Lost 80 pounds, celebrated by hitting the coasters!

Two years ago, in 2013, I thought my life was pretty good. I was living in a great city, with a gorgeous apartment. I had a pretty good job with good pay and benefits (bad boss not withstanding). I had started volunteering at the local animal shelter and then the library, and had a small circle of friends. The only real problem I had was, I looked like this:

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(That is my sister's disembodied handing floating off to the lower left.)

I was 26 years old, barely 5 feet tall, and weighed a whopping 290 pounds. The reason? Well as we all know here, you get overweight by eating too much and exercising too little.

For me, I'd say that my lifelong battle with clinical depression was the biggest cause of my weight. When you suffer with depression, you don't care about yourself. You don't think about your health or your appearance. Throughout my life, even as a young child, I struggled with depression. Because I was depressed, I spent most of my time in my room, mainly in bed, reading or watching TV. Therefore, I didn't develop a habit of being active. I didn't participate in any group sports, and of course I dreaded gym. I didn't walk my dog or join the YMCA, or do anything active at all. My habit was simply: go to school, return to my bed, sleep, and go to school. Repeat ad nauseam.

Compounding the lack of physical activity was overeating. I had no friends and no social life, so I liked to eat. I didn't care about my clothes or my appearance, so I ate a lot. I wasn't interested in celebrities or fashion or dating or comparing myself to other girls, which are the main interests of pretty much all teens, so I continued to eat a lot. And it showed. And I ballooned and let it go, because I was depressed and didn't care.

But two years ago, a few things happened that spurred me to make a big change.

The biggest was finally getting some help for my depression. For the last few years I've been taking my medication and seeing a therapist. That has helped me tremendously, and so two years ago, I was finally feeling more outgoing and confident. But I still hadn't taken any steps to work on my health.

Then, that summer in 2013, my mom decided to treat my sister, a friend, and I to a day at Busch Gardens in Willliamsburg, Va. And I was stoked!

I love thrill rides. I want to go fast, I want to go upside down, I want to keep my arms in the air and whoop and bellow and ride until I can't walk straight. My father introduced me to roller coasters and thrill rides when I was a kid, and I was addicted straight away. We couldn't afford to go often to theme parks, but living in Virginia, we were able to go to Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion and Carowinds every once in a while, and each summer we hit the traveling fair (and one fabulous Christmas we got tickets to Disney World and Universal Studios). I was a thrill addict and couldn't get enough.

But back in 2013, I hadn't been to a thrill park in years. The last time had been was in high school, when I visited Busch Gardens with a club. So for five years, I hadn't visited a theme park. You know how it is. I went to college with scholarships and was permanently cash strapped, eating ramen and studying hard so I could graduate early. I got my first job in a crappy city with nothing to do, and I worked constantly to build up my savings and my resume. I didn't have the time or the money to go to an amusement park.

So by that summer in 2013, life had greatly improved. I had some cash, I worked a good job, I lived just 90 minutes from Williamsburg. I was so excited to go to Busch Gardens with my sister, another thrill ride nut. Nothing would stop me from riding Alpengeist and Loch Ness and Apollo's Chariot and Griffon and their new coaster, Verbolten!

Well, except for my massive gut.

For at 290 pounds, and just at 5 feet tall, I was a round little pudgeball. And I was too fat to fit on those rides.

Most people don't know about the fat seats at theme parks. Even people on here, who are weight conscious, probably don't know--if you're only 20 pounds or so overweight, you don't know about them at all. But for those of us who are extremely obese, those of us who are double our appropriate, healthy size, like I was, you know about the fat seat.

Nowadays, because obesity is such a huge problem, a lot of theme parks have "test seats" outside the entrance to the big rides, so that "guests of larger size" (aka, us fatties) can make sure they can secure the restraints before they spend their time in line, only to be humiliated when the staff person tries in vain to squish the restraints over your fat rolls. Some of these test seats even have staff waiting to invite "guests of larger size" to try the seat out.

As my sis and I approached Alpengeist, I was startled when such a staff guy called out to me and invited me to sit down. "Me?" I thought, walking over. "I'm not that fat. This is silly."

But I was that fat. He couldn't close the chest restraint. "Sorry, this ride isn't safe for you," he said, not unkindly.

I was so embarrassed. I didn't get to ride anything--I couldn't fit in any seat. I was too fat. My sister, out of solidarity (or pity, probably pity), refused to ride without me. So I ruined not only my day, but hers as well. I wasted my mom's money on the pricey tickets. I couldn't have any fun. It was awful.

When I got home, I thought, "Wow. I really am pretty fat. I should do something."

It would take another year, and two more events to urge me to actually do something. But it was on my mind. I started thinking about it, weighing myself, looking through my clothes. 290 pounds. That really was a lot of weight. That was more than double what I should be! That was horrible! No one should weigh that much!

So last year, in June 2014, I finally took the plunge. I started eating right and exercising. I started slow, walking around the neighborhood. Then I joined a gym, and went six days a week. I completely changed my diet. Goodbye chips and cheetos, hello fruits and veggies. I cut out fast food. I ate three meals a day with a mid-afternoon snack. No more mindless munching in front of the TV, no more sleeping 10 hours every night. I dumped the poptarts for fruit smoothies. I swapped pizza for salads. I bought a good pair of shoes and walked everywhere. I took the steps, I parked at the back of the lot, I sweated and groaned and ached and worked hard.

