I have been thinking about writing this post for quite sometime about my weight and my weight-loss. My weight has always been a struggle since high school, spring of my Sophomore year to be exact, I was diagnosed with thyroid condition – I was put on medicine and gained 60 plus pounds in 3 months (literally jumping from a size 12-14 to a size 18-20). I extremely active and nothing I did made me lose the weight so I did what any teenager would do I refused to take the medicine. Granted looking back the amount of Diet Soda and crap I consumed probably wasn’t the best for me, when I was in high school I either had a Diet Kiwi Strawberry Snapple or a Diet Coke in hand – I don’t even think I knew what water was.
I went through the rest of my high school years pretty much trying every awful diet imaginable with my mom: the Jell-O Diet, Weight Watchers, Richard Simmons Diet (it had the meal cards), Slim Fast (oh I lived on Slim Fast for a while especially in college) you name it I tried it. I would get so frustrated because I would lose 10 pounds and a month later I would gain back 15 or 20. I then had my tonsils out and I considered that to be extreme dieting – I lost 40 pounds in a month because I could barely hold down water. It was an awful way to lose weight but I was glad because I lost 40 pounds and was headed to college 40 pounds lighter. It of course didn’t last, I gained the freshman 15 and my weight slowly started to climb.
I went to the local Planned Parenthood Office for my “annual” visit and they notice my thyroid was really large, so they took some blood to check everything. Around this time in my life I had started a new job with Health Care with the help of Planned Parenthood I got into see one of the top Endocrinologist in the country.
My first meeting with him went like this: Dr: you have a goiter we are going to try to shrink it with medicine. Me: Will I gain weight? Dr: I suggest when you get home throw your scale in the trash can. Me: Really?! Well what would have if I refused this treatment. Dr: You will probably get really sick because of the abnormal cell growth and the risk the of cancer is significantly higher. I agreed to the medicine but I also released more weight would come fast and furious. It did I went from a size 16/18 to a size 20/22 I was horrified but I always blamed it on my thyroid I did not change my eating habits at all – I would have “diet” things thinking I was eating healthy, I mean it was only 100 calories of Oreos or “light” ice cream. I bought some vegetables and fruit but I thought that it was too expensive and I didn’t want them to go bad before I could eat them. In 2001 my thyroid was completely removed it took them almost four years to regulate my medicine. My heaviest before I was pregnant with my first child was 272. When I reached 272 pounds I started the South Beach Diet which wasn’t horrible, I drank my soda with Splenda and I actually lost weight, felt pretty good I also had horrible migraines and was put on migraine medicine (I was also averaging 2-3 Diet Cokes a day).
When I was pregnant with my daughter I topped out at 320 pounds (I quickly lost that weight within the week I was back to 272). This is not something I am proud of actually I am quite ashamed of this fact and until a couple weeks ago my family never knew how much I really weighed. When I was at my heaviest I didn’t look like I weighed almost 300 pounds I carried my weigh well. Very few photos exist of me during that time period because I hated having my photos taken and I had a new baby so everything was of her. One of the problems I had when I was pregnant was gall stones, I was in horrible pain anytime I ate anything. I was also pregnant so they would not preform the surgery until after I gave birth. In December 2005 I had my gall bladder removed things started out fine I was able to eat meat with little or no pain, fried chicken, every thing I normally ate. I continued like this until I stopped breastfeeding my daughter. The first meal I had after officially stopping breastfeeding was a plate of Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, green beans with a piece of cheese cake. Within 40 min of eating I was violently ill, the first day in my whole life I went home sick – I thought at first maybe I was pregnant (took a test nothing), then I thought it was food poisoning (but no one else who ate exactly what I had was sick.) After 3 days of feeling like crap I went back to work, it did not dawn on me until about two weeks later when I ate the fried chicken again and got violently ill again that it was the fried chicken. I started doing research on side effects from having your gall bladder out and the symptoms fit me to a T. They recommend dropping all fried, rich foods from your diet. I started a food journal – that was awful, how could I lose weight and do a food journal when I couldn’t even be honest with myself (it lasted for only a week – I broke down sobbing at work because I couldn’t do it). I seriously want to punch anyone who tells me to write down what I eat, what is the point of it? To make you feel even more guilty about your weight so you eat more? That is what it made me do and I couldn’t handle the stress of being honest about what I was eating. After I ditched the Food Journal I started to feel better but there was one problem I love meat and was not going to give it up no matter how sick it made me. I started small instead of cheesecake I just did the cake because it wasn’t as rich as the cheesecake, a salad at lunch, grilled fish instead of fried chicken.
