Where do I begin? I’ve been morbidly obese my entire life, and I’m not kidding about that, I’ve been the heaviest child in my grade since 1st grade. I’m not sure why I kept gaining so much weight throughout the years, but finally, my senior year of undergrad, my doctor was doing my yearly physical and said, “Aubrey, you gained 90lbs this past year”. If that didn’t scare me, I didn’t know what could. Then, I was diagnosed with diabetes, put on rounds of medications, and still didn’t seem to understand that I was slowly killing myself. I think sometimes, weight is also a state of mind. I never felt “fat”, because no one ever made me feel fat. I was never the quiet fat girl in the corner, I had a lot of friends, homecoming court in high school, popular in college, I didn’t feel the social repercussions of being so overweight. After I graduated undergrad in 2013, I was accepted into some awesome Grad Programs, but my major was Vocal Performance, so a visual career, and most places made it known that my weight was going to keep me from getting cast in productions. I think that’s when I understood. It’s not like these programs were saying they’d cast a size 2 over my size 26 frame, they were saying a size 16, aka an average sized woman today.
So I didn’t go. I never thought the weight would come off.
It started to take a toll on my relationship when I opted on staying on the couch while Aly (my now Fiance) would go for a run, I didn’t even want to go for a walk outside, I’d be upset if she parked too far away from a store-forcing me to walk from the back of the parking lot. I was finally not myself, and I had hit rock bottom.
It was then, at 23 years of age, and 353lbs, I was approved for Gastric Bypass/ Weight loss surgery, and I never looked back.
October 7, 2014 is like my second birthday. It’s my “Surgiversary”, as we call it in the WLS (weight loss surgery) world. It’s the day I got my life back. Almost three years later, and I’m down 161lbs, I’ve completed many 5k’s, and in September of 2015, I completed a mini-triathlon. I cried the entire last mile into the finish line, just remembering the girl who used to live in this body of mine. My diabetes is gone, my cholesterol & BP are finally in a healthy range, and I’m not just watching my life from my couch, I’m out here living it.
I wish more people understood that my weight loss surgery wasn’t an “easy way out”. It was the hardest, most vulnerable thing I’ve ever been through. Losing an extreme amount of weight will not fix all of your problems. If you cannot learn to love yourself with or without the weight, you will never be happy. When you have 200lbs to lose, you might feel shame for losing control of yourself, your life, and your body. To admit you need surgical help can be so shameful. It shouldn’t be. I often say to people, don’t sweat how you get there, the end goal is health, and if you can find your own path, do it. Do whatever works for you. As someone who is so open on social media, there are always hateful comments or people lashing out, but you cannot sweat the smaller things, think of the big picture. I lost 161lbs with the HELP of gastric bypass, nutrition, and exercise. It’s my story, and I’m at peace with it. If anyone thinks it is an easy way out, I shrug and say, “sure, the easy way out of dying at 35”.
I’ve completely changed my life. I’ve gone from singing opera, to developing healthy recipes, cooking for private client families, and keeping myself active and happy- which is also a full time job haha, who knew. I often joke with my fiancé saying, “if someone told me three years ago that I would be here, that I would be this person, and look like this, I’d laugh at them”. In the wise words of Drake, “started at the bottom, now we here”.
At the end of the day, wether it’s about self development, health, weight-loss, whatever, it’s about knowing your worth, your value, claiming it, & working on it. Know that you have every tool in your basket to succeed and change your life today, anyway you want. You are already here. You are strong. You are so worth it.
Do it. Make the Change.