At 18 I weighed 275 lbs.
By 21 I lost over 120 lbs. following my own clean diet and exercise plan
This, truly, is what my life until now has been based on.
I ‘m going to tell the story from where it began, at the period of time life began to tighten its grasp on me. I was an adolescent —around 13 or 14 —and in junior high school. Up until this point I was a good student, not extremely popular but I had a personality that was infectious; people loved to be around me simply because I loved being around them. When I began dealing with the pressures of my peers I slowly discovered I was no longer the center of attention nor was I the most loved. School began to fill up too much of my life in a negative way. I began to act out and gradually became very untrue to my character; I lost myself somewhere between 7 th and 12 th grades. I was starved of the attention and friendships I didn’t know I craved or depended on for identity.
This time began the demise of my short life. I became mean and very displeased with myself and the world around me. I had given up on who I had the potential to become. I evolved into an overwhelming force whose driving purpose was to protect myself from hurt by any means. This meant isolating myself and striking at others before they had a chance to strike at me. This almost made school bearable. My family didn’t understand the transformation but they accepted it.
My life now revolved around my appetite. Food became my friend and I ate the same way I acted – like I didn’t care; if I saw it and wanted it – I’d eat it. Food was the only thing I turned to, without any conscience, for the happiness I had lost. I never realized how out of control I was, even when I preferred shopping in the men’s section for bigger clothes.
By 11 th grade I needed to buy men’s size forty jeans. I had long ago stopped buying girly outfits and traded in never-worn-before heels for Timberland boots. I dressed in clothing that was out of the ordinary for a girl my age; baggy jeans and oversized shirts. At first I dressed like this to match my new persona but after a year or so I had no choice. I was ashamed of the weight I had gained and the rolls of fat I had obtained in such a short time. At age 17 I weighed 275 lbs.
High school changed my opinion of myself drastically and I was deeply depressed by the end. Nonetheless I had strong backing from my family and was determined to make them proud. I went to college – not a traditional one, I enrolled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh at 17.
That became the best decision of my life to date. I was able to be myself there, I was thrown into a pool of outcasts, and prior to attending I knew I would be.No one judged me and I didn’t feel a need to judge anyone else. At this stage in my life I focused on myself , work and my art. With all the issues I still had, I was able to appreciate myself a little more; I felt like I was accomplishing something. I didn’t need to pretend I was someone I wasn’t anymore.
I can’t exactly pin point when, but between 19 and 20 I began to lose weight. Whether it was from depression or something deeper within, it became a good thing, the negative became positive. Again focusing on myself, I began to make miraculous strides. I began eating the things I thought to be healthy and cut out all the things I knew to be unhealthy. I eliminated all fast foods and drank water constantly. By the time I was 21 I almost had my bachelor’s degree and I had lost over 100 pounds through my own diet and exercise plan. This truly, was what my life until now has been based on.
After the weight loss and the gain of confidence there came a point when I decided to take things a step further. Where my body was concerned I was still perplexed; with clothes on I was a size 8 and a 36DD. With clothes off, I had stretch marks and saggy skin everywhere. I now had life-long traces of who I had been and what I had let myself become. The next step was to do something about my bothersome look. I decided my most disturbing body parts were my breasts; going from a 44F to a 36DD had lasting effects, I wanted a reduction and maybe a lift. This was around the time that I began routinely working out. I thought that going to the gym daily would give me more tone and I worked hard to reduce the flab. This was to no avail; I once again felt my attempts were in vain. I thought this until I saw the plastic surgeon who helped to complete my transformation.
Another new me
When I went for my initial consultation about a breast reduction the doctor looked over my whole body and saw what I’d become. Two years after the weight loss this was the first time I had realized what I had done to myself and the effect it would have on the rest of my life. The doctor explained the issues of the skin and why the gym wasn’t working. He suggested my surgery go beyond the breast reduction. He offered the body lift; this procedure would put me closer to where a 22-year old’s body should be. After much depression and thought I decided this one time opportunity would effect the rest of my life. Filled with anguish, I made my decision; I went through with the surgery. The entire 10 hour procedure was filmed for a documentary show on the Discovery Health Channel.
I have spent a great deal of time recovering all that I had lost—all the confidence and missed opportunities. The entire experience has made me a much stronger person and has skyrocketed the goals I set for myself, personally and within my career. After the successful surgery, the Discovery Health Channel offered me media time.
I was given the opportunity to film a few commercials and appeared in a plethora of magazine ads promoting the show and my weight loss success. This was only the beginning, the buzz led to more magazines features and even a few talk show spots including The View.
I moved to New York City at 25 to begin my professional career (as a web & multimedia designer), that same year I obtained a Masters Degree in Writing.
That’s not all
Weight loss has not consumed my life entirely. My career has flourished here in NYC. I put as much into it as I did loosing weight and now maintaining it. I’ve designed for some of the biggest media companies in the world and had many opportunities to brand start ups. Currently I work full Time as the Multimedia Web Designer for New York & Company – I touch every piece of creative on the site !!!- (no small feat). Add me on Linked In! Just AS important I have also began to pursue what I call my “Life’s Work” – Inspiring Health & Mental change to youth and women through mentoring and writing.
And of course – Now, I’ve started this blog…
In 2014 I was honored with the opportunity of a lifetime for a second time, I was asked again to be featured in People Magazine. The 1st time was in 2005 (see above). I was featured as an ALL STAR in PEOPLE MAGAZINE’s “HALF THEIR SIZE” ULTIMATE DIET GUIDE. The edition lived on newsstands for 4 months, another accomplishment under my belt and also a tangible reminder of the work I still need to do and the people I have obligated myself to reach. See the full post here.
These last few years my life has been truly blessed and such a surprise. Each day I wake up ready to take on whatever challenge awaits me. I am excited about the person I am becoming and incorporate my refined way of life into everything I do… and… hopefully every person I meet.