Its been quite a journey for these three weight loss success stories! All have struggled with their weight, many faced friends and even doctors who were unsympathetic and unsupportive. One woman was called “fat and lazy” by doctors while another was called “glazed ham” by her teammates.
Fortunately, all of these women have an incredible support system of family and friends who have encouraged them to keep trying. Combine that with their own determination to keep researching the best diets, exercise and weight loss solutions available, all of these women have succeeded in losing more than 100 pounds each! As a result, they all have stories, advice and inspiration to share! Whether its our 2nd place winner who went on to get a full athletic scholarship to our Runner up who weighed in at 430 pounds before deciding to “dance the fat away” with the help of her closest friends, we are excited to introduce and share the journeys of these amazing women with you.
1st Place: Meet Melanie
Her battle with weight started with PCOS (a disease that effects women- not being able to conceive, irregular periods, as well as weight gain, and hair loss). Because of this disease, her weight crept up, and she became increasingly more tired. She struggled to keep her weight down, without much success.
She spent many years and shed many tears going to doctor after doctor to seek help. But after she was told by a doctor that she was “fat, lazy and just needing to walk”, she stopped wanting to go to the doctors. Her condition worsened.
After 8 years, a doctor finally discovered she had a Thyroid disease, called Grave’s disease. Within days, Melanie had radiation on her thyroid and began medication. By this point her weight was 366 lbs (possibly more, because she refused to get on a scale).
Although she was active with her kids and ate well, weight loss was still difficult. She began researching gastric bypass, Lap-Band and other weight loss surgery options. Her insurance company said it would to take up to 2 years to get approved. That’s when she started researching doctors in Mexico.
Her family was nervous for her to go to Mexico for the surgery, but she was determined about having the surgery. She wanted to be around for her kids and knew that depended on losing the weight. She ultimately had Lap-Band weight loss surgery with Dr. Gonzalez of the VIDA Wellness & Beauty Institute.
“At first she could only walk one house, and back before she would get tired,” explained her husband, Marco. “But then she went two houses, then four houses… then she had her surgery. Everything went well, but her eating was a shock-physically as well as mentally. She had to be on a liquid diet for 21 days. But she was determined to succeed. She was back to walking… soon she was dropping weight and walking one block turned into walking a mile, then two. Soon you could see the change in her, she joined a gym and started working out almost every day, and her weight dropped by 100 lbs! “
Next, Melanie decided to get a breast reduction to help her with pain, and migraines. She opted to have the surgery with Dr. Quiroz of COSMED Plastic Surgery Center. “Now she is doing things that she has always wanted to do… like RUNNING! ” said her husband. “She also rode her bike 25 MILES! She has recently told me that she wants to get her body lift, and run a half-marathon. That is her goal. ”
Melanie’s husband went on to say that “She encourages people to keep working out, and eating healthy and continuing research to help herself and her family live life to its fullest. She will talk to anyone about her weight loss, and her struggles. She makes me want to be better too. She has helped me to lose 18 lbs. Encouraging me to eat healthier, and cooking some amazing meals. She is an amazing woman,mother,and most of all -friend.”
Stay tuned as we continue to share Melanie’s journey
2nd Place: Meet Amanda
The following is Amanda’s story, as told by her mother:
Amanda is what the old adage refers to as “good on paper.” She is driven, ambitious, smart, athletic as well as a devoted family member, dedicated community volunteer and compassionate citizen. To those who do not know her as I do, Amanda may seem to have it all. While she has worked very hard for everything she has accomplished, there is one area of her life where hard work has proven somewhat futile: her body.”
Growing up, Amanda was always the “big girl.” I tried very hard to convince her that being tall with a bigger frame was an attribute not a curse. An athlete all of her life I emphasized exercise over dieting because I wanted her to place her health above a number on a scale. In the year between ages 10 and 11, Amanda went from a flat-chested tomboy to carrying around DD sized breasts. Media flaunted women with big breasts, as being beautiful had no effect on Amanda. Because her breasts grew so rapidly, they were covered in deep purple stretch marks and caused her to wear several sports bras and uncomfortable minimize bras at all times. The large breasts made her feel even larger and out of place. As a 5’10 busty sixth-grader, Amanda became fodder for bullies. Most damaging was her father. My husband has an irrational fear of having “fat” kids. When Amanda was 7, my husband forced her to run to lose weight, punished her with exercise, and made her feel guilty about eating. Facing constant ridicule from her father only perpetuated her self-loathing, which lead to years of slow, yet steady weight gain.
Amanda received a full athletic scholarship to play softball in college, her commitment included daily practice, weight lifting, conditioning, tournaments every weekend, and a diet plan. Despite all of this, Amanda continued to gain weight. She was teased and berated by her coaches, teammates, and male athletes on campus who called her “Amazon Amanda” and a “glazed ham” when she sweat while working out. As a pitcher, every spectator was always watching her at her games. This attention made her feel even more self-conscious as ESPN has only highlighted players that are thin and petite. Because she did not fit this description, Amanda was called a “dyke” or thought of as mannish.
