I began developing a weight problem at the age of 8 after a traumatic event. I started eating breakfast at home and at school, I would also hide my snack wrappers under the sofa because I was so ashamed about how much I was eating and how I couldn’t stop. I ended up gaining rapidly and was considered overweight by 4th grade.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? My weight affected my ability to be social, have friends, play sports, date and do pretty much everything. It also caused me a lot of mental anguish and made my PTSD, depression and anxiety worse than it was before.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? My turning point was when I moved to Nebraska at the age of 18 after leaving the mental health hospital for the 5th time since 2011. My doctor told me I had type 2 diabetes, anemia and acid reflux. He also told me that if I don’t lose weight, I am going to die an early death or will have much more complications later on in life.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I got started by speaking to a bariatric surgeon about weight loss surgery. I went to Methodist Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska and I signed up for it. I was told that it had to be approved by my insurance so, for the time being, I was told to walk everyday for a year or until I hear back from the surgery office.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I started seeing results the second day after my weight loss surgery. I got down to 311 in that year of walking but I still felt and looked very overweight. I had surgery on September 2nd, 2015 and on the side day I was 309. I started seeing major results within the first two months after my surgery.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I had to overcome binge eating disorder and learning that food is not the key to happiness. I also had to overcome depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and PTSD.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I wanted to give up the second I realized that I couldn’t use food as a coping skill and I really didn’t know what to do or how to cope. I eventually decided that I wanted to live a long and healthy life and that food would still be in my life but just not as much and not as a coping skill and I kept going.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I hit several weight plateaus and it was the most annoying thing I ever experienced. I overcame them by working out more than usual, drinking more water and going for hour long walks.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? It took me at least 11 months to lose most of the weight.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? My non-scale victories were:
being able to walk longer distances without having to stop to sit down
being able to see my toes without bending over
watching and noticing how my clothes were looser and falling off
feeling beautiful and confident
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? My daily diet consist of six small meals a day, lots of water and protein shakes. Before, it consisted of junk food, fried foods, ice cream, chips and fast foods.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I am 50% more active than I was when I was heavier. I walk now, I go to the gym, I run and I lift weights. Before I would just walk and then do nothing all day.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Start by taking it slow and going for 15 minutes walks everyday or every other day. This helps your body get used to exercise and then you can move up to the gym or other in door exercises or even running.
- Use apps to track your food, fitness and water levels! It really helps if you use such apps as MyFitnessPal, Lose It, MapMyFitness and FitSlip.
- Water is your best friend! Stay hydrated and keep a water bottle with you and take small sips during the day!
- Do meal prep! It’s very helpful in ways in which you can plan out what you’re going to eat for the night and how much of it.
- Believe in yourself! I know that’s cliche but believing in yourself is the greatest thing you can do for yourself. It only takes one person to change yourself and that one person is you.