"Andi, can you just lose some weight?"
That's what my surgeon said to me. I was there because I had a c-section incision herniate about 6 months after delivery. Entire organs were outside of my abdominal wall and the repair would be brutal. And I was tipping the scale at over 350 lbs. He was offering me a referral for bariatric surgery. I was more than qualified at my weight. I also knew I was otherwise healthy--no hypertension, no diabetes, no cardiac issues. I was just fat.
I had been fat all of my life. My mom used to joke that it took 2 people to put me in a shopping cart as an infant. For the President's Physical Fitness Test in 5th grade, I stepped on the scale and my teacher looked at me grimly: 200 lbs. I remember shopping the women's plus section for middle school clothes.
I knew I was active. I work in healthcare on my feet for 12 hrs a day. And I also knew that if I was honest with myself, I had not really given weight loss my all. I'm a smart person. You just burn more than you take in, right?
"Let me try it by myself first," I begged my surgeon. I know bariatric surgery is a fabulous option for many, but in my mind, it was not justified until it was a last resort.
And so I started counting. Measuring. Weighing. Nothing touched my mouth until my calories were logged. I didn't even care about macros at that point. And then something happened.
50 lbs of me gone. Wow. It's working, so now what? Well, let's get to a gym.
Man, those early days were a joke. Treadmill at 2 mph, 0 incline for 10 minutes and I thought I was going to die. But I did it. Over the following months, the pace increased, then the duration, then the incline.
At 90 lbs lost, my surgeon fixed my massive hernia. He also had to remove some loose skin during the repair. The surgery was brutal and it took a good 6 months before I was healed---complete abdominal wall reconstruction. I was terrified while I couldn't exercise, but by that point, my entire relationship with food had changed. I somehow continued to lose.
I left the plus size section for good. I bawled my eyes out in the fitting room when I zipped those jeans up. I had lost over 100 lbs. My belly was fixed. Now what?
Well, I had found what works for my body. Why should I stop?
So here we are. It has been 3 years. I went from a size 28/ 4X to where I am now: size 8/ Medium in mainstream women's sizes. At the age of 44, I am 8 sizes smaller than I was in middle school.
That 10 minutes on the treadmill at a snail's pace has become 30 minutes a day of high intensity spinning and an hour of lifting heavy 5 days a week. I've just recently added Crossfit into the mix, also. I am 25 lbs from my ultimate goal---the one I swore was a pipe dream back when I was trying to convince my surgeon that I'm just meant to be fat.
I have lost 197 pounds.