I’m 21 years old and about 20 pounds overweight from a normal BMI, at 180 pounds. I’ve just been diagnosed with a wheat allergy and after cutting it from my diet I’m finally losing weight after years of struggle. It’s fabulous. It’s an answer. A clear cut “why.”
I’m a college student driving home on the last day of a multi-day road trip down the west coast. I wake up early to get home and surprise my mom. It’s about 5:30am and a bus behind me speeds up. As the driver falls asleep, he clips my car. I remember loosing control of the car, heading down an embankment and into a fence. A nurse stopped to help me and held a child size neck brace on me until paramedics arrived. I remember being surrounded by fireman as I was being carried to the ambulance and cracking a joke, “this is the first time I’ve been surrounded by so many handsome men.” It was the last time I weighed in under 200 pounds.
At the hospital I found out I broke my L1 vertebra and damaged tissue in my left leg below the knee. It was a long journey of recovery. A lot of pain medication, a wheelchair for awhile and then post traumatic stress: I couldn’t ride in a car without crying and certainly not on the freeway where I would have a full blown panic attack. I stopped talking to my friends. I gained weight. A lot of it. From lying in bed, from eating, from being afraid to go outside.
I tried many times over the next 12 years to lose the weight. At my highest I was 270 and terribly unhappy, working in a career where I interviewed children who had been abused. Pizza and World of Warcraft helped me forget that unhappiness every weekend. When my husband received a job offer out of state I quit my job, moved to San Diego and began running.
After breaking my back, the endorphin high from running was truly an addictive feeling. I started the Couch to 5k program then trained to run a 5k and then an 8k race, while still overweight. I could run for an hour straight on the treadmill and I felt invincible. I’d recovered completely from my injuries. And then I stopped. At 205, after a 65 pound weight loss and running regimen, I had developed chronic hip pain from running an hour, 4 times a week. I couldn’t walk normally without pain. My doctor advised I stop running, and the weight crept back up.
I gained 15 pounds after I stopped running and then hovered up and down around 220 the next 3 years. And then, we decided to have children. Being pregnant gives you this insane ability to justify eating anything which along with morning sickness is a cruel joke. I was pregnant most of 2013 and we welcomed our first baby the next February.
And then we did it again. It’s been said the only reason we have children again is that we block out the period called the Dark Ages; you know, the one where you don’t sleep or shower regularly (that’s not just me right?) Here I am with our toddler the week we found out we were pregnant again, right around 215 pounds.
I never did gain as much again as I weighed before I started running. 270 was my limit; when I told myself enough was enough. Throughout my two pregnancies I struggled with the psychological aspect of gaining weight. On Oct 11, 2016 I had my baby boy. I went to the hospital at 256 pounds, a full term pregnancy. Yes, of course, having a baby is about the fastest weight loss you can undergo, especially when your labor is only 30 minutes (wow that was intense!) He weighed in at 7lbs, 10 oz. With my first however I only lost about 20 pounds after she was born and slowly lost a little more over the next 2 years.
Today marks exactly 4 months since he was born and I am down 57 pounds (or 71 from my highest). 199. Onederland. The Keto Diet (and consequently, no wheat) is what allowed me to do this with such ease, in 4 months. I wanted to share this personal 12 year journey with you because it keeps me accountable, keeps me striving for better health, to be a better role model and strive to live a life where I eventually don’t care about the number on a scale.