Morbidly obese, but otherwise healthy

Seeing the words in black and white in my medical report felt like a punch to the stomach. I was 25 and morbidly obese.

Of course, I knew I was overweight. This wasn’t something new. I was on Weight Watchers® in the sixth grade. Finding a flattering dress for a special occasion would invariably end with me crying in the dressing room of the plus-size store. Flying to visit my family was uncomfortable as my “seat” was wider than the plane seat.

And yet I did nothing about it. My family had tried to help me — my mom and I tried Weight Watchers, while one of my brothers took me out to play tennis and learn how to golf. I wasn’t motivated to change though. I was happy with myself and my life and when I wasn’t, I had learned how to fake it.

I had always hoped that there’d be some medical reason for my weight. Maybe I had a thyroid problem. Maybe I was just meant to be a larger person, as if it were part of my DNA. My aunts and uncles were big, so maybe obesity ran in my family.

My weight problem wasn’t genetic or the result of some hormonal imbalance. Bottom line, I was overweight because I didn’t exercise and ate too much bad food.

But seeing “morbidly obese” tied to my name at the age of 25 finally lit a fire in me. I was motivated to change my life, to stop being just the girl with the pretty face or the funny one of the group.

The first step I took was the scariest — I joined a gym. I started walking for an hour four days a week at the local YMCA. Then, I realized it wasn’t so scary. There were lots of people there of different shapes and sizes. I’ve never looked back. I kept going to the gym, increasing the number of days, distance, and intensity of my workouts. Now I’m running and taking classes at the gym almost every day of the week.

A 10-pound weight loss became 25 which became 50, and finally 130 pounds. That’s right, I lost an entire person over five years! Each time I lost another five or 10 pounds or had to buy new and smaller clothing, I felt so proud and even more committed to this new active life.

I now have the life I never knew I could have as an obese 25-year-old. All of this was possible because I saw the truth in my doctor’s report.

Have you ever faced a turning point where reality finally hit you in the stomach? What did you do about it?

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About Sarah

I’m a senior communications specialist at IBX. I’m passionate about weight loss through fitness and healthy eating. I stay active by walking, running, and going to the gym. I also enjoy hiking with my dog along the Wissahickon trails.

10 thoughts on “Morbidly obese, but otherwise healthy

  1. Thanks for this, Sarah. I am within normal weight, but knew it would be best to lose a little bit at my age (I gained 20 pounds a few years ago due to medication, which I am now off). I very recently went to a nutritionist, who really set me straight on my eating habits. I sincerely thought I was doing pretty well, but learned I am not getting enough nutrients. She also wants me to add strength training to my usual walking. I think a convergence of losing my husband, turning 40, and finding out about a couple medical issues these past few years got me really off track with diet/exercise. I’ve now decided at 43 I want to be the best me that I can be!

  2. Sarah, your story continues to be a huge inspiration to me in taking the healthy steps I need in my life. I love that your transformation begin with one moment of clarity followed by finding ENJOYABLE and SUSTAINABLE ways to change your life. Being healthy should never be a pain!

  3. Sarah — Your story and what you have accomplished is nothing short of amazing. You continue to inspire and impress me! Thanks for sharing your incredible journey — I know it will inspire others.

  4. Great story Sarah. Congrats on your success! My “oh no” moment came when the doctor told me I had Type 2 diabetes. Good news is he recommended a diet and I lost 40 pounds and am controlling the diabetes. Now I just to get myself to the gym…

  5. Your story is an inspiration! You took control of your life and made something positive happen for yourself. That is no small accomplishment. I’ve been struggling with my gym attendance even though I know that – once I get there and get done – I feel great about myself. I only wish I had brought my sneakers today.

  6. Thanks Sarah for sharing your story. I needed to read your story at this point in my life. I will be 30 next year and I am trying to get fit for myself and my family. I am 230lbs which is 3 pounds from my highest pregnancy weight in 2008. I felt hopeless but your story proves that losing a large amount of weight can be done if I am patient, dedicated and determined like you.

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