It could have been 600lbs

helpscaleEvery once in a while I will sit down in front of the TV and gorge myself on documentaries. The other day I watched My 600lb Life on TLC.  I watched the end of Donald’s story, Ashley’s story and Melissa’s story. Melissa’s story really touched something in me: a young married woman wanting children and a new start to life. It sounded familiar (except the relationship issues.)

Melissa said something to the effect of, “The last time I weighed in I was 337lbs and that was acceptable. Then the next time weighed in I was over 600 pounds.” I can vividly remember weighing in at 295lbs at the doctor’s office and thinking to myself, “295lbs is okay. It’s when I hit 300lbs that I have a problem.” I’m not exactly sure why in my head those five pounds were the breaking point, but they certainly were. However, I did the same thing – the next time I weighed in I was 325lbs. I thought, “That’s probably not good.”  It wasn’t even that day that I decided enough was enough. 325lbs was the most I ever actually weighed on a scale. I am sure I weighed more than that at the start of my journey, but since it’s the last number I saw – I went with it.

I remember deciding to start my journey and the fear behind it. I wanted gastric bypass, but everyone I knew was against it. Everyone was concerned because it would have been a lot of weight on the table; a lot of weight to go under general anesthesia. All of the same concerns these people were faced with.  I was told I had to exhaust every possible attempt to lose weight because I would even be considered. So, I tried Atkins – it worked for the first few weeks but then I just binged on chicken and mayo and cheese. I tried calorie counting, but couldn’t stick with it. I tried the 6 week body makeover and that was terrible. I tried Weight Watchers, and finally – finally! Something clicked for me. So, Gastric was off the table for me. As I watched the fear in Melissa’s eyes and her nervousness consume her, I also watched a woman ready to conquer her fears and start a new life. The tears swelled in my eyes. I felt like I knew her. I can’t explain it. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her she could do it. Tell her how beautiful she is. How inspiring. How lovable. How amazing.

She kept commenting about how it was all so mental. That the physical doesn’t change the mental.  I could not have agreed more with her. Once an addict, always an addict. The physical does not change the mental. I will always have good days and bad days. I am an addict. It will always be easiest for me to reach for the unhealthy choice. It will always be a conscious effort to make myself eat healthy. This will always be a battle. I will always gain weight easily.

Some dick-face made a joke at Melissa’s expense while in the grocery store. I watched her cry as I recalled the time Kevin and I went to Six Flags with some friends and I didn’t fit in the rides. I can remember struggling to get through the turn style. I can remember the embarrassment and how mortified I was. The looks people gave me. I was devastated. Kevin made up some bogus excuse and didn’t ride any rides because I couldn’t. The last time we went to 6 Flags I fit. But there was a woman in front of me that did not. There were also two girls that giggled. They were about 13-14. I very calmly and very sweetly looked a them and said, “You will absolutely not make fun of someone for being bigger than you. You should be embarrassed and ashamed of yourselves for trying to make someone else feel poorly. You may be young and cute and skinny now, but you won’t be forever. Karma is cruel.” They both just stared at me. Was I out of line? I don’t fucking care one way or the other. Just thinking about that again infuriates me. Shame on those kids and shame on their parents for letting them think that was acceptable.

At the end Melissa says, “When I was losing weight I wasn’t taking Chris into account.” I cried. All of this resonated through me. I know there have been many times I haven’t taken Kevin into account while losing weight. I feel terrible for that. This journey has been all consuming. There have been times where I have been 200% selfish and prevented Kevin from doing things because of my weight loss. Times he hasn’t done things he’s wanted to because he knows it’d be hard for me. I understand that it takes selfishness to do this; however, it should not be at the expense of your partner that has supported you regardless of your size. I am sorry.

Melissa has lost over 400lbs to date but still struggles with self image and some days still sees the her 600lb self in the mirror. She still struggles with a lot of the same things she did before the surgery. Even 7 years later.

