I want to offer a special thanks to Kellie
McNaughton. Here is her story:
I just finished reading your latest newsletter. I just love
getting those from you. I thought you might be interested in my
story. I have been with you since the beginning of my journey, am a
member of your century club and learned so much from you that I
thought I would share my story with you.
My life changed September 30th of 2002. That is the day I had
gastric bypass surgery. I was 35 and weighed 300 pounds the day of
surgery. No one knew how much I weighed, not even my husband until
the very day of surgery. I still can't believe I weighed that much
myself. Somehow the weight just piled on and with everything going
on in my life at the time, the weight was not my biggest concern.
When it became my concern, it looked like an unbelievable obstacle.
At 5'11" I should weigh about 150-160 not 300. How was I ever going
to lose all that weight?
I had dieted most of my adult life. My weight fluctuated almost
constantly. I lost 80 pounds on several different occasions through
various diet and exercise programs, was a lifetime member of
Overaters Anonymous and I was always looking for the latest diet
pill that could transform me.
I had periods where I looked good but they were always short
lived. I always ended up gaining weight back and then being angry at
myself. The night before surgery I went through my closet and
separated my clothes by size. I sadly had every size ranging from 10
to 28. I had explored the option of surgery several times
throughout my adult life but never took it further than the initial
step. I hit rock bottom when my company closed down and I had to get
a new job. The stress of the new job helped me gain an additional 30
I was so heavy that even size 28 pants were tight. I was
miserable. I did not want to do anything. I had horses that I would
not ride, I had kids that I did not have the energy to play with
anymore like I should. I did not want to meet new people, and it
seemed like everything revolved around food. I knew I had a food
problem but I really did not know what to do about it.
I decided to look into weight loss surgery again. This time I
took it a step further than I had on previous occasions. I went
through the whole process of all the tests, the appointments, and
the appeals to the insurance company. I read everything I could find
on the surgery and what to expect.
My wonderful doctor performed my surgery on the
last day of September which to me will be forever etched in my
brain. That day is almost better than my birthday, it is at least
equal to it. There will never be a day that goes by where I don't
say or think kind thoughts about the man who changed my life
I felt I went into surgery well educated. I did not have very
much support from my immediate family because they were afraid for
me. My husband has always been my main supporter.
The surgery itself was nothing compared to learning to live a
different life. I lost 160 pounds and went from a size 28 (tight)
to a comfortable size 4. I had never been a size 4 and I am still
amazed when I hold up a pair of my pants. I shake my head in
disbelief that I can actually fit in those.
The journey has been one of self discovery. I am not sure anyone
can ever understand that except for those of us who are on the same
journey. I have learned more about myself in the last couple of
years. I have learned who I am. I have learned that I even have some
friends that really should not be friends at all. I have learned
that I compensated in many ways when I was heavy that I am not
willing to do now. Some will say that I have changed, that my
personality is different. Some would even say they liked me better
before. I say that they did not know the real me. This is the real
me. I am no longer afraid to speak up and say what I mean. If
someone doesn't like me it is because they just don't like me. I no
longer feel like they don't like me because I am fat. I am much
more self assured. I am just much much happier. For the first time
in my life I feel good in my own skin. My only regret is that I did
not have surgery sooner.
I have had problems. It has not been a picnic for me. I do throw
up often, usually because I have a terrible habit of eating too
fast. I have had to change the things I like to eat to the things I
need to eat. There are so many things that I can no longer have,
because it simply makes me sick. Any kind of sauce, such as pizza
sauce, BBQ sauce will make me sick. I can no longer eat a hot dog,
pasta is out, and so many other different things are out. There is a
trade off that is for sure.
I have continued to battle my food demons which always seem to be
lurking out there. I have had to find my new place in the world, in
society, within my family. Everything is different, different in a
good way but still different.
People do not understand what it feels like to be heavy. If they
did they would not be so quick to ask you all the time if you regret
the surgery. What is there to regret? Do I regret that it saved my
life, that it gave me back my life? That is what it did for me.
Having my surgery gave me an actual life. I had been heavy for so
long that I never got to enjoy the things as an adult that one
should. I never really went to the beach or amusement parks. I never
got to wear skimpy tops in the summer. Those were just some of the
things I never got to do. And now for the first time in my life, I
am able to experience so many things. That is tremendous.
There are a couple of defining moments that will forever be
etched in my mind.
1) The first time I rode on one of those amusement park swing
rides. I was thrilled when I could slip in and not worry about a
2) When I went to Rite Aide and got an ice cream cone and walked
down the street eating it and did not feel like everyone was looking
at me thinking that it was something I did not need.
3) The first time I was able to swing myself up on my horse from
the ground. This was something I had not done since I was a
teenager. God that felt good.
4) This is the best one...the first time I was
able to take out a pair of shorts, or pants or whatever and say, ďI
haven't worn this for a year,Ē and I could put it on and it fit.
Every summer I can fit in the clothes I wore the summer before. I no
longer had to buy a whole new wardrobe every season because I
outgrew the ones from the season before. For the first time
in my entire life my clothes would wear out or become outdated
instead of outgrown. That is the best feeling in the entire world.
There are so many other firsts, but these stick out for me. I
exercise just about every day. I usually run 3 miles a day and then
do weight exercises. I follow my doctorís orders without fail and I
never forget to take my vitamins. I have a hard time eating meat so
I am an avid protein shake drinker. I take care of my body now and
am thankful it has been kind to me with all the years that I have
abused it. I am an advocate of weight loss surgery. I am also an
advocate of healthy living. I try to teach my children how to eat
and why to eat properly as I would never want them to think or need
the surgery as an option. I agree....nothing tastes as good
as thin feels.....no truer words were ever spoken.
Thank God for doctors who are there to help
change lives. My doctor has been with me every step of the way. Each
and every time I have called upon him he has been there. It is in
his office that I was first offered your book. Your book was the
first book I ever read and one that I have re-read several times.
I thank you for all your dedication. I hope you know how many
lives you touch that you are not even aware of. You have given many
of us the courage to do what we have needed to do. Thanks for always
Lake Elsinore, California
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.