Get serious for your future family’s sake
Courtesy Lindsay Shenk
When my husband and I had difficulty starting a family after trying for five years, I decided to see a fertility specialist. I was well over 400 pounds at that time and he told me there was nothing he could do for me until I lost weight.
My aha moment: After hearing the doctor’s news, I received an unexpected pregnancy announcement from a family member. That announcement broke me, but I also credit it with finally giving me the kick in the butt I needed. It made me realize if I ever wanted a family that I needed to do something a little more drastic. I’ve been overweight my whole life, and I’d tried every diet from Weight Watchers to South Beach. I decided to get a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and it has completely changed my life. Since January 2016, I have lost 220 pounds. A few years back, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which makes losing weight very difficult. At the time, I had considered weight-loss surgery, but I was worried people would judge me. It wasn’t until I wanted to start a family and couldn’t do so without intervention that I really got serious. Losing weight isn’t just about eating right or exercising. It’s about finding a balance between the two, and setting attainable goals. Start with small goals and celebrate your progress along the way. For me, accountability is key, I use social media to keep myself accountable for what I’m eating, ensuring I’m exercising and doing weekly weigh-ins. My husband and I are still hoping to conceive! —Lindsay Hackman Shenk, 34, PA, human services program specialist
You can always lose again
Courtesy Meredith Pileggi
When I was younger, I longed to be skinny. I’ve weighed as much as almost 200 pounds, and I’ve been all the way down 120 pounds—two entirely different looks on my 5’5″ frame. My most drastic period of weight loss was my senior year of college when I was 22. I spent all my free time at the gym running, lifting, you name it. When I saw the number on the scale start to fall, I got overzealous and cut back on food, sometimes eating less than 1,000 calories a day. This was terrible for my body, but everyone just continued to tell me how great I looked, and that reinforcement made it really difficult to stop.
My aha moment: When I met my husband, I snapped back to reality. I found someone who loved me for who I was. I no longer felt I needed to prove anything to anyone regarding what I looked like, so I started eating and before I knew it, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. At 185 pounds, I decided to get my eating habits under control for good. After getting serious about my weight, I found out that I have Hashimoto’s disease, a form of hypothyroidism, which makes it difficult to lose weight. After getting my hormonal imbalance under control, my weight was easier to manage. Some days I drink wine and eat pizza, and some days I have salad and water. Chasing my three-year-old daughter and caring for my four-month-old son is really all the cardio I have time for. As a mom with two children, I no longer care about being thin as much as I value being healthy. It took me thirty years to realize that weight gain isn’t a life sentence. When it comes to weight management, you never run out of opportunities to try again. —Meredith Pileggi, 30, PA, mother and teacher
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