Even 7 years later. Seven years later. For everyone wanting a quick fix and thinks once you’ve lost the weight that it’s over – think again. It’s not that easy, guys. Once an addict, always an addict.

Here’s my tip: love yourself no matter what. Find your grey. And realize you’re worth more than a scale. You are beautiful.

You can watch Melissa’s story here.

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21 thoughts on “It could have been 600lbs

  1. Absolutely! I feel like a lot of things you are saying I relate with, and I love finding that. It’s wonderful to know there are people in the world that struggle with the same things in different ways. Thanks for sharing your struggles!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. And I figure that I’m not alone in a lot of what I go through – so, I might as well keep it real and share. So people know that they aren’t alone either. ❤

  3. Your weight loss is definitely inspirational. Every time I went to the Doctor and was ashamed that they’d judge me. 287, 292…that was embarrassing but it was okay. 340, was AWFUL. I lost 90 lbs only to stop and put back on 35. Now I’ve started at 287 and getting to 267 feels like an accomplishment but all I want to see is 245 on a scale, and not being there is rough, and seeing yourself still as 287 in the mirror is even harder. The kids thing resonates. I just spoke to my doctor who said, “the reality is, the obesity DOES affect your chances” and it struck a nasty cord in me. It is time to change myself, for me, for my partner, and for my future kids.

    This is definitely hard. Making kale chips for myself and eating steamed bok choy sucks when I’m cooking a pot of buttered cream pasta for my parents. But I know, that when I lose the weight and reach my goal, it’ll have been worth it and I’ll feel accomplished.

  4. I think finding a supportive doctor is HUGE. I’ve been so fortunate to have an incredible doctor. She has never judged me or made me feel “less than.” She’s the one that told me 175lbs was a great, realistic goal and that I wouldn’t look healthy at the 125lbs I initially wanted. She’s helped me keep my perspective in check and having her tell me I have the Blood Pressure and workup of an athlete really made me realize I am more than a number.

    My weight loss has always been about the future. I’ve been fortunate to always love who I am, but not fortunate enough to treat my body that way.

    I hear you on the kale chips and bok choy! Though – I will say, your Farmer’s Market trip pictures are glorious! They make me want to get in the kitchen and cook. 🙂

    Feel accomplished now and enjoy the journey. Like I said, it’s life long and you’re beautiful no matter what.

    Thanks for commenting, Leanne. ❤

  5. To be fair, the Farmers Market is the BEST part of my week. It inspires me for the week. I LOVE fresh produce and I love that it’s all organic – and most importantly CHEAP! The hardest part for me is incorporating protein. I admittedly could whip up vegetables like it’s no ones business. But ask me to cook a chicken breast or fish other than baking it in lemon, and I’m lost as it comes!

    The hardest part is changing what I eat. I feel accomplished in the gym. I was told by my trainer, “If you’re not walking out of the gym sore and hobbling, you didn’t challenge yourself enough.” I’m starting to see the differences in my body. Some of it I like: the DOUBLE stomach is slowly becoming one LARGE stomach. The cons: My legs are instead of being solid and FAT are becoming cellulite-y, bumpy, and having more skin hanging. NOT so sexy. But I know in another 20 lbs things will change. I also know that as your muscles grow and fat starts to burn the SOLIDITY of fat changes and it’ll affect things too! It’s just frustrating.

    The weight loss has started to go from rapid to slow, but over the course of the week I can see a difference. My goal is about .25/.5 lb a day, which is about 2-3 maybe if I’m lucky 4 a week. I’m eating 12-1500 calories a day packed with veggies, fruit, and protein. LOTS of protein. I’m working out at least 35 minutes at a slow but efficient pace on an elliptical, and I’m pushing weights.

    It’s just HARD! All of it is HARD. I’d MUCH rather have a cheese burger at whattaburger or get a double double animal style at in-n-out. But I also know I’ll see my guy for 17 days at Christmas and when we go to Vegas, I want to have great pictures of us, and slimming down will make me feel better!

