I was extremely active and athletic all through elementary school, junior high, and high school. I played soccer, volleyball, tennis, and ran track. But after I got married at 21, the weight struggle began.
My weight piled on pretty rapidly, and I was comfortable. Ultimately, my weight gain was due to the way I was eating and my sedentary lifestyle once I was out of school and in my married life. But I would come to find out a few years later, around age 24, that I had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and that definitely played a role in my weight gain too.
When I first found out I had PCOS, I used my diagnosis as an excuse for being overweight.
I told myself and others that it wasn't my fault—I had a condition. But deep down I knew while PCOS definitely contributed to my weight gain (it is a known side effect of the hormone disorder), I was still the one choosing to put certain types of food into my body, and in large amounts.
What's more: My husband and I struggled for years to conceive our daughter Rory (who is now 5), and I started eating emotionally during that time. I was also undergoing fertility testing and treatments. In short, life was just hard for a little while.
Once I gave birth in May of 2014, I did what most moms do and put my health and my life on the back burner so that I could keep my new human alive and healthy. I would continue to slowly gain weight over the next four years, maxing out at 240 pounds.
My turning point was in February 2018, when I realized I was avoiding mirrors and photos.
For someone as outgoing and extroverted as I am typically, that was just not me. I was absolutely miserable and had also developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an irregular heartbeat, and was borderline pre-diabetic. My PCOS symptoms were also out of control. I was 24, considered morbidly obese, and was taking two different types of blood pressure meds as well as another Rx for my PCOS. I felt—dare I say it?—pathetic.
I thought, what type of example was I setting for my daughter? How would I ever forgive myself if she adapted my eating habits and ended up like me? I knew I would never be able to live with myself if that happened. The way I felt about myself, combined with the fear of my daughter picking up my habits, was enough to light a fire underneath me that would lead to me losing 100 pounds in *one year* naturally.
Finding the weight-loss strategies that worked for me was a game of trial and error.
I began with a strict keto diet but only did it for one month. The part of keto that didn't work for me was the extreme list of ingredients that was off-limits. So, I switched to a low-carb, no-sugar way of eating.
I also began intermittent fasting, meaning I didn't eat anything past 8 p.m. and didn't eat again until 12 p.m. the next day. This was easy for me, as I have never been a big breakfast person. I ate 20 grams or less of net carbs a day, and no sugar. I even eliminated fruit. (I know this is not right for everyone, but this worked for me.) I had a very strong addiction to sugar that I needed to break, so I went cold turkey.
I ate this way for nine months and lost 80 pounds. At the end of month nine, I was ready for a change and also wanted to begin reincorporating carbs and sugar into my diet so I would be able to live happy, healthy, and balanced for the long term. To lose my last 20 pounds, I ate more carbs but tracked my calorie intake to hold myself accountable.
Today? I am currently just watching my calorie intake and doing intermittent fasting. Here’s what I typically eat in a day:
Breakfast: I fast until noon every day, and I only drink water.
Lunch: I have a turkey sandwich on a 100-calorie bun with white American cheese, red apple, and a serving of chips. (I love the white cheddar Cheetos!)
Snacks: Typically I reach for a jerky stick or fruit.
Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with roasted asparagus is my go-to.
Dessert: A FiberOne brownie does the trick.
As for fitness? I began playing tennis three to five days a week and played with my daughter. On days I wasn't playing tennis, I would go for a 30 minute walk/jog, or go swimming or jump on the trampoline with Rory. As long as my Apple Watch registered at least 30 minutes of exercise, I was good with that. I never once set foot in a gym.
In May 2019, I had my loose skin removed from my stomach.
The decision to have my loose skin removed was not an easy one. In addition to the very high cost, it's also something that requires a ton of planning, as you need help doing *everything* during recovery. For me, though, I wanted to be able to fully see and feel the results of my 100-pound weight loss. I wanted to be able to see the body I had worked so hard for, and it was hiding underneath pounds of loose, hanging skin.
Surgery and recovery went very well for me, but I had done my research and knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I was prepared for pain and I was prepared to be homebound for a couple of weeks. I did months of research and followed accounts on Instagram of others who shared their tummy tuck recovery.
I have gained about 10 pounds since my surgery. I wasn't allowed to exercise for the first six weeks post-op, and that was tough. Your body swells pretty drastically after you've had major surgery, and for tummy tuck patients, that swelling can last up to one year. So those things combined led to the scale creeping up. I simply had to remind myself that my body has been through a trauma and to be kind to myself.
I am back to watching what I eat closely, sticking to around 1,400 calories a day, and drinking 100 ounces of water daily.
The moment I finally took ownership of my health situation and got rid of the excuses, my mind was finally where it needed to be to really do this. I was finally in control of my own body and my own life.
My life has changed drastically as a result of my weight loss—totally for the better. I feel healthy. I can finally play with my daughter without having to stop after 30 seconds because I'm out of breath. I have fun shopping for clothes again, rather than sitting in the changing room sweaty and crying like I did when I was 240 pounds.
And what really keeps me motivated: My daughter has watched me accomplish something that most people don't, and that is something I hope she will carry with her forever.
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