Peggy: 221 lbs Weight Loss

Starting weight: September 2006 – 409 pounds
Current weight: November 2011 – 188 pounds

Starting dress size: 28
Current dress size: 12

My Weight Loss Success Story

Every Christmas when I wrote our family letter, I avoided including a picture since I didn’t want to see what I looked like. I avoided scales, didn’t eat right and didn’t make exercise a part of my life. The heavier I got, the slower I walked, couldn’t bend over to pick something off the floor and the arthritis in my knees got worse until both were bone on bone. My blood pressure was teasing high and my doctor put me on high blood pressure medicine. My blood sugar was teasing high and I didn’t want to become diabetic.

I had tried numerous diet plans for years. I would lose weight then put it back on. The typical yo-yo plan. I don’t have a good excuse for not taking care of myself. My husband David and youngest son Ken were diagnosed with Myotonic Dystrophy in 1998. Our oldest son Sean was clinically diagnosed a couple of years later.

There is no question in my mind, I am an emotional eater. I grabbed bread and butter, cookies, ice cream, basically anything that was fattening and tasted good. I filled my plate to overflowing and went back for seconds.

November 2005: I promised my husband David (on his death bed) that I would lose weight. He passed away on 6 December 2005 from Pneumonia and Myotonic Dystrophy. In early 2006, a church friend reminded me of my promise. A couple of other friends had been begging me to think about Gastric Bypass surgery.

In September 2006, I weighed 409 pounds. I was scared and our daughter Ashley was scared. She just lost her father and didn’t want me to die because of complications due to my morbid obesity. So, I called Kaiser and put my name on the waiting list for Gastric Bypass surgery (Rouen Y, not Lap-band). I starting attending required weight loss classes at Kaiser. I weighed 352 pounds the morning of my surgery, 23 July 2007. Kaiser recommended I exercise 30 minutes a day after surgery. My oldest son Sean helped prepare my high protein meals and we went walking in the baby pool the first week I got home from the hospital.

He held my hand because I couldn’t afford to fall in and get my incisions wet. We then progressed to attending water aerobic classes four days a week at Beck Recreation Center in Aurora. Once I was back at work, I would get up a five am on Monday through Friday, drive to Beck and swim laps for 30 minutes. I gradually increased my time to 45 minutes, then 60 minutes. I was losing weight, feeling good, off my blood pressure medicine and my blood sugar was now in the normal range. I was getting lots of compliments from family and friends. My daughter Ashley came up behind me and wrapped her arms around my waist. She said she was so proud of me and loved being able to wrap her arms around me.

Our son Ken hadn’t been well in years. In June 2007 (a month before my surgery), he spent a month in the hospital. Bottom line, his intestinal system was shutting down due to the Myotonic Dystrophy. As he declined, I stayed on track eating small high protein meals and exercising.

He was hospitalized on 15 March 2008 with a bowel obstruction. After it perforated, and underwent emergency surgery, he was left on the ventilator. His vitals were emergent and he couldn’t survive without the vent. To make a long story short, he was unweanable his lungs were too weak to breathe on his own due to the numerous times he had gotten sick with aspiration pneumonia. He was brought home from the hospital on 2 May 2008 on a ventilator. Denver Hospice provided a nurse, CNA and respiratory therapists. He was expected to live for 5-7 days. However, he fooled everyone and passed away 17 days later surrounded by myself, his brother, sister, family and friends. During all those weeks while he was in the hospital, I stayed on plan, swam when I could and started riding my exercycle. On 19 May 2008 my youngest son passed away and is now with his daddy (I forgot to mention, Ken was born on Father’s Day, 21 June 1987. We always called him David’s Father’s Day present). I weighed 199 pounds the morning he died.

His Memorial Serivce was held at church on 21 May 2008. I didn’t falter on my goal to stay on track until after the service. At the reception, I grabbed comfort food. Sugar cookies, brownie bites, etc. instead of protein. I went home and drank a big dose of Milk of Magnesia so I wouldn’t get sick with “Dumping Syndrome”. Good news, I didn’t get sick. Bad news, I didn’t get sick. Instead I got off track. I still exercised, but I didn’t stay on my high protein diet. Comfort foods were now being purchased and consumed. I gained, lost, gained a bit more, lost some of it.

In 2010 I underwent two plastic surgeries which resulted in a removal of more than 60 pounds of fat, tissue and skin. However, my weight wasn’t stable and I was gaining weight. I know I weighed more than the day of each plastic surgery. I weighed 253 pounds when I had a post-op appointment with my surgeon on 4 March 2011. I whined “I’m gaining weight!” My surgeon, Dr. John Grossman, handed me the brochure for the Clinical Nutrition Center (CNC) and said to go see Dr. Ethan Lazarus. I made an appointment and started on the Nutrifast plan (now part of the Modified Fast) on 17 March 2011. I wanted to get the weight off fast so I could have knee replacement in the summer. My knee surgeon wanted me to weigh between 180-190 for surgery.

I’m totally thrilled! I’m working out at 24 Hour Fitness with a trainer, swimming, walking and riding my exercycle. The weight is coming off, and I’m losing inches and ready for surgery.

I weighed 187 pounds the morning of surgery on 18 July 2011. Today is 5 November 2011 and I weighed 188 on my home scale so I’ve stayed fairly stable since June even though I would like to lose more weight. I actually bought a size 10 jean ( I never was a size 10 growing up. I skipped size 10 and 12). I also bought a couple of career suits ( I was laid off on 14 January 2011 due to reduction in force) in preparation for the potential interview. Good news, I did get an interview, but the day I interviewed my pants were falling off. Even though I haven’t lost any weight since I bought them a month ago, I’m losing inches. I had to take them in for alterations. Yeah!

I am having a bit of trouble staying in control of my meal planning right now.

The dietitians at CNC are so supportive. I called last Tuesday and said “Help me, I’m out of control”. My dietitian Susan & I talked, set a short term goal for this week and plan to weigh me on their special scales to check my BMI, muscle mass and percent of fat to muscle or whatever it’s called. We will then decide what my goal weight should be and which meal plan is the right one for me. I find if I don’t drink my 10-12 8-ounce glasses of water during the day, I tend to “grab” unhealthy food. Note to self “Drink my water and don’t go shopping at meal time”.

I’ve lost a grand total of 221 pounds since September 2006 which includes the 65 pounds (from March through June) I’ve lost with the help of the Clinical Nutrition Center staff. A big thank you to them and to my plastic surgeon for sending me to them. I know I will be continue to be successful. I’m very proud of myself and have more self-confidence.

I love the new me and am no longer afraid of the camera.

Best Regards,