101 Pounds Lost: Healing my (broken) Heart
NAME : Amy
BEFORE WEIGHT : 372
AFTER WEIGHT : 271
POUNDS LOST : 101
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I’ve had a weight problem since before my tween years. I would say it become more noticeable when I started middle school and continued through high school. My weight completely spiraled out of control as an adult. It got even worse after I was diagnosed with my heart condition and spiraled in to a deep depression.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
I remember not being able to shop with everyone else as a kid. I remember that my dress for my high school graduation was not cute at all, barely fit, and it came from the older woman section at the store. I remember ordering my wedding dress online and just praying that it fit when it came in. Luckily as I got older, the options for plus sized women increased but I was still shopping alone. This also affected my social life as I tried to limit the places and things we did. I was afraid of sitting on someone’s patio chair for fear of breaking it or doing something active with my friends and not being able to keep up. All my friends were off running 5Ks, color runs, and mud runs and I sat at home and saw the amazing images from my couch. I wasn’t able to run and play with my nieces and nephews and lost out on some of the early years of their lives. My husband and I love to travel but we used to travel to eat and not for the adventures. I now realize how many adventures we have missed out on due to our weight.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
In September 2013, I had what I thought was a really bad chest cold and was taking some over the counter meds to combat it. One morning I got up and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. It almost felt like I was drowning, so I drove myself to the ER. I was admitted to the Caridac ICU unit immediately and was in congestive heart failure. I had a viral infection that attacked my heart and my body was not reacting well to the over the counter medications I was taking at the time. After a week stay in the ICU, I was released to recover at home with the diagnoses of Dilated Cardiomyopathy. At my two year mark of recovery, I still was not fully healed so I asked my cardiologist and primary care doctors for suggestions on how to get myself better.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
In September 2015, I started my insurance approval process for vertical sleeve gastrectomy. My insurance required 6 months of nutrition counseling and my surgeon required several tests and a psychological evaluation before surgery would be scheduled. I learned a lot during those 6 months about this process, surgery, and complete lifestyle change. On February 15, 2016, I had my VSG surgery and it has changed my life so much. It has changed the way I think and feel about food. It has changed the way I view myself and my body. It has improved the way I value my family and other relationships.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
Everyone always says that I will notice the weight loss before everyone else, and it was the total opposite for me. Everyone around me started noticing the difference after 2-3 months, and it probably took me until 5-6 months in to finally see the difference. I think when I do side by side comparison pictures that it really helps. But up until recently, those pictures were really the only way I could see a difference. I feel so much better mentally and physically right now than I have in over a decade!
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
My heart condition was my major obstacle – I was always afraid of it happening again or getting worse. It wasn’t until I realized that the exercise was actually helping my heart, and not harming it, that I really started to enjoy it. I had let myself to get a really bad state. Walking, bending, and everyday tasks were such a chore. My breathing was horrible and my husband worried so much. I would say I had to overcome me and the self sabatoge that I usually let happen a couple weeks in to a new “diet”.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
Now, I don’t want to give up because I want to see what happens when I don’t. Before, I gave up so many times that I lost count. I started and stopped so many diets and plans that no one ever believed me when I said I was going to “start again”. Those Monday starts never really happened and I never really stuck to them until now. I am finally living my life and I don’t want to go back to being the person that I was before. I want to see what this new me enjoys in life!
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I hit stalls and plateaus all the time. I’m in one right now. I just stay consistent and stay on plan and know that it will eventually start to come off again. I also take measurements every 2-3 months because that really keeps everything in perspective as well. When the scale is stalled, take your measurements because I guarantee you are still losing. It is crazy the changes that happen during this journey!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
I am a little over 9 months in to this journey and I’ve lost 101 pounds. I have 72 more pounds to lose to get to my personal goal of having a “1” in front of my weight. I haven’t seen that in a very, very long time. I don’t anticipate that the last 72 pounds will come off as easily or as fast as the first 101 pounds but I will remain on this journey for the rest of my life to stay healthy!
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
Tons! Today, I found my collarbones again! Crossing my legs has been a huge non-scale victory. Shopping in the regular sizes at the store. Tightening the strap on my watch. Needing to get my wedding ring sized. Wearing leggings. Wearing heels at work and my feet not dying at the end of the day. Running – well maybe more like jogging but I did it!
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
Now, my life doesn’t revolve around food. I mean, we used to plan trips and vacations based on where we would eat. Now I eat to fuel my body – more protein, low-moderate carbs (but good carbs from veggies, whole grains, fruit, etc), good fats, and lower sugar (natural sugars like raw honey or Stevia as a sugar substitute). Before I would consume whatever was handy and convenient. Now I preplan my meals and have them ready so there are no opportunities for slip-ups. My breakfast is usually an on-the-go protein shake. My morning snack is typically a Greek yogurt with fresh berries and/or granola. My lunch is typically a salad or meat and cheese wraps. My afternoon snack is usually veggie sticks with hummus or rice cake with almond butter. My dinner is usually a good protein with green veggies – like grilled chicken and roasted asparagus. If I get sweet craving, I will grab a couple dark chocolate covered almonds, a Yasso Greek yogurt bar, or a serving of Halo Top ice cream with fresh berries.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
Before, my daily activity was my walk in and out of work and around the property or our occasional trip to the grocery store. That’s it. Now, I try to get in some fasted cardio before work and then a walk and some yoga in the evening when I get home. I like to do at-home workouts because I don’t feel so intimated and it also helps me stay on track. I have a wide collection of workout DVDs that I try to use to keep my programs interesting and not get bored.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Please give yourself time to see the results. We did not put the weight on overnight so it is not going to disappear overnight.
- There is no magic weight loss secret. Even though I have my VSG tool, I still have to monitor my diet, workout, drink plenty of water, and stay on plan to lose weight.
- Drink lots of water! If you think you are hungry between meals, drink 1-2 glasses of water to see if that helps.
- Take lots of before, during, and after pictures. And please remember to take before, during, and after measurements. These make great photo opportunities to track your progress.
- This is not a quick fix. This will need to be a forever change to be successful.
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