Everything's Coming Up Rosey

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December 13, 2018 By: Tina Mortimer

Three years ago, Rosey stepped off a bus at Union Depot in Saint Paul, Minn., with little more than the clothes on her back and a small amount of money in her pocket. She didn’t know where she was going. She had no friends or family in Minnesota. She had no car. She had no plan. What she did have was hope—for a better life, a better future, a better Rosey. And for that she was glad.

 “I didn’t know where I was going to,” she admits. “I had never been in a shelter before. I just knew that I was ready to start a new life.”

Rosey, 52, came to Minnesota because she’d suffered a knee injury and needed to get out of a relationship. She was also severely depressed. But ask Rosey today and she’ll tell you she didn’t get on that bus because she was running away from something in her hometown of St. Louis. She just wanted a fresh start. After working for 32 years taking care of other people as a personal care assistant, Rosey knew it was time to take care of herself.

“I woke up one morning and it just hit me,” she said. “I was a 467-pound woman. I knew I had to make big changes, or I was going to die.”

Today, Rosey lives on the fourth floor of Catholic Charities’ Higher Ground Saint Paul, though she can most often be found outside or at the YMCA, if the arthritis in her knees isn’t bothering her. Through healthy eating and exercise, Rosey has lost 242 pounds and 198 inches. And while her metamorphosis began long before she fled St. Louis, with the help of Catholic Charities she is working her way back to health and independence.

“To me, food was a drug,” she said. “I was addicted. Now, I feel free.”  

Rosey’s weight loss journey began with one simple challenge to herself: cutting meat out of her diet for thirty days. When she succeeded in doing that, she gave herself another challenge and then another. Some of her challenges have included eliminating dairy from her diet, teaching herself how to cook healthy meals and learning how to swim. Slowly, the weight began to come off. 

“I want to live, and I love a challenge, so I just keep challenging myself,” she said.

Rosey has made major changes since she moved to Minnesota, beginning with her daily routine.

“I’m usually up at 5:30 a.m.,” she said. “I eat three healthy meals and three snacks every day. I don’t drink soda. I don’t eat meat. I’m at the gym five to seven days a week. I even went to the gym on Thanksgiving.”

While the arthritis in her knees prevents Rosey from standing for too long, she swims almost every day. To keep herself motivated, she has a photograph of her former self pinned to her backpack.

“I’m active, but sooner or later the doctor says I’m going to need knee surgery,” she said. “I just try to be positive. I couldn’t cross my legs a few years ago. Now I can cross my legs. I couldn’t wear a seatbelt. Now I just pull that strap over, baby.”

In between cooking healthy meals and going to the gym, Rosey keeps busy by volunteering at the Salvation Army and updating her Facebook page, a page she created solely to promote her healthy lifestyle.

“I post photos of myself at the gym,” she said. “I post photos of the meals I make. I even posted a photo of the inside of my refrigerator. My favorite is when people say they don’t eat fruits or vegetables. Then I cook for them. Half the time they don’t even know what they’re eating, but they love it.”

Rosey fills her refrigerator with nutritious food she gets at the nearby Keystone Food Shelf and Catholic Charities’ weekly food distribution.

“I appreciate the food so much,” she said. “It’s all good food. I love it.”

Rosey still gets back to St. Louis when she’s able, to visit her son. She’d like to ride in a hot air balloon someday and take a trip to Africa. She may even take Catholic Charities’ culinary skills class, a 12-week course that ends with an internship at a Twin Cities restaurant. For now, Rosey said she’s content cooking healthy meals for herself and her neighbors.

“I don’t know what’s next, but I know God will take care of me. My biggest goal right now is to live life to the fullest.”


Resources like meal programs and produce distributions provide nutritious food and make an important difference in the lives of so many people like Rosey.

Second Harvest Heartland provides, on average, 80 percent of all food distributed by its agency partners. Your donation this holiday season will make sure our agency partners’ shelves are stocked with healthy, fresh foods. Remember your neighbors like Rosey this holiday season and make a gift today.


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