Stephanie has been a patient of Melissas for 2 years and look at how great she looks today!
Read more about Stephanie's journey here!
I have always been overweight. In high school I was somewhat athletic; I played volleyball but I was never fit. The smallest I can remember being was a size 18. When I got my license, I remember lying about my weight, listing it as 250 pounds. I always wanted to lose weight, but had no clue how to start. I could always get around pretty well for my size, so I felt like my weight wasn't really a major problem and I wasn't going to ask for help. Food was always a comfort thing. If I had a bad day, I wanted to come home, sit on the couch, and eat a bag of chips and salsa and drink a carton of chocolate milk. I did that a lot and I never stood on a scale, so I never knew how bad it had gotten. One day I went to the walk-in clinic for a sore throat. I always looked away when I got weighed, but that day I looked down and I saw I weighed 306 pounds. I didn't realize I weighed over 300 pounds until that day. I'd never had a primary care doctor, so the doctor at the clinic referred me to Melissa Crawford, APRN, FNP-C. I was told that she specialized in weight loss and that I might want her help.
Before the appointment, I had to fill out paperwork about my eating habits and any previous diets I might have tried. I remember telling my friend before I went in that I didn't want the doctor telling me I had to go on some stupid diet. So, I was very surprised when I saw Melissa and she didn't push a diet on me. Instead she told me it was not my fault; I had been given the wrong information about food and what to do to lose weight. She told me that she would give me as little or as much information as I wanted and I did not feel pressured. She wrote down on a piece of paper the amount of protein, carbs, and calories I should be getting every day, and told me to log my food on the My Fitness Pal app. She made it sound easy; I would just have to make small changes and it would make a difference. I also liked that she was going to teach me the right foods to eat and not put me on a bunch of pre-packaged food or replacement shakes. I knew that stuff like that doesn't change your lifestyle and can be expensive. I had always told myself that I was healthier at my heavy weight than I would have been on one of those crazy fad diets.
After my appointment, I went home, downloaded the app and started figuring out my meals. I began by getting rid of Mountain Dew. I saw that one can would be almost all of my allowed carbs for a day and decided I would rather eat food and not drink my carbs. A lot of the things I ate stayed the same; I just got rid of the bun and kept the meat. Summer sausage and cheese for lunch, taco salad or pork chops and some veggies for supper. I found out it wasn't that hard and I didn't crave things like I used to because of the increased protein. It made me feel fuller longer and more satisfied.
I was super-strict for the first 2-3 months and the weight just fell off. It was small things that made me notice I was losing weight. For example, my clothes got baggier and I could bend down and tie my shoes without having to hold my breath. Once I got comfortable with my new way of eating, I started introducing new foods like dark chocolate-covered almonds and every once in awhile my husband and I would go out for ice cream. It wouldn't ruin everything; I could control it and get back on track. It was easier to make good decisions about food. Even when people would offer me certain things, it was easier to say "no" to them.
My first big milestone was going from a size 24/26 to an 18; that is the first time I started buying new clothes. It was the smallest size I can remember being (even in high school) and it motivated me to keep going. People started to notice I was losing weight and would compliment me and ask how much I wanted to lose. Some people around me didn't notice or just didn't want to say anything and that can be tough because it feels like they don't support you. But you have to always remember: you are doing it for yourself and no one else. It doesn't matter how long it takes as long as you keep going. It also helped that my husband did it with me, ate what I ate, and supported me in that way.
I've been doing this for almost 2 years now and have lost 94 pounds so far. I've gone from a size 24/26 to a size 12. I can't believe it! Some days it's harder. I look in the mirror, I don't see a change and I feel like giving up because the scale doesn't move as fast as it used to. There is a quote I always repeat to myself when I feel that way: "If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started and when I started I was desperate to get where I am now." Remembering that pulls me out of my funk and keeps me going. I recently went on vacation at an all-inclusive resort and tried my best to eat as healthy as I could, but when I got back I had gained 10 pounds. I just remembered that quote and got right back into eating healthy and the weight just came off. Now I look back and I can't believe I used to eat the way I did. I remember how crappy it made me feel. I have more self control now; I can eat ice cream or chips and not eat the whole tub or bag, just enjoy a small bowl. I wish I would have found Melissa when I was in high school and learned how to eat better back then. I probably would have been more confident to try new things and meet new people. I still want to lose more weight and I am confident I will because this is my new lifestyle.
I wish the way we see and think about weight would change. When we see a loved one put on extra weight or always struggling with their weight, we need to find a way to say something and help them get help. It should not be a shameful thing like it was for me when I got started. I was afraid to tell anyone I was doing it and I didn't want to tell them I saw a doctor to get help. I told my husband, if he saw me slipping to say something and get me back on track. I hope he never has to do that because I hope to continue this lifestyle for the rest of my life. If it wasn't for that doctor that sent me to see Melissa, I never would have taken the steps to get healthier. Without Melissa's help, who knows how long it would have taken before I became a diabetic. I am thankful for both of them and I can't wait to see where I will go!