More information about my health coaching coming soon, in the meantime…
My Weight Loss Journey
I was always a chubby kid. I remember wearing shorts in 5th grade and hating the way my thighs looked. I lost 20lbs in the beginning of High School by experimenting with diet pills, not eating breakfast and only having a 20oz bottle of wild cherry pepsi for lunch. But I was never happy with myself. At 5’2″ and 150lbs, I was still not within my normal weight range. It wasn’t long until I started to regain the weight and was a bit over 200lbs by senior year. In February, my parents paid me to quit my sedentary after-school job and go to the gym instead. I got down to 190lbs by graduation.
But a summer traveling Europe and then sitting at home with nothing to do soon got my weight back up. And first semester of college didn’t help any. The “Freshman 15”? It was the “Freshman 30” for me. When I joined Weight Watchers in January 2005, I was at 231.6lbs and officially at my highest weight ever. It took me two and a half years but I lost 90lbs with their program. I was down to 140lbs by the time I graduated (a year early). But partying after turning 21 and starting a full time job that summer took its toll on me. I slowly started to regain the weight and was 175lbs by the end of the year.
That New Year’s, I met somebody who loved my body for everything I didn’t. I had never had anyone appreciate me that much and it wasn’t long before I stopped paying attention to myself. I refused to cancel my Weight Watchers membership even though I never went to meetings anymore and had pretty much given up. A year later, I had regained 80 of the 90 pounds that I had spent two and a half years losing in college.
I realized for the first time that not only was I clinically obese, but I was exactly .5 points on the BMI scale from being classified as “morbidly obese.” I was terrified. But no matter how much I tried to lose the weight (and trust me, I did anythingI could think of), it wasn’t working for me anymore. I tried diet pills again, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, exercising more and eating less, but nothing happened. My lifelong issues with emotional and compulsive eating had completely taken over my life.
And so, in January 2009, I made the scariest and best decision I could make for myself: I elected to have weight loss surgery. Per my parent’s suggestion, I traveled with my mom to see a family doctor in Barranquilla, Colombia, and had a gastric bypass.
I read a ton of books about the pro and cons of WLS and ultimately decided that it was the right choice for me. It’s not that I wanted an easy way to lose weight, it’s that I wanted a lifelong tool to lose and keep the weight off. Nothing else was working for me anymore, and I couldn’t stand the thought of it getting worse and my health deteriorating further.
But despite losing the weight again fairly quickly, one thing I took away from this experience is that weight loss surgery, like Weight Watchers, is just a tool to help you. In the past, I learned the hard way that the most difficult part of it all isn’t losing the excess weight but maintaining your weight loss.
It’s now been almost five years since I first got my surgery and, to be honest, it is still a daily struggle. But by cooking and eating healthier, along with some exercise that I’m still working on, I am keeping the weight (mostly) off. I hope that by sharing my weight loss story, healthy eating adventures and everything else in between—on this blog and in an upcoming book—I will continue to keep the weight off as well as inspire others on their own weight loss journey.