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I come from a family of tall, busty, full-figured women. My grandmother and aunt were 5'9" (rest in peace) and my mother and I are both 5'9". My grandmother and aunt struggled with their weight fluctuating between sizes 14-26. My mother, on the other hand, has been overweight her entire life; her dress size has for the most part been 26+. I've heard it said that if you want to see what you'll look like in the future, look at your mom. I realized last year that I looked just like my mom, weighing in at 365 lbs.
I haven't been overweight all my life. There was a time when people used to marvel at how flat my stomach was. I started gaining weight at about age 12 and found myself at a size 20 in 8th grade! I went to high school and dropped down to a size 16 (177 lbs) because of the rigorous physical activity. During my senior year, I got down to a 14 (163 lbs)! I thought I was cute. That victory was extremely short-lived as I soon ballooned to 199 lbs. After high school, I no longer had to take PE. Because I did not include exercise in my daily routine, I fluctuated between 200-250 lbs.
I lost 80 lbs twice in college and got down to a size 16 in '95 and a size 18 in '99. After that last weight loss, I put on more than 50 lbs, weighing in at 320. I have weighed over 300 lbs since 2000. I never thought that I would be in the 300 club. I tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, the 10lbs in 3 days diet, and starvation with minimal success to only put the weight back on and then some.
Oh - and did I mention throughout all of this - I was involved in a string of bad relationships, suffered from depression, low self-esteem, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and just a general feeling of hopelessness?
I had heard of gastric bypass but never considered it an option initially. As a fan of "I Lost It" on the Discovery Health channel, gastric bypass patients were featured occassionally - but they DID NOT look healthy to me. They all appeared to look sickly. Also, the culture I was raised in fears going to the doctor let alone surgery!
What inspired me and changed my thinking was a beautiful lady at my church. She'd lost over 100 lbs and looked wonderful. She told me that she had the roux-n-y and I was fascinated (and sold). She was a living example that gastric bypass was not the monster I thought it was and that the operation was tangible. I started to research the procedure and contacted the two centers of excellence in my area to find out what was required. I submitted my paperwork in February of 2007, was approved in May and had surgery in July.
I am not the same person I was. I love myself now and because of this self-love, I will never allow myself to be mistreated (by me) or anyone else. My blood pressure is normal and I no longer have sleep apnea. Shopping is now pleasurable and much cheaper I might add. The surgery has given me a new life and like I've said before, I wouldn't change a thing.
My only prayer is that my mother make a move and save her own...