also with a  trainer one day a week and  then implementing her weight training two additional days a week.

It’s all designed to help me keep up with myself because God has told me I have a destiny. So do you.

“We have become God’s poetry, a recreated people who will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.” 2

Now, that will preach.

1 Ephesians 3:20 TPT

2 Ephesians 2:10 TPT