    I love reading your blog, it’s just so spot on and makes me feel better!

  6. I can not agree with you more. You said it all just perfectly up there.

    As for those 13-14 year olds, I hope they never have to deal with the shame of being overweight in public. Why do I say shame, because that is how the public looks at you. It is sad, depressing, and uncalled for. I hope my daughter NEVER does that to others, and I hope that I have instilled in her that no matter the size or color of a person, it is what is on the inside ( the guts, blood, and mucus I tell her as she giggles, but knows what I really mean ) that makes a person a good person or a bad person.

    Losing weight is NOT a quick fix. As you said, it is so much more than what happens in the size and shape of your body, but also, and in a lot of ways, more important, what happens to the mental you.

  7. Hmmm – as far as proteins are concerned make friends with a grill. Then you can play with 18000 different types of seasonings and still keep it “new.” Once you’ve learned your grill it’s pretty simple!

    Let me say though, “If you’re not walking out of the gym sore and hobbling, you didn’t challenge yourself enough.” – BULLSHIT. Your body gets accustomed to hard work and just because you aren’t sore or hobbling doesn’t mean you aren’t pushing yourself. After the first 10k I did I came home and literally slept for 6 hours. On the 4th of July. It was embarrassing. One year later on the next 4th of July 10k I walked the 2 miles bake to the train station, went out of lunch, went to the pool and then went to a baseball game. I’m not sore after I run 10ks or hell, even do triathlons now – but I know I’ve busted my ass. This is part of my issue with trainers in general – many have never been over weight or obese and have no idea what the struggle is like. I could go on forever about this. I need to get into the weight thing though. For sure.

    I’ve stopped setting weekly goals because I realized when I didn’t meet them it was doing more harm than good. Now, I’m working with going with the flow. My body has never followed predictions/patterns well – and I know that. Hell, I gained 12 pounds in 5 days on my Honeymoon.

    I just looked up this “double double animal style” and I would also like that. LOL – We dont have Whattaburger’s or In-N-Outs here. Which is probably good. LOL

    I’m glad you enjoy it. It’s inspirational for me to see you doing so well, too. ❤

  8. Yeah, I can only pray that I raise my children to know acceptance and love for everyone one day.

    I do agree though – the mental may be more important than the physical at the end of the day. ❤

  9. “Once an addict, always an addict” – that’s so true. I think unless someone else has experienced the journey, it’s so difficult for them to understand. Every day of my life, I have to battle the demons that try to make me make bad decisions – some days are harder than others – there are no easy days. x

  10. I think we all could be there without realize. What strikes me is the truth that your threshold of too fat gets higher and higher as your own weight creeps up. We are always justifying it as ok – when sometimes we really just need a wake up call. Thanks for the honest words, they ring so true!

  11. Yes, the rising threshold is true. It’s really strange. I’m not sure why I remember that particular moment, especially since I never did anything when I hit 300lbs, but I do. Perhaps it was my first acknowledgement of an unhealthy lifestyle.

  12. Once an addict, always an addict. What a powerful story. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to relate to some of these stories because I’m no longer obese – I’m worried what other people would think when this annoying thin girl (me) is relating to these stories. But the addict is still there! I’m still recovering from having issues with binging and a seriously unhealthy relationship with food that was built from early childhood, and there’s never an end to the struggle. It was always a fight from the start. And I will always be fighting to maintain the health I now have and it would be easy to slip back into old ways and gain the weight back, which has happened many times.

  13. It’s interesting because I still see myself as the 325lb girl. My best friend often has to tell me I need to be careful otherwise I come off as that annoying girl. I’m the one that wants to go and offer support to the big girl I see struggling out there on her bike, but I never want it to be condescending. 😦 I understand your fight.

  14. Thank you SO much for this post. So many things you said I identify with (including not fitting on rides) … this really gave me motivation to get back on my weight loss journey.

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