In an effort to quell these insults, she counted calories, kept a food journal, worked with a nutritionist, and consulted with doctors. She underwent metabolic testing, took prescription diet pills, and had her thyroid checked every six months hoping to hear it was sluggish—desperate to find a cause of her weight problems. Unable to find a reason or solution and weighing over 240 lbs, Amanda decided to research the Lap-Band in an effort to stop the inevitable future weight gain. Amanda was not unrealistic about the Lap-Band. In the three years after the surgery, her weight loss has been slow, but she has done it the “right way.” I am so proud of her long lasting commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Even though her softball career over, Amanda exercises daily and has completely revamped her eating habits. She eats cleanly, organically, and avoids foods that compromise her progress. She does not use her band as a crutch, but rather as a tool to curb her cravings for large portions and constant grazing.
Two years after working with the Lap-Band, and a loss of 50 pounds, Amanda had a breast reduction surgery with Dr. Quiroz that would change her forever. From the instant she awoke after the surgery, Amanda has had more confidence than I could have imagined. She still has some problem areas that were caused by her weight gain and subsequent loss, but the breast reduction made her really feel like her hard work was paying off. Plastic surgery has a way of fixing the past and forgiving your sins, so to speak, when you have made a long-term commitment of maintaining a healthy body. My daughter has made this commitment and I would love for her body to reflect how she feels and how far she has come in her journey.
Amanda is in her last year of law school in Oregon. Law school, like medical school, is one of the toughest endeavors a person can go through mentally, physically, and emotionally. Law students have high rates of addiction and obesity. Spending hours in the library, under constant pressure, really affects the minds and bodies of law students. Given Amanda’s history of weight problems, she was worried that law school may derail her progress on her body. Amanda broke the status quo. She continued to exercise, eat right, and lose weight. This demonstrates her commitment to her long-term health goals.
Many people believe that lawyers live decadent lives like those of lawyers in movies and on television. Realistically, this is a very small portion of the legal population. I am proud to say that Amanda will be going into public interest law, helping those who are poor, uneducated, and defenseless. This past summer she worked, for free, for a child advocacy group in the low-income areas of Portland. While this kind of work is emotionally enriching, attorneys in this area of the law are often paid less than schoolteachers. As Amanda’s student loans top $200,000, most of her small income will be paid towards the federal government. With the cost of plastic surgery often being prohibitive, I know that any surgical improvements on Amanda’s body may not happen until it’s “too late.” At 25, she has the chance to redefine herself before life and age takes its toll. Because of Amanda’s emotional history tied to her weight, her hard work on her journey to a long-lasting healthy life, and her future as low-paid advocate for others, I believe that Amanda deserves a little help in achieving a body that reflects what an amazing person she is.
Runner Up: Meet Megan
The following is Megan’s story, as told by her mother:
At age three, Megan was the size of a 6-year-old and she looked like one of those adorable Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. In elementary school her exceptional height and weight caused her to be mistaken for a teacher. In middle school and high school she reached her ultimate height and weight…6’1”, 430 pounds. These statistics could have devastated most girls in the throes of becoming a young woman, but not Megan… she stood tall and mighty. She beamed with inner beauty. She developed an attitude of determination to be successful despite her size. Finally, in her twenties, she proclaimed that she had a plan to lose the weight.
With the support of her friends, she decided to dance the fat away. It took over two and a half years, but she shed 130 pounds by rocking it on the dance floor. Men started noticing her beauty and she started to seriously date. Unfortunately, romance had its limitations. Her weight loss was accompanied by lots of unsightly, excess skin that folded on top of itself. Although she mastered the art of camouflaging it, she knew she needed surgery to match her body image with her self-image. Megan became the third generation in our family to turn to COSMED Plastic Surgery Center. She used her savings to go to COSMED where Dr. Quiroz performed a major “tummy tuck”. He removed enough skin to cover a basketball, tightened muscles and lipo-sculpted her mid-section. For the first time in her life, Megan’s amazing body matched her sparkling personality.
Ironically, two months after the procedure, she got pregnant. She gained weight. Now she weighed 373 pounds. Megan knew that this time dancing was not going to do it. Bariatric surgery was the answer.
Megan now weighs 230 and continues to lose. At 30, she is an example of how the stereotypic fat kid mustered up determination to change her life’s course. She eats healthy and exercises several times a week. The COSMED mid-section surgery has held up beautifully. But this weight loss has produced “bat-wings” and pendulous breasts. She is looking forward to continuing her journey with the help of COSMED and VIDA.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a weight loss story for our recent contest. With so many inspirational and moving stories, choosing the winners was a difficult task! We hope you will continue your journey with the help of friends, family and the COSMED and VIDA teams.
Stay tuned as we continue to follow all of our Weight Loss Success Stories as they take the next steps in their transformations with the help of COSMED Plastic Surgery Center and VIDA Wellness & Beauty Institute.