My life as a Plus Sized Girl
By Gayla Crouch
My name is Gayla Crouch and for as long as I can remember I have been “chubby” or “plus sized”. Some of my earliest memories relate to me and my sister Robin, who is 13 months older to the day than I am, they always thought I was the older of us because I was always the bigger sister. I still am. I remember being told “do you really think you need that or should you take that much?” even as a youngster. It really does something to a young psyche! As I grew older, I never lost my “baby fat”. My Mother tried different diets for me, that didn’t work…I wanted what the other kids were eating. I know it was difficult for my mother to find age appropriate clothes that fit. I also had to get the plus sized (or chubby) kids clothes. By the sixth grade, I was 5’6” 140lbs, wearing a woman’s size 12 clothes. By 15, I was 167 lbs and a size 15. I remember my junior year of high school, I was on the Pom Squad and the woman making the uniforms was upset when I got fitted because the pattern only went up to a size 10 and she had to modify mine…it was the only one that big!! Despite being fairly active, by the end of high school, I was 178 lbs and did not have very many friends. Besides being a “big girl”, I was a non-Mormon in a very Mormon world… during high school I did not have a single date or go to a single dance; I really thought something was wrong with me.
After high school graduation, I moved to
Upon getting married (I married the first guy that paid any attention to me!) and pregnant, I began putting on weight…more than a healthy pregnant woman should put on. I started having pain in my right upper abdomen and throwing up in my fifth month of pregnancy; I thought “my morning sickness should be way over by now!” The doctors kept telling me the pain was just ligaments stretching and the vomiting was “hyperemesis gravidum” and that they would go away. Well, they didn’t …. And I had gained 70+ lbs. So in the middle of a gallbladder attack (they diagnosed that at 8 ½ months), pre-eclampsia, toxemia, dehydration and a lot of pain, I had my first child. I was still a child myself, although I thought I was more grown up at the ripe age of 20! I did diet and exercise to Richard Simmons after the birth of Robert, and lost all but 10lbs within my pre-pregnancy weight. I still felt good about my body at that point in my life. Two years later I became pregnant with my second child…this time I only gained 45lbs, I thought maybe it was higher. My weight got up to about 220 lbs and even though I exercise every day and ate meals that I prepared, I never lost the pregnancy weight! I went from a size 13 pre pregnancy to a size 18 post pregnancy. And that was the end of my being a “normal” sized girl!!
I started nursing school, I had originally want to become a Pediatrician, but after two kids that was out of the question for me. As with most college students…I gained a few more pounds. During the time I was in nursing school my car, of which I was a passenger, was hit from behind and totaled. I was knocked unconscious and suffered 2 ruptured lumbar discs, that… and two more car accidents started my long bout with back pain. My career choice of working as a nurse in OR and ICU didn’t help matters either, along with being overweight. The extra weight has not helped my back at all. To date, I have had more than 15 epidural steroid injections for my back. Hopefully, with weight loss the back pain will get better!
Fortunately, with my third child (and only girl) I only gained 20 some pounds and lost all of it… but I was already overweight. Because I was already big, people didn’t know if I was just gaining more weight or pregnant!!
Now, not only am I obese but I have other health problems as well…type 2 diabetes that I take daily insulin shots, sometimes more than one shot plus 4 pills per day. I have sleep apnea and sleep with a machine that keeps my airway open at night. I have reflux and take meds for that. I have osteoarthritis in both knees…and have had surgery on both knees. One knee was so bad the cartilage was gone all the way to the bone and the surgeon had to make little fractures into my femur, so it would scar over and protect the bone! As I have gained more and more weight, depression has set in. I have a loving husband, who married me for who I am more on the inside than outside. He has overlooked the obesity, but now is very concerned with all the health issues that keep coming up.
All of my adult life being obese…all of my childhood being obese!! Having to shop at the large women’s stores…barely fitting into airline seats…huffing and puffing to keep up with my family…losing my career…health problems…depression and feeling bad about myself and my weight…it is spiraling out of control. I need help to gain control over my weight, my health issues and a few other things!! After years of yo-yo dieting, pills, special foods... and with each new fad diet or pills gaining more weight… I need something that will change my life drastically or I won’t have a life to speak of!! Although I do have a fear of gastric bypass, I am more afraid of what diabetes, etc. will wreak havoc on my life.
I want to be healthy ... and part of being healthy is being a healthy weight!! I also want to feel better about myself. I know that this is not the be all end all to being health, it is just a tool to be used in losing weight, there is also a lifestyle change in regard to food intake, and exercise is important. I am prepared to make those changes in my life to regain control over my weight and physical activity.