I left the hotel in 2008 to be a stay at home mom with the drop in income came the dropping “snack food” items and soda from the grocery list. I did what no person should do, I quit Diet Soda cold turkey and felt like crap for a week but then I started feeling better, no more migraines (I was taken my migraine medicine at least 3 times a week), my skin cleared up and I started drinking this stuff called water. We concentrated on fruit, vegetables, milk, grains, few processed foods, very few snack foods and meat. I noticed little things I felt better, I started losing weight (I still don’t own a scale but my clothes were starting to get baggy). When I ate meat I would get a tummy ache, when I ate mac & cheese I would get a tummy ache, pizza, ice cream so I stopped eating those items (giving up ice cream nearly killed me – lol). I got pregnant with the Booga and once again breastfed and the weight melted off of me. I knew I would probably gain it all back after I stopped breastfeeding. Well it has been almost 2 years an I have not gained any weight back just the opposite I have lost more weight. In 2011 I gave up milk and ice cream for good – I feel fantastic (I also know my grandfather, who was a milkman, is rolling over in his grave – lol). I now even exercise on the advise of my doctor, when they recently changed my medicine so I wouldn’t feel like crap. It isn’t like I was this slug, I walked everyday to get my daughter from school (about a mile) but that was pretty much all I did. I can’t tell you if it worked or not with preventing me from feeling like crap because there were a couple days I felt like crap. I can tell you I will be able to wear a strapless dress this summer and not feel embarrassed of my arms. On days I do workout I sleep so much better, maybe that is me being brain washed but I notice a huge difference. I can also do 50 push-ups without stopping, my goal is 100 before August.
I have fears I actually have more fears about my weight than I ever have because people notice me now. Their first response is “WOW! You look fantastic!” Followed quickly by “so what is your secret?” When you tell them you changed your diet and you are working out they nod politely but you can tell they are thinking “oh that is so not going to last.” I am more concerned with my clothes than I ever have been and I still have a closet full of clothes that DO NOT FIT. I can not bring myself to part with them I feel like I would be jinxing myself if I do. However it is getting to point were I don’t have clothes that fit, so I need new clothes, I have to empty the closet. I am terrified of gaining weight especially since I had to order the dress for my brother’s wedding in February (6 months before the wedding) a lot can happen in 6 months for me it has been two decreases in Synthroid.
Looking back now I can see how horrible my eating habits were and I try not to think about how much artificial sweetener I consumed over the years. I haven’t had a Diet Soda in over two years and have been officially off of artificial sweetener for over a year and I can tell immediately if something I am eating has artificial sweetener, even a bit will trigger a horrible migraine. Do I think “diet” stuff leads to obesity? Yes because people think because it is “diet” you can justify eating more (trust me I have been there). Do I think a pill or a drink will make you lose weight? NO! I’m sorry there is no pill or magic drink (water excluded) will make you lose weight and keep it off. If there was I would have found it and be shouting it from the roof tops. You have to want it and honestly I didn’t realize how bad I wanted it until they change my medicine a couple months ago. I do know I will NEVER be 272 pounds again and I will watch what I eat and exercise everyday if that is what it takes. Am I scared about gaining weight? Absolutely terrified! I also know that I want this more than anything and I am not going to let it slip through my fingers that easily because I feel fantastic and I have muscles – lol.
Because I know no one will believe me so I did find one photo of me from January 2005 (before I was pregnant with my daughter) my weight was 272 pounds:
Me the night of out in January – I know I do not have a recent one (I take self portrait head shots – lol):
So there you have it, why I try to find healthy sweet things because I have a sweet tooth but I don’t want to feel guilty about eating it. If there are cookies, chips, etc in the house I will eat them by the handful so I ask Jeff not to buy them. If we did have chips I would be sitting here with my greasy chip fingers typing this but instead I am sitting here with my jug-o-water thinking about how good a bag of Dill Pickle Chips would be – lol. This was a huge step for me and I hope it gives someone some inspiration, somewhere but it isn’t easy and I know that but the reward for me is feeling better and knowing there is a chance I will be around a bit longer, living like this than how I did live.
UPDATE (this morning 10AM) – So to prove I really was this big – I found my FAVORITE work pants in my closet this morning:
Thank you for sharing your very personal and inspiring story with us. I think the ‘diet’ industry is as hurtful to people as the social constructs we have put in place to make everyone feel bad about how they look. It would be nice if beauty had more to do with health and less to do with appearances. Oh and by the way, good for you for improving yourself. So many people would feel so much better if they took your example.
Thanks Dawn, this was an extremely hard blog post to write because I put it out there but I am so glad I did. I am actually looking forward to cleaning out my closet – lol 🙂
Amanda you have tears of joy running down my face. I am so proud of you and even prouder that you are realistic and scared to let it all slip away. There is no bigger motivator than fear and I know you will stick to it and make it happen. Y look amazing but even more amazing is your story. Love – A proud Friend.
Thank you Milli 🙂 It took a while but I am glad I finally wrote it down 🙂
Amanda, Mom says “You look AMAZING and I don’t believe that 272!!!!”
I really was and give mom a hug for me 😀
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