Body Image

I’m 36 years old, 5’5” tall, and weigh 161.0 lbs (as of 08/08/18). My starting weight was 219.2 lbs on 01/31/18.


So let’s get this straight. I have NEVER been a skinny girl. I have always had more hips, boobs, and butt than most in my age group, no matter what age I was. I was called “thunderette” by family members because I had thunder thighs. Out of all my friends I was always the bigger girl. I struggled for a long time with my self-image and because of that I continually struggled with depression. I would go through phases where I would think “if you don’t like it, don’t look at it” or “I’m healthy because I am active”. But even during those times, I would hardly look in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw.


As I got older I would lose weight but it was never in a healthy way. I would always give into the “factory default” for my body. Once the weight crept back on the depression would creep back too. I would end up eating what I wanted when I wanted and figured “whatever…I don’t care” but I did.


In my early 20’s, I got married and after a few years had gotten pregnant. Although I had a healthy pregnancy I ended up gaining a lot of weight. During my first pregnancy, I gained 80 lbs. My son weighed 10 lbs 3 oz at birth and I had a lot of that extra weight. I dealt with a lot of postpartum depression after my son was born. I didn’t leave the house unless I had to for the first four months after he was born. I lied to my OB telling him I was fine and happy when really I wasn’t. I hid from the world with my son. After the first four months, I had to go back to work. After losing about 30 lbs from my first pregnancy I got pregnant with my second and last child only a year after having my son.  My daughter weighed 10 lbs 3 oz (same as my son) at birth but I had again gained approximately 50 lbs. Again postpartum was a huge problem. After my daughter was born I was diagnosed with a hernia and ended up having surgery. It was after surgery that I was told that I had ventral and umbilical hernias. So essentially the front of my stomach muscles are patched with a mesh. It was after my daughter was almost a year that I was able to work again.


I had made a friend at the time who inspired me to try to lose weight and be active. Although our friendship didn’t last long, for other reasons, she helped to get me moving. It was then that I decided I wanted to lose and do it quickly. I chose the wrong way to go about it.  At about this same time I started seeing who I call my “fat doctor”. This doctor specializes in weight loss and weight loss management. After a few visits to him, he had offered pills to help manage my appetite if I believed that was an issue. Magic pills!!


Of course, I was going to say yes! If these could make me skinny bring it on.  So I tried the pills that he was suggesting, including Phentermine the “ok part” of Phen-Phen.  I also thought the other right thing to do to lose was to reduce my food intake because in my mind I thought if I reduced my calorie intake to less than 1000 calories a day… well, then I MUST lose weight that way.  And in a way I was right, using the pills and cutting my food intake, I lost about 20 lbs. But due to my lack of calorie intake, I wasn’t me. My brain wasn’t clear and I was angry… quite angry.


The weight that I had lost didn’t stay off.  After about 6 months I couldn’t take it anymore.  I couldn’t live with eating so little and taking pills that didn’t really help because they weren’t solving the issue. So I stopped taking the pills and started eating the way I had previously.  While I felt much better I gained the weight back and then some. It was after the weight came back on that my depression went into overdrive again. I say “If you don’t like it, don’t look at it” but inside I felt horrible. I felt obese.  


One day I decided I wanted to start running again.  I had heard that running or jogging could help reduce the effects of depression so I thought I’d give it a shot.  And it worked. My depression lessened but my weight didn’t really decrease. So I started building myself up to where I could jog a 5k at a time hoping for significant weight loss.  It didn’t happen. I decided to add going to the gym onto jogging and connected with a friend who convinced me to take a boot camp class. As it turned out, I loved it. Ok, I didn’t love it at first but I kept going and now I love it.  But even with all this activity, no significant weight loss.


A few years go by with no change in eating habit and no change in my weight or body shape then I make another friend at work.  We became very good friends. She began doing Medifast and lost quite a bit of weight and had been able to keep it off for the most part.  After many long conversations about how I want to lose weight but can’t afford to do the same Medifast she is doing we looked into other options.  After researching it for months and reading the “Atkins bible” I began the Atkins diet. It was hard in the beginning to shake the desire for food that I knew was bad for me but was cheap and easily accessible.  It was an effort to give up sugar. Truthfully it still is.  But once I started to see results, which was almost immediately, the desire for crap food wasn’t as strong.  It’s still there! Just not as strong… it’s controllable.


I don’t think of the Atkins diet as a diet at all.  I truly do think of it as a way of eating. I hope to make the weight I have lost stay off a lifetime and I know that I can keep it off if I keep to my way of eating and make it a way of life.

By Stephanie R

(This is part 1 in a series…stayed tuned)

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