Name: Hattie Montgomery
Before Weight: 500+ pounds
How I Gained It: I came out a big baby. From day one, “plump” and “chubby” were common names for me. I was an active child, running and playing with my friends, and I thought that I ate the same as my family. Looking back, I now see that wasn’t the case; I ate the same foods, just a lot more. By elementary school, I was already developing. The bullying started then and didn’t stop. As the pain grew heavier, food became more comforting.
There were times during high school that I would try to lose weight, but it always came back. By the end of high school, I was already over 300 pounds. I excelled in school and loved singing. These activities were my way of escaping, the times where the pain was gone, and I could just be happy.
I carried on this way into my early 20s. At 24, I was sexually assaulted by a friend’s friend. The little bit of spirit and fight that was in me suddenly was nowhere to be found. I turned to my best friend — food — for comfort. When I was sad, I ate. When I was afraid or angry, I ate. I eventually could no longer deal with the pain and started eating to die. I was begging to be taken. I didn’t understand how my life had any purpose if all I was to people was a punching bag.
Breaking Point: I will never forget the day when I cut my leg and, instead of blood, clear liquid came out. I had such severe edema, apnea and high blood pressure that I knew my time was short. Then a few simple words changed everything. Simple kindness reminded me that I was loved and important. It suddenly made me see that giving up was not an option. I knew that it was an uphill battle because at this point I was 31 and weighed over 500 pounds, but I was ready to do whatever it took to survive. I decided I was going to save my life.
How I Lost It: A big turning point for me was letting go of the past. I had to forgive the people who hurt me, let go of the pain and sadness I felt and make my life priority number one. I started a diet program which consisted of eating 750 calories a day of specific fruits, vegetables and proteins. I was monitored closely by my doctor to make sure I was okay.
I became very dedicated to journaling my food intake and really paid attention to the quality of the food I was eating. I gave up soda, fried foods, ice cream, chips — all those wonderful foods that we think make us feel so good. It was so hard. I often found myself crying, almost mourning the loss of my old friend.
Eventually I started adding exercise into my routine. When I first started, I could walk maybe 10 minutes a day. As I continued to push harder, that increased more and more. I took up tennis, started yoga and eventually tried jogging. Today I work out with a personal trainer who has been an amazing supporter and wonderful friend. He and I have been working together for over a year now, and he has forever changed my life. I resistance train three days a week and have such amazing balance and strength. I am also training to participate in my gym’s indoor triathlon this month.
I still have more to my journey and also have some excess skin from the weight loss to deal with, but I can’t express how lucky I feel to wake up each day and know that I am alive! Three years ago I was thinking about how my family would no longer be burdened by me once I died, and now I’m going to do an indoor triathlon in less than a month! I have an amazing support system of friends and family who have made my success possible, cheering me on every step of the way.
I don’t know many people who get a second chance, and it is my wish to be able to take this wonderful opportunity to reach out and help people realize that it’s never too late to make a change. Yes, it’s hard. This will be a life-long journey for me, but I gave up all those foods I loved for all those years so that I could finally live.