Monday, July 22, 2013


Hi, my name is Shannon. All my life I've been overweight. By the time I was 28, I weighed around 300 lbs. (I'm 5'4" tall.) But about that time, I started a new job, got settled into a routine, and started going to Weight Watchers. I lost about 80 lbs and felt great. I felt more confident than I had felt in a long time, loved my job, I was happy. And then...I found out I had uterine cancer. So at the age of 31, I had a total hysterectomy, chemo, and radiation. I became depressed -- not suicidally depressed, just crying a lot, for no particular reason depressed. I ate, and ate, and ate, and, big surprise, within two years had gained back all of the 80 lbs I'd lost, and another 20 or so besides. Off and on over the next few years, I tried to lose weight, with varying amounts of success, but every pound I lost, I eventually regained, usually with a few extra for good measure. 

About a month ago, I started Medifast. I started at 337.1 lbs, and at my last weigh in this past Wednesday, I weighed 317.9 lbs, for a loss of 19.2 lbs. Obviously, I'm happy about losing this much so far, but I have a long way to go, not just to lose the weight, but to figure out what it means to me to be healthy and happy and how to achieve and then maintain that.

I have spent so much of my life overweight, and then obese, that I don't really know what a healthy, happy me looks like. Part of what I want to do is figure that out, to really begin to be able to picture my life as someone who isn't always tired, and isn't nervous going to new restaurants for fear they'll have chairs with arms on them and I won't fit. I've always wanted to travel, but the thought of trying to go anywhere on an airplane is mortifying -- I don't want to be singled out as that one person who doesn't fit in the airplane seat, or has to ask for the seatbelt extender, or even just the one that everyone looks at and thinks, oh, god, I hope she's not sitting next to me. 

So, anyway, that's a little about where I am now. Here's what I'm planning for the future:  My plan at this time involves staying on Medifast for a year or so, hopefully losing 100 lbs or a little more. I will be discussing with my doctor exactly how long I stay on the plan, and due to some concerns because of my history with cancer, I'm choosing mostly the Medifast foods that are not soy based. At some point, when I'm ready to start moving off of the Medifast plan, I will follow their transition and maintenance program, and then, I hope to do something akin to clean eating -- a lot of natural foods, not so many processed foods. I'm not sure on the details yet, part of what I'm going to spend the next year doing is looking into what seems most do-able for me, post-Medifast. I see Medifast as a good way for me to take my focus off of food for a while, learn that it's okay for me to actually experience unpleasant emotions without turning to food for comfort, to boost my confidence by helping me to achieve my weight loss goals, and to help me gain the energy that I need to be more active. After just one month, I'm already feeling better. Although I doubt that the weight loss is enough for anyone to notice yet, I can tell, and it makes me very happy when clothing that used to be skin tight is starting to be more comfortable. I'm also enjoying having more energy. It's probably hard for people to imagine how tiring everything is when you're hauling around over 100 extra pounds, but even the simplest things can leave me needing to sit and rest. 

I plan to post at least once a week, to check in when I weigh in every Wednesday. I hope to also post about weight-loss related reading that I'm doing (currently I'm working my way through Dr. A's Habits of Health and the associated workbook, Living a Longer Healthier Life, both by Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen), and because I firmly believe that health and happiness are related, and that both depend on a lot more than what you eat and how much you exercise, there will probably be posts relating to other matters as well. My goal is truly not just to lose the weight -- although I'd be lying if I said the thought of wearing cute clothes instead of tents didn't excite me -- but to also be healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Thanks for reading!

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