"I started my life at a fairly normal weight. I was never what you would call skinny but I was always healthy and about average. I have mixed genes in regards to weight with my mom's side being very thin and my dad's side having trouble with their weight.
As a child my parents always taught me the importance of moderate exercise and eating a balanced diet. I was involved in dance, and soccer and I loved to run around. Our meals were always proportioned right and we generally only ate food that was healthy.
When I moved out and went away to school, most of what my parents taught me was quickly forgotten and I spent most of my 20's either rapidly gaining or trying to lose weight. However, after I turned 30 my weight increased dramatically and I gave up trying to lose weight once and for all. My way of dealing with this weight gain was to throw away my scale and convincing myself that I was happy, looked OK, and that it didn't really matter that I was 40 pounds over weight.
In 2007 I weighed myself again to discover that my weight had reached 240 pounds! It was about that same time my mother confided in me for the first time that she was worried about how my weight was affecting both my physical health and mental well-being. I come from a family with a history of diabetes and heart disease and she was getting very worried about my life. It was then that I first started investigating surgical weight loss options as a solution to my problem. I soon discovered that this was not a quick fix solution and that maybe the benefits weren't worth what I would have to go through.
Over the holidays, I had gained even more weight and I was embarrassed to look at myself in the mirror any more. That is when I knew I was ready to do something about it but I didn't know exactly what to do. I knew I didn't want surgery, and I knew I couldn't do it on my own. I simply had too much weight to loose by trying another diet program again and my history of regaining the weight I lost, and more, was too great to risk to fail again. Finally, a friend told me about a medical weight loss program that really made a lot of sense to me. My friend Sally had been doing this herself and she looked great!
It was early in March 2008 when I began a weight loss program that finally changed my life for good. I began a program that was supervised by the most knowledgeable physician I had ever met. It took some time as you would expect, but looking back, it wasn't hard at all! I learned about a healthy diet and about supplements and nutraceuticals that were important for my body. I learned how my hormone deficiency played an important part of my weight gain, and I began to exercise for the first time in a long time! I now ride my bike and take walks around the park. I have more energy and can bike further than I could in the past. Before I knew it, I was feeling fitter and more energetic than I have in more than ten years. I still don't love to exercise and I never will, but it has slowly dawned on me that I feel better when I am fitter and that exercising doesn't mean I have to squeeze into my tights and run on the treadmill for an hour. I can just walk a little further with my dog Milo. I can go for a swim when it's hot. Before I knew it, I was actually getting fit!
Finally, I am down to a comfortable size 12 pair of jeans. It has taken me a while to realize I'm not overweight anymore. Sometimes I still look in the mirror and wonder if that person looking back at me is really me. The other day I saw an old friend I hadn't seen in a while and he walked right past me and didn't even recognize me. In so many ways my life is different. I am so much healthier, happier and more confident in myself. I bound through the day with energy rather than drag myself through the day waiting until I can get home and sit on the couch and watch TV. But in other ways my life hasn't changed that much, I still love a drink and to go out to dinner with friends (I just order an entree as a main course and skip the dessert), and I still like to eat ice cream on special occasions. The only difference these days is that I eat one scoop and not the whole gallon. My craving for huge portions of food has gone away I just don't want to eat that much anymore.
But the biggest difference to me is how I feel about myself. My glass isn't half empty anymore, it's half full. I really believe that I can do just about anything I put my mind to. I am looking forward to living the rest of my life as a healthy woman, not in fear of getting sick and being afraid of becoming more and more obese. Some of family and friends were afraid that losing so much weight would change who I am. They didn't know how I would deal with all of this change. But I am exactly the same person I was a year ago, I'm just happier, more confident, and I even smile a lot more than I did back when I was overweight, and of course there is a whole lot less of me. Thank you so much AMI! You really did listen and you gave me my life back."
- Sarah S. Atlanta, GA
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