I am not a health professional or expert in any field, nor am I giving professional/expert advice in this (or any) article on Fiery, but Mostly Peaceful Sara. All advice is anecdotally based on my own experience and research-based knowledge. If you need medical advice, please consult your personal physician.
I stared down at the scale beneath my feet as the digital numbers on its screen flashed, indicating it had settled on my current weight. “164.8lbs” was an unexpected weight to see that morning, causing me to let out a gasp in surprise.
“I lost one hundred pounds,” I thought to myself before tears of joy suddenly flooded my eyes, spilling down my cheeks, and crashing on the monumental weightloss presented on my scale’s screen. I finally did it. I lost one hundred pounds. Holy guacamole, Batman.
If anything can be said of the year 2022, it is that it has been a year of positive change for me. As the lifestyle changes I started making in October of last year became increasingly visibly apparent, I have constantly been asked how I lost the weight.
Everybody is curious to know what I’ve been doing over the past year to make such positive physical transformations to my body. This special breakdown discusses my previous weight gain, weightloss journey, and reaching my 100lbs weightloss goal!
My Brief Backstory
Growing Up Fiery
I was an athletic tomboy for the majority of my childhood; you kind of had to be strong and swift growing up in such an active family like mine. I played basketball through elementary school, with no intention of stopping before the WNBA when puberty triggered Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis—stunting my growth from the age of ten at 5’4″.
Age ten was also when I started having my first issues with unwanted weight gain because the faulty thyroid gland messes with all kinds of hormones, resulting in severe fatigue, weight gain, and an inability to lose weight. That, on top of rapidly becoming too short to be the fantastic rebounder I was, ended my basketball career early.
Being a head taller than my peers meant I always weighed more (and wore larger sizes) than my friends, however, unfortunately for little me, I developed years before them, causing me to be extremely conscious of my weight. No one else had boobs, and I was already a D cup by the time I entered high school!
Nevertheless, I was determined to remain active. My buddies and I biked everywhere. Every day from age 10 to 16—we rode our bicycles, miles and miles, all over Orange County, California, where I grew up. Wherever our destination was, it would likely involve more physical activity, and we could easily ride tens of miles a day.
As I’ve written about in My Gardasil Horror Story, I was vaccine injured by the Gardasil HPV vaccine when I was 16 years old, and it changed my life forever. I swiftly developed a myriad of chronic health problems, including but not limited to Fibromyalgia, arthritis, narcolepsy, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and more, that caused more fatigue and a substantial amount of pain.
Marriage, Children, and Divorce
I was my happiest with my body when I got married in 2009, weighing about 145 lbs at age 19. I remained that weight until a couple of years later, when I was pregnant with my daughter. I gained about 40 lbs with that pregnancy, lost some of that, and then gained something around 75 lbs by the time I had my son two years later!
My marriage was abuse-filled, and though I fiercely opposed divorce, I eventually realized it was necessary, and left my husband; moving back to California to live with my parents. The misery of the past years had physically manifested, and I was at my heaviest (and unhappiest), thus far in my life, at the time.
I turned to the gym for my healing, and became a full-fledged gym rat—spending six days a week, one to three hours a day, at the gym. I was losing weight and gaining confidence; I even rode a marathon on the stationary bike as my warm-up by the time my brain disease hit in 2015.
Once it got to the point where I passed out on the stationary bike from the increased pressure inside my brain, I had to put a full-stop on my gym-going and working out for years.
My Brain Disease and Surgery
I spent 2015 to 2017 extremely sedentary. I was in constant agony from the undiagnosed rare brain disease that was putting pressure on my brain from the inside.
Every second of every minute of every day for two and a half years was spent in overwhelming anguish. I felt like I had a vice squeezing my head, a “headband of pain,” and like the base of my skull was being beaten by a sledgehammer the entire time. I eventually got to the point where I wanted to die, but my children kept me alive.
