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Thanks to medical science, today I am celebrating a 50 lb weight loss. My weight loss journey has had a lot of twists, but now I’m on the right path.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. All content is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.
The older I get, the harder it is to lose weight.
So many women in my life had said the same thing. That the older they get the harder it is to lose, or even maintain their weight. I have personally been lectured about it my entire life.
Where it Began
Back in high school, I weighed in at about 150 lbs at 6′ tall and had a doctor tell me I needed to lose weight. That was the start of many years of fad diets and my weight bouncing all over the place.
In college, I tried Weight Watchers when my weight slowly inched up to 185 lbs. I worked out a few days a week in the college gym and was really active, but my boyfriend commented on my weight and that set me off again. Because he knew I was doing WW with his mom, he thought it was his place to comment on everything I ate. This was a turning point in our relationship and was the breaking point for me. I ultimately called off the relationship.
When I started dating my husband, he was the complete opposite. Do you want to have french fries? Have the french fries. Do you want to have a salad? Have the salad. But most importantly, do what you want to do! This was new for me. Add to that starting a full-time job at the casino with crazy hours, and my weight slowly rose.
At this point, I had been hyper-focused on my weight for about 8-9 years, so with a wedding around the corner, I went back to WW on my own. I found the support I needed there but only lost about 10 lbs in the course of a year leading up to our wedding. I did however develop a better relationship with food.
Over the next 7 years, my weight would continue to go up and down. In 2007, I was determined to lose weight and start exercising more just so I would feel better. Less than a month in, I found out I was pregnant, and since exercise wasn’t a consistent part of my life yet, and I had a previous miscarriage, my midwife told me to take it easy during my pregnancy and stick with walking only. On delivery day, I was at the highest weight of my life – 272 lbs.
Breastfeeding will help you lose weight.
Just in time to find out I was pregnant with my daughter. I was more active during her pregnancy, chasing a 1-year-old will do that to you, and my delivery day weight was lower than it was with my son so I considered it a win.
Over the next 3 years, my weight was all over the place until 2012.
In 2012, I had an issue with a medication that I was on and the side effect was dramatic weight loss. Like really dramatic. I lost a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. In October 2012, when I found out I was pregnant again my weight was at the lowest it had been in years — 229 lbs.
And that was the last time I saw my weight under 230 lbs. Everything I experienced in 2012 was such an anomaly for my adult life that I almost want to throw it out as a data point, but it is what it is.
If you have been around for a while you know that I don’t make new year’s resolutions. What you may not know is I do make resolutions each year for my birthday. For the last decade, I have always blown out the candles while thinking, “Next year I will celebrate my birthday healthier than I am this year.”
And just like with new year’s resolutions, each year that went out the window.
Until this year.
Every August, just before my birthday I make all of my annual doctor’s appointments. This year, my regular primary doctor wasn’t available to do my physical so I saw someone else in the practice. No biggie. My goal was to have my physical, get a prescription for my lab work, and get a renewal of my thyroid meds. Anyone in the practice could do those things.
This Year’s Physical Was Different
Like every year, the first conversation was about my weight. Unlike past years, hell, the past 30 years, I was not told that I needed to try harder to lose weight. That if I just had enough willpower it wouldn’t be an issue. He never recommended weight-loss surgery. For the first time in my
adult life, I was told that my weight was a medical condition and needed to be treated as such.
When a patient comes in with a broken bone we don’t tell them to try harder to get healthy. We make an assessment of their current health, we assess the injury, and we come up with a treatment plan to fix the problem.
Obesity is a medical diagnosis that can be treated. I was assessed for where I was at now, what my weight has been over the years, what steps I have previously taken. My labs were reviewed to show that I was not pre-diabetic, my cholesterol was normal, and that I was otherwise healthy. The only medical issue to be addressed was my weight, so it was time to come up with a treatment plan to fix the problem.
I was offered the option of trying a weight-loss medication that would make it easier for me to lose weight and help with the areas where I was struggling. The medication would be an injection that I took once a week, and he would follow up with me in 4 weeks.
Leaving the appointment, I felt a sense of relief and overwhelm. Finally, I was getting control over the one part of my life where I felt I was out of control.
The first 3 medications that I was prescribed were denied by my insurance. I cried. I cursed. Why does insurance get to decide what is medically necessary? This is why I go to the doctor!
I did some research on my own and tracked down a list of all of the weight-loss drugs that are FDA approved and do not require the patient to also be pre-diabetic or already have developed Type 2 Diabetes. I had a second appointment at the four-week mark where we reviewed the list and ranked the medications based on what my insurance said was in my plan and what the best options were for me.
After about 6 weeks, I was given a prescription that my insurance approved (although it did require pre-authorization) and I was able to move forward. Right on time too since at my doctor’s appointment on September 7th, I weighed in at my highest point ever. I’m still not comfortable saying that number out loud. It scares me and makes me angry that it had gotten that bad.
On the evening of September 15, I nervously took my first injection of Saxenda, a daily injection as opposed to our first attempt medication which was weekly. With the exception of 4-days when I went off the meds in January following a strong immune response to my vaccine booster that knocked me on my ass, I have taken my shot every night for five straight months. I have taken control.
Today is the 9-month mark since I took my first injection on Saxenda and I am celebrating a 50 lb weight loss since September.
Being on Saxenda has been an absolute game-changer for me. The medication has curbed my appetite significantly. I eat just a fraction of what I was eating before. I no longer have sugar cravings. I’ve reduced my soda consumption (I was a Pepsi addict).
I didn’t start following any specific diet plan. I just naturally started eating less. However, Noom has been incredibly helpful for making better decisions and getting me out of my own head. The articles are the best, and my coach has been so supportive.
After the holidays, I started moving more and taking daily walks on our treadmill while watching YouTube. I feel the difference and see it too! My recent non-scale victories included hiking with my son and his Boy Scout troop, something I couldn’t do a year ago, and fitting into a dress that I haven’t worn since 2012!
Celebrating 50lbs Gone, But How Does it Feel
So today I am celebrating 50lbs gone! I am celebrating wearing new clothes and getting more confident in my skin. Celebrating all the things I can do that I couldn’t before.
On the flip side, I’m also angry that it has taken this long to get a handle on things. Especially since the medication I am now on, Saxenda, was FDA approved in 2014. None of my previous doctors even mentioned that it was a possibility. I was offered weight loss surgery regularly, but never once was told that medication could help.
It’s frustrating to be told something is your fault for so many years.
To be made to feel defective.
But this year, the simple fluke of not being able to see my doctor for a physical has changed the direction of my life.
I now know that I am in control and I must advocate for myself with the same passion that I advocate for my children. Anyone who is part of my medical team earns their place there by listening, being respectful, and acknowledging that I know my body, and what is normal for me, better than their charts and books, and that we are all unique and need to be treated as such.
I also know that my doctor is no longer my doctor. I have decided that I needed someone who listens, doesn’t rush me during appointments, addresses my concerns, and speaks to me as an equal. For me, that has meant switching to a nurse practitioner (CRNP). Someone who finally had my back and is helping me to get my life back.
So what’s next? Well, more weight loss. I’m still not where I was back in 2012 and I’d like to get there. I think that may officially be my first real goal on this journey. I plan on continuing with Saxenda, Noom, and my daily walks so that I continue to lose weight and be in control of the direction my health is going.
As for non-scale goals:
- Walk 1000 miles in 2022
- Walk a continuous 5K and finish in under 1 hour
- Continue to hike with my children
- Start working on core exercises in addition to walking
- Buy new clothes and donate what no longer fits
- Wear shorts this summer
And most importantly, believe in myself and my ability to overcome this.
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