Miss Piggy, The Cow That Can Plow, Double D, Big Mac. These are some of the nicknames some of the kids gave me growing up. My own daddy dearest used to call me Boona. I considered them terms of endearment. They never bothered me because I never realised I was fat. I mean, I always knew I was bigger than the other girls but I didn’t really mind. I was happy anyway.
I was a big kid, a big-boned adolescent and an even bigger-boned teen. I’ve been fighting the battle of the bulge my entire life. When I was 12 I’d reached 5’5” and 135 lbs. My mother tried desperately to keep bad food out of my body but since my father had a sweet tooth it was always in the house. So, she took to hiding it around the house. I used to spend hours hunting for it when they were out. I’d find it, stuff my face and shamefully hide the wrappers behind the sofa or our big deep freeze.
By the time I reached 14 I’d stopped growing at 5’7” and reached 165 lbs. Like most teenage girls I didn’t get along with my mother. We fought constantly and I found refuge in the defiance I felt when I ate food I knew she wouldn’t want me to have. Thankfully I played a few sports so it never got too out of control.
When I got to high school a lack of confidence meant I no longer played sports at all. My relationships with boys were never more than friendships. My fear of rejection meant I made myself the best friend most boys could ever ask for. Before they ever realised I cared more than that I’d point them in the direction of one of my thinner friends. Eventually, I got bored and started an unhealthy yet short-lived relationship with a boy that toyed with my self confidence by expressing his undying (teenage) love for me in private but could never bring himself to behave as such in public.
When my father died in December 1996 I threw myself into school and socialising with friends. I drank more than I ate but I was too busy to care.
In March of 1997, a friend approached me to play rugby and helped me find something I was really good at. I trained every day, ate sparingly and managed to drop 20 lbs in 3 weeks; bringing my weight to 204 lbs – a good 30-40 lbs more than any of my friends. Despite my stature, I still felt fit and confident and enjoyed the attention I received as a result of my losses. I found ways to deal with my emotions over the summer that didn’t involve food but were equally as destructive. Sadly, I let my confidence get the better of me and really hurt some people I cared about along the way.
I went to university in the Fall of 1997 where I was finally completely responsible for myself. I spent a lot of time alone due to some housing issues and fell into a pretty deep depression. I stopped caring about how much I weighed. I stopped caring about a lot of things. It was nearly 9 months later but it seemed to hit me all at once that I was never going to see my father again. I did the best I could to cope with losing what I felt was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally.
By the following summer in 1998 I weighed 272 lbs. I yo-yo’ed each year after that with a pattern of losing 20-40 lbs each summer through exercise or Weight Watchers only to gain back every pound the following year.
In 2001 I weighed more than 290 lbs. To this day I’m not sure exactly how much I weighed because 290 was as high as my scale would go. This is when I first approached my doctor about weight-loss surgery. She ran some thyroid tests, put me on anti-depressants and advised me to try counselling and exercise. I never got counselling and I stopped the pills after a month. Then I met someone and we fell in love. I dropped 65 lbs in a little over 9 months. I stopped drinking, started cooking and never ate after 7pm. I was happy. I even lost weight when we broke up in 2005 but I steadily gained more than 40 lbs over 5 years.
In 2009 I tried a celebrity trainer and managed to get down to 238 lbs and was fitter than I’ve ever been. I enjoyed every sweaty, clean-eating minute of it but when I returned to Canada my London lifestyle wasn’t sustainable. With no income, no public transportation and no control over my meals I quickly fell into overeating with my family the way only my family does. I was unhappy and completely lost control. I dove head first into high-calorie instant gratification and indulgence. I gained 42 lbs in 8 months.
I can’t remember exactly when I made the decision to have lap-band surgery but it followed shortly after a family member had the procedure in January 2010. I was tired of losing weight and gaining it all back. I needed help. So I did some research and found Slimband.
On the 9th of April 2010, at 280 lbs with a BMI of 44 I started the process that brought me the tool I need to stop my vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain. This is my journey from the fatness to the fitness and everything in between.