A slightly larger bodied woman runs along a winding path with ups and downs

Navigating Obesity: My Journey to Myself

I was obese for most of my life. I was always the big girl, the fat friend, or the last resort girl. I was overweight even as a child despite being a fairly active child. I never seemed to eat more than the other kids and yet I was the fat one. I remember constantly being afraid that someone was talking about me being overweight and making fun of me. I don’t remember hearing too many things being said about me, but I was always so certain that someone was talking about me behind my back because of my weight.

In high school and college, I stayed steady in the 270 range. I lived my teens and early 20s very unhappy about my weight and felt trapped in the mental anguish of my personal body image. While I was grateful that I was past the fear of taunting, I still lived in fear that no one would like me because of the way I looked.

The many attempts at change

I tried every fad diet or exercise program. But I would never lose more than a few pounds and then I’d feel like a failure and give up. Eventually I decided that this was just the way I was going to be, and I allowed myself to live unhealthy for several years in college.

I remember my Saturday nights consisted of a medium pepperoni pizza with cheesy bread and a 2-liter soda for dinner - I’d eat almost the entirety of it in one sitting. My roommate and I would often eat out because cooking meant washing dishes and what food we kept at the apartment was cheap, processed easy to make stuff.

I was at my highest weight

During college I met my ex-husband. I went out with him initially because I thought, "finally someone cute seems into me" and I stayed with him despite him telling me early on that I’d be gorgeous if I just lost some weight. Even though that hurt me, I suffered through the relationship thinking no one else would want to be with the fat girl.

Despite my unhealthy way of life, I didn’t really begin to gain weight again until I became pregnant with my first child. Then I gained more when I was pregnant soon after with my second child. It was at this point that I got up to 300 pounds and I just could never get back below that number. Between postpartum depression, divorce, and single parenthood I just continued to be unhealthy. At my highest weight I was 320 pounds.

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Making the better choices

Finally, I realized that I needed to do better to keep up with my small children and stay alive long enough to see them grown. I had not yet developed the health troubles that come with obesity but when pre-diabetes was mentioned during one health visit, I realized that other health issues were not far behind.

Because of my size I already had physical limitations. My knees hurt, I had back problems, and I would run out of steam quickly. Imagine chasing after 2 very young kids on your own with these problems. It was a challenge and I got tired of it.

Working with my doctor, we began to try and get some weight off me. I worked on what I put into my body and made diet changes. I also started on some weight loss medication prescribed by my physician. I managed to drop about 30 pounds but was never able to drop more than that despite adding in exercise and thyroid medications. I kept yo-yoing with my weight despite all the changes made.

Gastric surgery is a go!

At this time in my life, I had a full-time job that had excellent insurance, so I began to ask questions about potential weight loss surgeries and see what options I have available to me. Several of my colleagues had different procedures and had wonderful results - they were very happy with the decisions they had made. So, I discussed this with my primary care physician. They agreed with me that it would likely be the best option for me to reach the goals I had.

I found a surgeon that I liked nearby and began the process to have the gastric sleeve done. It took several months to go through the process as they wanted to ensure that I was not only physically ready for the change but that I was mentally as well. Once it was all said and done, we had a date for surgery scheduled. I waited until after the holidays and had my surgery on December 29th, 2014.

You are not alone

Having the gastric sleeve was the best decision I ever made. I might not have reached the goal weight that my surgeon had for me, but I still managed to lose 120 pounds and I’ve kept off 100 pounds now for almost 10 years. I’ve since had 3 more children and I couldn’t imagine being able to keep up with any of my kids (teens and toddlers) if I hadn’t made that choice 10 years ago.

My weight journey has been a roller coaster, and while I’m content with where I am these days I know that I could be making better decisions again. Weight can and will always fluctuate. I hope my experiences can help guide you to find your happy place with weight. Whether that is you becoming happy with where you are at, finding potential solutions, or helping get you over a hurdle that you might be facing about your weight.

I’m hoping that you, dear reader, will join me to walk this path together. You are not alone. You have me. I will be your cheerleader for whatever goals you have in mind.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Obesity.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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