‘I remember being told, ‘You’re lucky I’m with you, because you’re really fat.’ I was always just the smart girl with a pretty face, I was never the total package.’

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“From the moment I started school I was always the biggest kid in class. My weight was closer to the teacher’s than it was any other student. It was all I really knew. Everyone in my family was overweight and I was always hyper-conscious of it. I started dieting at a very young age but had no success. I had kids make unkind comments about my weight for as long as I can remember, they would call me fatty or laugh at me when I struggled to run a mile in gym class.

I’ve never really felt like I belonged anywhere. I have an old soul so I never quite fit in with my peers. I kept to myself most of the time and have was extremely hard on myself. I was and still am a straight A student. The pressure of high school was tough on me, I felt like the only obese girl in the school. I used to get called a pig on the bus. Trying to fit in and make every assignment and test an A+ began to get harder and harder. I got into some unhealthy relationships because I was desperate for love and acceptance. I remember being told once by a boy, ‘You’re lucky I’m with you, because you’re really fat.’ I thought I’d always have to settle and never be truly happy. I was always just the smart girl with a pretty face, I was never the total package.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wise

Around my sophomore year of high school I began experiencing all sorts of mental health struggles. I got diagnosed with clinical depression. I had obsessive and intrusive thoughts of suicide and I had severe anxiety, I began experiencing panic attacks every day multiple times a day. Some were even so bad that I would lose consciousness. I felt like my brain and body were defective, I was scared and embarrassed. I was working with a million psychiatrists and psychologists but we weren’t having much luck with treatment. It continued to get worse and I got addicted to self-harming. I would cut on my stomach to hide my scars. I also had some failed suicide attempts. My life was quickly spiraling out of control and I had lost all hope. I was convinced I was destined to be miserable my whole life so I just needed to end it all. People tried to be there for me and support me, but I completely isolated myself.

I was pulled out of high school for 8 weeks and put through extensive therapy. My medications were regulated and I was starting to function again. I faced a lot of backlash when I went back to school. Rumors started and everyone thought I was crazy, I heard a group of girls talking about how I should have never come back. I hated everything about school even though I had always excelled. Around this time the most amazing thing happened. I got a new Instagram follower, Dario. He started liking all my posts. We messaged back and forth and exchanged numbers. After two months of texting he FINALLY asked me on a date and the rest is history!

Dario loves me in a way I’ve never experienced before. He was there for every self-harm relapse. He took me to every psychiatry appointment so I wasn’t alone. He reminded me every chance he got that I was beautiful and strong. He was better than any doctor or antidepressant. He never had an issue with my weight but I was always self-conscious about being twice his size. People would make fun of me and call me names, they gave him a hard time for being with someone my size but he always defended me. I always felt undeserving of him but he reassured me that I deserve love and respect.

I was able to graduate high school early. I landed my dream job as an assistant in a severe needs special education classroom. I started college studying special education. My life was finally coming together but my weight was still progressively increasing. Around this time I had finally conquered my self-harm addiction but unfortunately I replaced that behavior with binging.

When I would binge I would eat enough to feed 10 people. I would drive around Indianapolis to get all the foods I wanted. In one binge I might eat 5 donuts, 10 mozzarella sticks, 4 candy bars, Chinese takeout, 10 nuggets, large fries, and a large milkshake. I was gaining weight rapidly. At the time I was over 300lbs and morbidly obese. I remember watching the TLC show My 600 lb Life and wondering when I’d turn into them. I would cry to Dario about wanting to lose weight but I never really put in the effort. He would tell me I’m perfect the way I am but he wanted to see me happy.

I began experiencing medical problems. I was pre diabetic, I had all sort of digestion problems, I was also diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and fibromyalgia. At 21 my body was failing me from the toxic way I was treating it. Every doctor would tell me weight loss would improve all my symptoms but I still didn’t take my health seriously.

On Facebook I began seeing posts from a girl I went to school with named Felicia. She was losing weight with Weight Watchers. She would post her meals and they all looked delicious. I felt like I could relate to everything she posted! She had a weight loss Instagram account @feliciafitnesshealth) that I followed and it introduced me to the world of weight loss. I followed other accounts like Lexi Reed’s @FatGirlFedUp and was extremely inspired.

I did some research and decided to join Weight Watchers. I went to the store and got tons of healthy food and I joined a gym. On February 1, 2018 I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting and the rest was history. I lost 11.4 lbs my first week and I was in shock. I found what I needed my whole life! I didn’t have to give anything up or over-restrict myself. I was able to still eat delicious food in moderation.

Dario has always been my biggest cheerleader. He has gone to every single Weight Watchers meeting with me. He has been there for the workouts, the meal prep, and the weigh-ins. I found replacements for all my old favorite foods and I was learning so much about health and wellness. Once I had lost 50 lbs I decided to make a weight loss Instagram account to hopefully inspire others like Felicia and Lexi had done for me. I was immediately accepted into the social media weight loss community. I became friends with people I idolized. There are definitely online trolls that try to discredit me but 99% of people have been incredibly supportive.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wise

In 7 months, I lost 100lbs! It was surreal. I always thought my weight was my biggest weakness so I couldn’t believe weight loss was something I was good at. I even got hired by Weight Watchers!

Now I am a year into my journey and I just feel so blessed. I am human so I have weeks where I gain but I get back on track and keep at it. This is a lifelong journey for me. I still have some weight to lose but I’m hoping I reach my goal weight this year. My friends and family say I’m a whole new person. I’m so glad I was able to break the cycle of obesity in my family.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wise

I look back over the past few years and I am so proud of myself for how far I’ve come. At one point I was 300 lbs and thinking suicide was the only way and now I’m over 100 lbs lighter about to celebrate my 5th anniversary with the love of my life, and planning on a mini marathon. So much can change in just a year.

I now have over 36,000 Instagram followers on my @wwelizabethevolving account. I love getting to share my weight loss knowledge with others! I work hard at answering every DM so I can help as many people as possible. I get to collaborate with amazing wellness companies. Being a social media influencer has been so fulfilling and I get told every single day that someone is going to start their own weight loss journey because of my story. I have the most supportive and accepting community. I still work two jobs and I’m a full-time student so it’s crazy balancing everything but I make it all work.

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wise

I have so much hope for my future. I’d love to help anyone with their weight loss goals that needs it. Every single person is capable of change and nobody is destined to live an unhappy life. I am so grateful for every person that has helped me along the way and I will continue paying it forward with my Instagram account. I feel so empowered because of this journey and I don’t feel stuck anymore. I’ve transformed into a warrior.”

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wise

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Elizabeth Wise. Follow her on Instagram here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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