Long story short, I ended up doing research and diagnosing myself, got a PPO (better health insurance), and sent myself to a neurosurgeon to request the spinal tap necessary for diagnosing me with pseudotumor cerebri (also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension). By this time, I had gained over 80 lbs.
I required brain surgery as soon as possible and had a VP shunt installed in my brain within the next month, on January 6th, 2017. I woke up from the surgery and wept because I forgot what it felt like not to hurt as I had for so long.
Post-Brain Surgery to Now
It feels as though I have lived an entire lifetime in the five years since my brain surgery, but I am going to skip over most of the details, and instead focus on the weight-related issues.
I remained within a weight range of about 220 lbs. to 235 lbs. for most of the time period from the surgery to 2020. I had back issues, nerve damage from a bad spinal tap, my fibromyalgia and arthritis were out of control, and my thyroid was off. Losing weight was consistently a losing game for me.
That all changed with the help of two amazing doctors I found when we moved to Texas.
- I got a psychiatrist interested in having me on the fewest, most fitting medications; which meant getting me off of a myriad of pharmaceuticals I had acquired at the hand of other doctors over the years.
- I got a pain management physician who wanted to help me in addressing the root causes of my pains that were holding back my life; which meant cauterizing nerves and enabling my mobility.
Unbeknownst to most, I reached my highest point of desparation last summer, and I decided to get the gastric sleeve (similar procedure to the “lap band”), and although I did every prerequisite for the surgery, went to every appointment, and even had the procedure authorized by my insurance, before deciding at the last minute to pull-out, and attempt the weightloss on my own one last time. I am so happy I made that pivitol decision the way I did.
How I Lost 100lbs
Now that we got that out of the way, we’ll get to the real meat and potatoes you came for. How the heck did I lose 100lbs??
•No processed foods
•I’m usually hungry once a day, so I have a yogurt with my morning meds/vits, occasionally eat a small meal at 3pm, and fruit/veggie if I’m hungry between, and dinnerwith the family.
My weightloss journey began October 1, 2021, following the cauterization of nerves damaged by a bad spinal tap; once my back was fixed up enough that I could actually get my body moving, I started walking every chance I could get!
When I started last October, I could barely surpass 500 steps in a day! The first lifestyple change I made was my first step goal—1k steps. Every time I reached my step goal for seven days in a row, I increased it by 500 steps. It seems like an easy feat, but with over 100lbs of excess weight, it was extremely difficult to even get to the point of taking 1,000 steps in a day. I was even embarrassed of my inability to get moving as much as I felt I should be able to, but I maintained the smaller increases in steps to make certain of my ability to conquer each one!
As the pounds melted off, reaching my new step goals became easier and easier, but the first 6 months was definitely a challenge, to say the least. I began to surprise myself when Summer break arrived in May, when I would take my children to summer daycamp at a lake, and get the urge to walk around the lake! By the end of their camp, I was going around it after I dropped them off and before I picked them up, each day! Amazingly, these days, I get upwards of 10-15k steps without trying every day!
People are always asking me questions along the lines of, “Are you doing Keto,” or “What diet are you on,” and are shocked when I tell them that I didn’t follow any diet plan, calorie count, or the like. Honestly, I never fancied the idea of “dieting,” always preferring simply calling it making a “lifestyle change.” I don’t live a life restrained by any diet’s guidelines. I simply decided that I had to actually begin consitently making good choices.
The reason I don’t “diet” is that I personally believe a large number of people who do “diet plans” tend to feel either deprived (leading to “cheating”), or they treat their diet as though it is a mere temporary means to an end (leading to weight gain after a goal is acheived). I wanted genuine changes, which would inevitably require me to make genuine changes to my entire lifestyle. However, unlike with a diet, if I really want a special dessert, I’ll have it; I simply don’t get cravings for sweets and things anymore!
