Speaking from the heart – My battle with weight
|November 9, 2013||Filled under About me, Health, Life, Motivation, Weight Loss|
I’ve been thinking for a long time about doing a post like this. I really struggled with what to share, how to share it, what to say, would people judge me, etc. When it comes right down to it, I decided that even if I help one person…it will be worth it. Because I know I am not the only person that has dealt with this. Or is faced with making decisions that will change their life. Or feels alone, frustrated and emotionally spent.
Today I am sharing my struggle with my weight. It’s been a LONG journey, and I will be the first to say I am by no means perfect. I still have days when I need to remind myself that there will be bumps in the road, but that it’s HOW I choose to move forward that is important.
I have been on both sides of the battle…underweight and eating disordered….and then later a binge eater and obese (still eating disordered, just in another way). Neither is fun. Nobody WANTS to be in either of those places.
I am here to tell you that you CAN make it through to the other side.
Let’s start from the beginning….throughout my childhood, I was more or less a “normal” sized kid. I don’t recall ever really struggling with weight or feeling overly big. Probably because I wasn’t.
My first year in high school, after starting to date a guy, something changed. Maybe it was nerves with having a boyfriend…I don’t know. I just wasn’t eating as much. Then people starting asking me if I was losing weight. And although I didn’t think I was overweight to begin with, I thought if other people were noticing I MUST have been overweight. So, I ate less. And lost more weight. It didn’t take long before I was eating next to nothing. I skipped breakfast, and most days lunch too. I was on the swim team, so would go do a swim workout after school and when I got home I would eat something small. It was really easy to make excuses why I wasn’t hungry (tired from swim team practice, ate something at practice, etc.).
I got really thin. Like just under 100 pounds thin (I’m 5’7”). I remember getting so dizzy standing while my mom was hemming a dress and having to sit down. It was right about that time that one of my friends told the school counselor what was going on. I remember the day she pulled me out of class. I was terrified when she said she was going to call my parents.
I started going to see a therapist, and did both one on one and group therapy. Throughout my sophomore year, things were slightly improved, but I still skipped breakfast and if I did eat something it was fat-free. I thought I was in totally control. As a first-born, I found a lot of comfort in this secret life I had created.
My junior year, I starting dating Mike…who would eventually become my husband. At first I was still dabbling in my disordered eating, but after time I began to feel comfortable eating around him, and really felt that he didn’t care how I looked. I began to give myself permission to eat…a lot, at times. I would alternate between eating unhealthy foods, and then punish myself for the next few days by eating next to nothing. I started to put on weight.
By the time I went to college, I was on my way to being a binge eater. I could eat an entire medium Domino’s pizza. Instead of the “Freshman 10 or 15”…I probably put on 30 pounds. I ate crappy food, didn’t exercise, and was miserable. Each year in college I put on more weight.
By the time I graduated, and then got married a year later, I was well over 200 pounds. My wedding dress was a size 22/24. I was a bridesmaid in my sister-in-laws wedding and wore a size 20. I felt repulsive and couldn’t understand how I could go from eating a few hundred calories a day to thousands.
I went on “diets” constantly…Weight Watchers, South Beach, Jenny Craig…anything and everything. Nothing worked…I couldn’t stick to them for more than a few months, and every time I fell off the wagon I would drown my sorrows in even more calories. It was a roller coaster.
Fast forward a few years after having 2 kids. I was now 260 pounds. Forget the double digit clothing…I was now in the 1X category.
I had no energy to keep up with 2 little boys. Still in and out of therapy.
In 2006, my therapist at the time was leaving the practice and we were having our last session. At the end of the session, she said, “By the way Krysta, you know not to have weight loss surgery…right”? I said yes, of course, but inside I was shocked. I know I was big, but didn’t think I was “weight loss surgery candidate” big! How could that be?? I thought about that comments for months. And then I started to research it. Holy Moly – I WAS a weight loss surgery candidate. I was 31 with sleep apnea (used a CPAP at night) and had high cholesterol. I mentioned to my husband that I was thinking about weight loss surgery and he said no way…that I didn’t need it.
Months later, I mentioned it to my hubby again, and decided to look into it. The pre-approval process for my health insurance was very extensive. I had to do some counseling, take some personality tests, be evaluated by specialists, have at least 2 co-morbidities (which I did). Now, I will say that YES, I also knew that people with a history of anorexia are not great candidates. I was honest with the physicians and counselors about my history, and it did not seem to be an issue for them as far as recommending me for the surgery.
It was about a 9 month process, but in the Fall of 2007, I had RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery. I chose a reputable surgeon (who had actually had the surgery himself) with a practice that had an extensive follow-up protocol.
Here I was pre-surgery:
The weight fell off quickly. It was amazing. Within a year, I was down over 100 pounds. And now I was starting to get the “you’re too skinny” comments again. Inside, I loved it. I was happy being so thin again…it felt great when I could fit into my younger sister’s size 4 or 6 jeans.
In 2009, I had a Brachioplasty (Arm Lift) to remove the excess skin from my upper arms. Since I had lost so much weight so quickly, the extra skin hung on my arms and I really couldn’t wear short sleeves without feeling embarrassed.
I had adjusted pretty well to my new way of eating. Small meals, focusing on protein first. Things like sugar, bread, pasta were on the “no” list, but I ate them anyway. “Everything in moderation” I said.
About 9 months after my arm lift, I started developing migraines. I had headaches every day. Still do. I have basically had one continuous headache for 4 ½ years. It varies in severity, but it’s always there. I wake up with a headache, and I go to bed with one. Several times a week it would develop into a full blown migraine.
I tried everything people recommended. Acupuncture, chiro adjustments, stopping caffeine, no chewing gum, exercise, had an MRI to rule out a physical reason and the list goes on.
After seeing a couple of Neurologists and a Headache Specialist, I started on a preventative medication routine. The side effects were awful. I often felt like it was unsafe for me to drive. It was like I was outside my body and very unaware of my surroundings.
One med made me gain weight, so I got put on another one that made me lose weight but that had even worse side effects. Every blood draw I had was abnormal. Vitamin D, Potassium, High PTH…even Iron so low I needed IV treatments.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that it ISN’T JUST ABOUT THE WEIGHT. At both my smallest and biggest weights, it was my brain that was broken, so to speak.
My body has been through enough. It is ready to be healthy and rid of toxins and meds. I started supplementing a couple of years ago, and recently decided to wean off some of my prescription meds.
I am focusing more on REAL food…cutting out processed foods. I am still far from perfect. I still have days when I eat crappy food, but I try to cut myself some slack.
My body is still trying to adjust to some of the changes I have been making. Since going off of the prescriptions, I have put on weight, which I will admit is super frustrating. I remind myself that I have spent the last 20+ years of my life putting my body through the ringer, and changes aren’t going to happen overnight.
When people ask me if I regret having weight loss surgery….my answer is no. No, BUT, it hasn’t been an easy road and it is not all rainbows and sunshine. I needed to go through that journey to get to where I am at today, so I would never say I regret it.
So, there you go. This story is such a big part of me. I have such compassion for anyone dealing with this either in their own life, or anyone trying to be a support person for someone with any type of eating disorder. It’s a tough road.
If you need support, I am here to answer ANY questions, give my advice, or be a friendly ear. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. :)