I want to offer special thanks to Traci Stewart. Here is her story:
Iím writing this in hopes of helping someone out there who has given
up on life. That is where I was a short time ago. Here is my
In school I went from fat to thin to chubby. I lost 64 pounds in
the 6th grade and was a cheerleader in the 7th
thru 9th grades and then a pom-pom girl during the rest
of high school. Even during that time, I was not the skinniest
Once married I would gain weight and then lose weight. It seemed
like a competition, that I had to eat just as much as my husband.
After all we both worked. Didnít I deserve the same amount of food
as he did?
When I was expecting our first child I reached 200 pounds. After
he was born I did get down to 165 pounds. Then we moved back to our
home State. The stress of the move, looking for work, finding a
place to live, and taking care of a 6 month old all at the same
caused me to blossom back up to over 200 pounds.
Over the next 12 years I not only gained more weight but also
gained children. We now have 4 boys, ages 13, 10, 4 and 1. When the
4 year old was 6 months I opted to have breast reduction surgery.
My back constantly hurt and my shoulders had permanent depressions
in them. I went from a 48DDD to a 46C in less than 2 hours. It
helped my back but not my knees.
Up to then I had tried almost all the diets out there: Weight
Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim Fast, Fen-Fen, Xenical, smaller plates,
baby food, eating with the wrong hand. Nothing worked for very
long. Iíd lose until I stopped the diet then I would gain back plus
more. By the time the ďbabyĒ came along I was pushing 300 pounds.
We live in a doublewide mobile home and while I was pregnant I
could not fit into the laundry room to do laundry. I worked
full-time as did my husband so I had to rely on my oldest two
children to help out. I would sort and fold and they would fill the
machines and put clothes away. Shortly after the birth of our baby,
our 10 year old (he was 9 at this time) decided that he didnít want
to live with us anymore and devised a suicide plan. The counselor
said the only thing that saved him that day was the fact that I
chose to take him to school. The counselor also said that this was
my entire fault. I was too fat to take care of my children and with
my son only being 9 he was too immature to handle the
responsibilities of being a parent.
During this time my 13 year old decided that I was favoring his
brother and now HE had to do all the work. He even told me to ďget
off my fat ass and do it myselfĒ at times. I donít need to tell you
that I was just taken back by these words. You know the cartoon
where their jaw hits the floor and their eyes pop out? Well that was
me. His counselor said that it was his way of shaking me up because
he was worried about me and felt I needed to take charge.
This all lead to a deeper depression for me. I was beginning to
think that if I were out of the picture then everyone would be
happy. I didnít want to go anywhere; all I wanted to do was stay in
bed with the covers over my head. I couldnít go up or down stairs.
I would sweat all the time. I even had trouble cleaning myself. I
couldnít go to my friendsí homes or to parties because I was afraid
I would break their chairs and people would say how fat I was.
People were never outright rude to my face but I can read lips.
Besides when you hate yourself as much as I did you just know that
everyone is talking about you. I even had a hard time fitting in my
own car seat much less using a seat belt.
I was 38 years old but felt 68. My knees and back hurt all the
time; I thought I would be in a wheelchair by the age of 40. I felt
so alone. I didnít want my children to end up with my
mother-in-law, so I decided to do something about it.
I work with a gal who has spent the last two years losing 50
pounds. I totally believed that if I took that
long to get myself able to be a mom again; I would only have
three boys left. I really thought that if I didnít do something
very soon the oldest would be in jail for hurting or killing the
younger one; or the 10 year old would run away or commit suicide. I
love my boys! I wanted and still want my boys, so I decided
to fix myself, permanently.
I started researching weight loss
surgery. My mother-in-law had intestinal
bypass surgery 15 or 20 years ago and is still fighting with her
weight. But, I thought that in that amount of time the medical
profession should have made some improvement. I found a local
doctor, who does weight loss surgery, however, not
laparoscopically. I made an appointment with him and we talked
about why I was pursuing this. I had my surgery scheduled for that
next month. I was scared, happy, excited, anxious, and fearful all
at the same time.
That was 9 months ago and I havenít looked back. Iím down 111
pounds and feel GREAT. Iíve gone from a tight 28/4x to a loose
18/L. My 10 year old has said more than once lately that he has
never seen me play as much as I do now. I actually play with the
boys now! I play tag. We go on walks and hikes together. I play
in a playground, actually play not just sit
and watch. I slid down a slide last week and I even rode a bike! I
havenít done either in over 25 years. I love life again and most
importantly, I still have all 4 of my wonderful boys!
I didnít mention my husband much in this but I want to say that
he has been my 100% supporter thru all of it. We shared our 16th
wedding anniversary this year and are currently planning our new
house together. We will be moving this September. He loved me when
I was fat and he loves me now. He is my best friend. He is a great
father and husband. Iím so blessed to have what I have.
I know there are people who have complications with this or any
surgery. Some even die. I am truly blessed. I have had no major
complications, I have a wonderful family and I get to move into a
new house this year. I credit my weight loss surgery for a large
part of this. Without it, I would not have the energy to be a mom
much less move into a new house. Sometimes I
wonder where our lives would be if I had not had the surgery.
Well, I donít want to go there.
I just want to say, ďDonít give up.Ē Do your research and no
matter what way you choose to get on the losing side Ė do it.
Life is worth living not just watching.
I am getting a little short of success
If you have considered writing yours,
please send it to me along with your before and after
pictures. If you have submitted your story in the past and it
hasnít been printed, please resubmit it. It may very well
have gotten lost in the shuffle!!
I love good news. If you have good news, a
success story to share, or inspiration,
please send it to me at
Barbara@WLScenter.com so that I can
include it in future issues.