I think not being on “a diet” is helpful for me to avoid feeling deprived of anything; when people feel deprived, they tend to cheat (and more often than they realize usually). Others will give up for a day or weekend or for good because they feel like they failed; sabotaging themselves.
I do not count calories, macros, carbs, etc, but I do make sure when I eat I have a well-rounded meal. I eat a lot of vegetables, such as brussel sprouts, asparagus, beets, carrots, and more; and try to make that the biggest portion of any meal. Fruits are eaten less often, but have become almost a sweet treat for me. Protein has always been difficult for me because I have an aversion to most meats, but I have really worked on upping my protein intake, and supplementing it when necessary.
Balance is vital to good health; almost as important as altering my view on food from something tasty that I enjoy savoring, to treating food as fuel to keep a healthy body running at peak performance.
The next effective lifestyle change I made was to start only drinking water, and a lot of it; probably around 80 ounces of water per day. I cut my daily morning coffees, my energy drinks, and ice teas, replacing it all with water, water, and more water. I haven’t been much of an alcohol drinker for years, but I cut that back to having only a glass of wine on two different holidays for the first year, and now allow myself to enjoy a few drinks with friends on the rare night out. When I do that though, I try to make sure I am not ingesting needless junk calories while I am drinking.
Around the same time as my beverage alterations, I stopped binge-eating junkfood, in my room in the middle of the night. We’ve already had a clean-eating household, 99% free of processed foods for years, but I used to sneak pints of ice cream and other suger-filled snacks I truly didn’t need to be eating. I like to tell people, “I broke up with Ben & Jerry and stopped my smuggling of junkfood into my room.”
Also, I now make it a point to only eat if I am hungry. I have a drinkable yogurt from a local farm in the morning with my meds, and then I usually don’t eat anything until late afternoon or dinnertime.
Naturally, that means if I am hungry, I will simply eat something, but now it will be something healthy like apple slices and peanutbutter, carrots and hummus, or a salad with all sorts of healthy and delicious fixins. The best part is that I don’t feel deprived of anything because if I want some ice cream, I will eat some dang ice cream! The difference i that I will not eat an entire pint of it! Awesomely, my body doesn’t crave that sweet fix anymore, and I just dont want crap these days.
Now stepping away from food again, I began to throw in random exercises throughout the day. I’ll do squats, lunges, tricep dips, and other exercises that use body weight to strengthen muscles; I also have weights that I recently started very small that I do routines for toning my arms. I really try always to stay moving, especially when I’m watching podcasts and news; I’ll watch on my phone and walk around the backyard instead of watching on my TV, doing my squats and lungs repeatedly throughout each day.
I was terrified at the idea of having saggy, extra skin hanging from each body part that lost a bunch of weight, so toning through these exercises was very important to me. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I retained enough skin elasticity for my skin to shrink back to its proper form, aside from a little belly pooch, slight creping under my arms, and a slight excess of skin in my upper-inner thighs.
One tactic I have been ridiculed numerous times for is not keeping my fat clothes, “just in case” (I did keep my skinny clothes for six years, on the other hand) because I see that as an admission of the possibility of gaining the weight back. I refuse to let myself have that safety net, so it holds me accountable in that regard.
As a matter-of-fact, a couple of months ago, I went “shopping” in my skinny clothes, and I have a feeling that when I bring down my winter skinny clothes, I will find them to also be too large for my newly shaped body!
What Has Changed for Me?
The next question people tend to ask me is, “how has your life changed because of this weightloss?”
My life is entirely different than it was a little over a year ago, when I began my weightloss journey. I feel better overall. Better physically, mentally, emotionally, and more! I am more productive, tidier, and phenomanally more confident.
Starting with the obvious 100lb change, physically, I actually feel lighter, swifter, stronger, and less like gravity is constantly working against me. I hated how incredibly heavy I felt at 265lbs, feeling as though each morning, weights were strapped to my every limb while I was carrying my nine-year-old on my back. I no longer feel as though I am carrying around another human everywhere I go.
