2. How Did I Get Here?

kokasummer1

I started gaining weight as an adult. I was in college when I first noticed the weight gain. I had spent the summer wearing shorts, of course, and then when school started in the fall, none of my pants fit. I was horrified.

Poor diet and lack of exercise were certainly to blame, but I had no idea of the path my life was heading down. Years of self-doubt, of struggling repeatedly to get a handle on my eating habits, of losing five pounds and then gaining 15. Trying to figure out what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t get the hang of this system.

In my mind, my 20s sped by so fast: I graduated from college, started working, got married. At some point I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and down the line it would be high cholesterol. I was at my highest weight (240) when I got married at 24, and a few years later I joined Weight Watchers and lost 20 or 25 pounds.

Over the next few years, it would be an uphill struggle: gain, lose, gain, lose, gain. I learned a lot in Weight Watchers and had easy access to yoga, and later swimming, both of which I enjoyed and were important in my fitness journey, if not my weight loss.

At 31 I weighed 205, and then I got pregnant. I was sick for the first half of my pregnancy, so I barely ate. I gained about 25 pounds while pregnant, which is pretty healthy. After my son was born, I breastfed for about 10 months, which I used as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. So I gained instead of losing, and I stayed at that weight for quite a while.

Just before my son was two, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I became completely gluten free, but at a time when there wasn’t a lot of information about it. I struggled with a lot of food issues because of this. Psychologically, I felt deprived, so I overindulged on foods I could have because I thought I deserved it. I also learned I was lactose intolerant, but I didn’t take that too seriously, given my other food issues.

Down the road, I gained and lost, and I dealt with a lot of stomach issues. More diagnoses: microscopic colitis and high blood pressure. Add to that issues I’d had since childhood, including flat feet, osteoarthritis, and depression. At 38, I got divorced, and a few years later I received a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy.

Over the past few years, I have tried three or four weight loss medications (mostly appetite suppressants). They worked pretty well at suppressing my appetite, but my weight loss was minimal. After a while, my weight would plateau, and I could maintain my weight but not lose. Eventually, my doctor said there was nothing else for me to try. He encouraged me to consider bariatric surgery, but I couldn’t think about that. I wasn’t ready.

I’m now 44. It’s been at least a year since my last weight loss medication, and I gained about 30 pounds. In that time, though, I’ve gotten married, and life is overall pretty good. I try to maintain an exercise routine, but life often gets in the way. I went completely dairy free, and I feel much better than I have in a long time.

I hit 265, and I said enough is enough. I can no longer bend as far as I used to, and my body hurts a lot. Walking is often painful. My body doesn’t cut me a break. I’m out of ideas, and options.

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