As a woman who has struggled with weight loss for 32 years, I know what being emotionally tied to your weight and size is all about. I know what it’s like to be out of breath after one or two flights of stairs or to be judged based on your looks. I also know what it’s like to be desperate for a change.
I grew up on my mother’s delicious and famous Georgian food. The food was endless and always high in calories. Wasting was not a word that was allowed in our vocabulary and we were constantly urged to “eat, eat.” Weight has always been a struggle for me, not only because I am a food-a-holic, but because I also happen to suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). One complication of PCOS is an imbalance in blood-sugar levels, which happens to also be a major factor in weight gain, weight fluctuation and difficulty losing weight.
As an adult, at 5’1 and 215 pounds, I qualified as obese. I was ashamed of my size and my habits. I tried to hide the fear I had of what my future would be like if I didn’t change my ways. Growing up, I was always the plump girl with the great personality, but for once I wanted how I looked on the outside to reflect the beautiful woman I was on the inside.
Eventually I realized that if I didn’t look out for my own health, no one would.
I tried a countless number of weight loss programs and exercise programs, and consulted several dieticians – nothing lasted. It was frustrating wanting something so badly, but constantly feeling like your best wasn’t good enough.
Weight loss is difficult. It’s not just about changing your diet but about changing your lifestyle. It’s many calculated decisions throughout the day for your whole life.
About a year ago, I started working as the clinic manager at a physiotherapy clinic. We were holding our first open house, working hard to put it together and promote it. All the practitioners were there to answer questions and offer free consultations, and I was there greeting potential clients and offering them additional information. It was a success and we were thrilled. Then I found out that during the open house one of the patrons had approached the owner to tell him that because I was overweight, I was a bad representation of the clinic. He suggested that perhaps my position shouldn’t be as public.
I was devastated. I was angry that he would dare to judge me without knowing anything about my skills and capabilities. On the other hand, what kind of an example was I setting for our patients when I hadn’t been successful with my own weight loss? As much as it hurt, I knew this stranger had a point and I made a promise to myself that this was the year I was going to take control of my weight. I started by meeting with a naturopathic doctor so that she could do a full assessment and set up a treatment plan for me.
I wanted to be healthier, but I also wanted to be a role model and to prove to myself that I could achieve my goals. With the help of my doctor I was able to lose 60 pounds, tackle my food sensitivities, increase my endurance, and reduce my BMI by more than 15%.
Today, seven months later, I weigh 158 pounds and am 13 pounds away from my goal weight. I work out five times a week. My friends tell me that I seem at peace with myself and at ease with my body. They say that my outside finally matches what my inside always was.