Life changed. I lost my job and had to move to Alexandria. On a stricter budget, I couldn't afford a gym, so I started using my apartment's cruddy gym. I kept watching my food. I joined MFP and started counting calories. I joined a yoga studio and started going three days a week. Now that I was so close to DC, I spent my Saturdays and Sundays in the city, visiting museums and climbing all the monuments and walking several miles every day.

At the beginning of this summer, I bought a ticket for King's Dominion, which is about an hour away from home. I was determined to weigh 210 pounds by the time I went to that park.

This Sunday, I got on the scale. I weighed 209.8 pounds. I drove to King's Dominion.

I rode everything.

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I walked around the park from open to close, with no aching feet and no sore hips. No one invited me to try the "test seat". No one struggled to fit the restraints over my body. I sat down, easily getting my hips into the bucket seats. I pulled down the lap bars and vest restraints with ease. I swiftly buckled. Nothing was tight, nothing hurt. I could breathe easily. I could scream easily. I could ride everything.

I rode until my friend puked. I rode until I blacked out. I rode until I couldn't walk. I kept riding. I rode front row, I rode back row. I had my hands up, I swung my legs, I gripped the restraints, I screamed and I bellowed and sometimes I said nothing.

Now, I look like this:

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I have lost 80 pounds. My BMI has gone from 57 to 41. I've lowered my blood pressure. I have greater stamina and flexibility. I have arm pits and hip bones and wrists and ankles. I sleep better at night. I get full on less food. My cravings have diminished (but are still there).

I still have a long way to go, at least another 80 pounds. I'm still not very healthy. But I'm getting there, every day, in every way.

Next up: Sky diving.
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Replies

  • susanmc31
    susanmc31 Posts: 287 Member
    Awesome story! Good for you, you look great! I am a lover of thrill rides too and your story really resonated with me.
  • mousie1973
    mousie1973 Posts: 438 Member
    Wow!! Such an inspiration! I am the same as you (I am a bit taller 5'8") and i Started at 292... but same as you i haven't fit in roller coasters in years... my daughter is a HUGE Adrenaline junkie (at just age 13) she goes to 6 flags in NE a LOT with her friends.. I haven't gone in years... I refuse to go because i KNOW i wouldn't fit... I have now lost 24 pounds (down to 268) and I am getting closer to fitting.. I am Hoping by next summer I will be close to goal (goal is 170) I know i will be fitting then and I plan on going on roller coasters with her! and I also want to sky dive... but i have to be significantly less than I am now to do that!... Thank you for your sharing your story!
  • JediMasterNaw
    JediMasterNaw Posts: 124 Member
    Congratulations, that is such an accomplishment! Keep up the great work!
  • EllemRoberts
    EllemRoberts Posts: 4 Member
    This is an amazing post. Thank you so much for it. It's superbly written and hugely inspirational. I tend to be quite the misanthrope, but when I read something like this, I can't help but tear up a bit. Many of us will completely relate to letting ourselves go to pot, only to be shocked back to reality in some distressing way. I'm quite thrilled for you for your excellent progress thus far and your positive outlook and goals. I hope life continues to be an endless amusement park for you. Thanks for sharing!
  • ChristineE63
    ChristineE63 Posts: 105 Member
    Well done, you made me start cheering you on right from the start
  • TnTWalter
    TnTWalter Posts: 345 Member
    great job!
  • dramaqueen45
    dramaqueen45 Posts: 1,009 Member
    That is a great story- you are a great writer! Congratulations to you and I wish you all the success you deserve!!
  • Littlepeeper
    Littlepeeper Posts: 56 Member
    You are awesome! Your story got my happy tears rolling. I cannot wait for your skydiving smile! Great job!
  • Somebody_Loved
    Somebody_Loved Posts: 498 Member
    I love this. Congratulations!
  • queenliz99
    queenliz99 Posts: 15,317 Member
    edited September 2015
    I loved your story, thanks for sharing :) and congrats!!
  • Jimmie342
    Jimmie342 Posts: 56 Member
    I love your story so much. Thank you for sharing. This is what I look forward to most. Being able to ride the coasters. I haven't been able to ride in close to five years as well. Great job!
  • Maeleemooka
    Maeleemooka Posts: 19 Member
    Well done! Great post. I admire all your hard work before and post weight loss.
  • seomra
    seomra Posts: 69 Member
    Congratulations on all your achievements, very eloquent post-you should write!
  • agbmom556
    agbmom556 Posts: 694 Member
    Congratulations :)
    What a wonderful story of determination and success. I love it.
    Have a great time skydiving.
  • mizzzc
    mizzzc Posts: 346 Member
    What an amazing story! Good job!
  • LauraFincher
    LauraFincher Posts: 25 Member
    Congratulations! You look great, what a wonderful story!! Thanks for sharing.
  • Crochet180
    Crochet180 Posts: 57 Member
    Fabulous post and totally the right attitude.
  • sbrookes9
    sbrookes9 Posts: 445 Member
    Great story! Congratulations!
  • alltheweigh170
    alltheweigh170 Posts: 287 Member
    Beautifully written! You have a talent at writing. Congratulations! That is quite an accomplishment. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future.
  • chubbywolfe
    chubbywolfe Posts: 13 Member
    Wonderful job and best of luck on your fitness journey!
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