I can breathe easier and deeper now that my diaphragm and lungs aren’t being compressed by the unneccessary fat deposits sprinkled throughtout my torso. This means I can sing better now, like I used to as well, holding long notes and belting out solos with the radio. I absolutely love to sing, so that makes me ecstatic.
I can play with my kids more and for longer periods of time, and finally able to chase after them and rough house without feeling absolutely wiped, right out of the chute! I can sit on the floor and play board games, such as Battleship, Sorry!, and Trivial Pursuit, with my board game-loving son; all without having to worry about how I will get up off that carpet or how awful I will feel as I do it!
My body is obviously going to be smaller after losing one hundred pounds, but it blows my mind just how much smaller I’ve become! I have lost 10 inches from around my waist, 10 inches from around my hips, and 10 inches from around my chest, 7 inches from around each thigh, and 3 inches from around both my neck and each of my calves! This change brought me from a size 24 to a size 12 pants size (size 10 dress), and even from an XXL to a Medium! It never ceases to amaze me.
I was anxious to see if I would lose my boobs completely, or if they would “deflate,” like I have seen so many times with such large weightlosses, as I know many women are worried about resulting from dramatic weight changes.
I am happy to report that my concerns were for naught, and that I simply proportionately shrunk from a 40E to a 34DDD. I feel as though my “bras only when absolutely necessary” policy has kept my pectoral muscles from atrophying, and saving my breasts from their own version of deflategate! I hope that can give some hope to some obese woman out there, aprehensively looking to begin their own weightloss journey.
Despite this, I have recently had to purchase new clothes because my clothes are literally hanging off of me.
As a result of this drastic weight change, I have gained tons of confidence, amping up my feelings of self-worth and have begun to make changes in my environment as well. I have hung up art and photos on my walls, gotten rid of so much stuff that I kept “in case I ever needed it,” and made my room into an organized, clean, enjoyable place to be and work.
I made a neverending list of things to do to improve my living space, where I add tasks in bite-sized chunks that are easier to take on and accomplish, and did a humungous deep-cleaning/downsizing. I’ve been able to create a space which I am genuinely happy with. I look around my room these days, and I smile.
Speaking of smiling; as the rest of me shrunk, my smile seemed to grow bigger than ever! My facial features began to pop! Even my eyes seem larger in my thinner face, as they are no longer being squished by the huge chubby cheeks gracing my formerly fat face. I look like me again, which is just the best thing ever.
Even my skin has improved tremendously as I lost the weight! My rosascea died down, breakouts ceased except around “that time of the month,” and my skin tone has really evened out; all of which I have been praying for all of adulthood (even at this weight before kids).
I think part of that is due to the fact that my willingness to care for myself grew as I lost more and more weight because I cared about myself more and more during that time. Part of it is also just due to being alltogether healthier and happier causing me to glow, and causing stress breakouts to simper down.
The most difficult part for me about losing weight is the sudden change from (as one social media user stated), “land whale to smoking hot.” I am not used to the increased attention, being treated differently in general by people, or comprehending when guys are flirting with me instead of the usual “one of the guys” treatment I was used to. It is an extremely bizarre transition to experience, I’ll tell you that.
You Can Lose Weight Too!
My hope, is that if you are obese and you read my story; you realize that with determination, making lifestyle changes that you can maintain to lose weight and become a fit, healthy person is possible. I have had quite a lot of unique things working against me, and I decided that I wanted it badly enough to make it happen.
You have that inside of you too. It is possible. You just have to make those littl changes that add up to big changes, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way there!
Don’t forget to take photos of you at your fattest, even though I know you genuinely would rather walk on hot coals, because when you do start losing weight you’ll be grateful you had fat-photos to compare your new self to.
If you have any questions, or feel I left portions of importance out on accident, please feel free to let me know! God bless you all. I hope y’all have a fabulous Thanksgiving with your loved ones.