While I haven't had problems with weight my entire life, I have had problems with food. I am the eldest daughter of four siblings. Our mother was severely mentally ill, and most of my childhood, she was single. So while we were together as a family, I was often responsible for feeding my brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, as a child, I knew very little about nutrition. Sometimes, when my mother was lucid, we ate quite normally, but other times, we had very little food. Sometimes, my brother and I would shoplift or steal grocery deliveries from other people's porches in order to feed the family.
I did not have a relationship with my father or stepfather until I was about sixteen. When I started to get to know my stepfather, he was often going on fasts for ten days or even longer, and would pressure me to fast with him. Although I had no weight problem, I began deliberately eating either nothing or very little for days and months on end. All of this starvation really messed up my metabolism, as my body became extremely efficient at holding onto weight.
I didn't really begin to experience severe weight gain till my children were born. I found it impossible to starve myself and also be a good Mom, so I started putting on weight. I tried all kinds of diets but always gained the weight back and a little more. I hired a personal trainer and began tracking all my food and exercise. I was going to jazzercise four times a week, eating 1200 calories a day, and gaining weight. The trainer suggested I see an endocrinologist because she felt their had to be a medical problem causing me to gain weight.
About that time, an eating disorder clinic opened up near me. I got curious and decided that since my insurance would cover it, I would try their intensive outpatient program (IOP) to see if that helped. At first, I did not believe I had an eating disorder. I was convinced I had a weight problem and if I just ate less and exercised more, it would go away. I spent three nights a week going to individual and group therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Nutrition education, Movement Therapy and Supported Eating. Also, I had to start logging my food, triggers, etc. Supportive eating was especially helpful because I did not know how to recognize hunger and fullness cues. I did this for eight months and it really helped me to change my eating habits. I had been regularly going seventeen or more hours without eating, and getting so hungry that when I did eat, I couldn't stop. I also learned to pay attention to protein and to watch out for triggers and trigger foods.
My life was much better but I did not lose any weight. In fact, I initially gained an additional twenty lbs. One of the staff at the clinic talked to me about bariatric surgery, so I began to explore that option. The bariatric clinic made further modifications to my diet, helping me to increase protein, decrease sugar and carbs and fat, and to set alarms to eat every two hours. I tore my meniscus so I couldn't walk, but they started me jogging in the pool, which I enjoy a lot. I started losing weight and was quite happy but then their surgeon quit, and they closed. It took a few months to find a new surgeon and I gained my weight back.
I am very happy with the new surgeon. He helped me to figure out the sleeve would be the best option for me. I had my surgery three weeks ago and have already lost 22 lbs, plus a few inches in my waist, bust and hips. My knee no longer hurts at all. Today I took a yoga class, walked four miles and lifted weights. I feel great! I am so happy I did this! Also (and I have no explanation for this) my constant coughing due to asthma and allergies has disappeared completely.
I am going to go back to the IOP because I think it will really help me to become accustomed to the new hunger and fullness cues, and to develop strategies to keep from getting so hungry I overeat. I'm still on pureed foods and have had to experiment a lot to keep the balance of protein and carbs right so I don't get so hungry I start to black out. I've had that happen a few times.
I'm really excited about little things, like being able to put my foot on my knee so I can tie my shoe! And getting up from the floor without getting onto all fours and loudly grunting. I feel like I have a new life!
Height: 5 feet 6 inches
Starting Weight: 250 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 250 lbs
Current Weight: 189 lbs
Goal Weight: 160 lbs
Weight Lost: 61 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit:
Surgery Date: 01/30/2017
Hospital Stay: 2 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: 1st Letter Approval