I recently told you about my personal experience with September 11th and how it impacted me. What I didn’t tell you was that it was the catalyst for my weight gain story.
On September 11th, I was in the best shape of my life and wore a fitted Ann Taylor size 0 dress to work. I was a type A driven sales manager, trainer, and coach with a resume decorated with accomplishments and record-breaking successes.
When the planes crashed, my career as I knew it crashed as well. Within days my personal income was reduced exponentially and within a few months, it declined by over 75%. That wasn’t the worst part though, the worst part was watching my team members fall off one at a time.
Having daily discussions with good, smart, educated, hard-working people about how they were no longer making enough money to pay their bills was devastating. It was especially hard because I promised them just a few months before that they would earn a minimum of six figures if they did as I told them to. I could barely look them in the eye and ran to the bathroom for “cry breaks” multiple times a day.
I didn’t handle the stress well. I couldn’t sleep and I started experiencing anxiety and anxiety attacks. I remember being at an all-time low one night when I sat at the edge of my bed drinking a cheap beer at 2:30 in the morning on a weeknight in hopes it would help me fall asleep.
Exactly eight months later, I traded in my fitted Ann Taylor size 0 dress in for a size 8 wedding dress that needed to be taken out in a few places. I had gained a little over a dress size a month!
Within days of our wedding, my body started to balloon out. I was exhausted, getting migraines every day, and within a week or two I couldn’t fit in my clothes. I vividly remember a business trip to Las Vegas where I had to buy a new wardrobe in size 14 because the clothes I packed two days earlier no longer fit!
When I got home from my trip, I found out I was pregnant with my first child, Taylor, and was absolutely thrilled. I was so excited to be a Mom I didn’t even think to question why I had gained over 4 dress sizes before I missed my first period as a pregnant woman.
Unfortunately, I’m a horrible pregnant person. I feel awful from the moment I get pregnant until a few months after the baby is born. Ultimately, I was put on bed rest. I gained well over 70 pounds during my pregnancy. My Mom promised me I would lose at least 12 pounds in the hospital since the baby would weigh at least 6 pounds and the sac is typically equal to the baby’s weight. I left the hospital heavier than I was before I gave birth!
When Taylor was almost one, it really hit me that I still felt awful and hadn’t lost any of my baby weight. I went to an integrative physician who gave me an adrenal fatigue diagnosis. You may remember me sharing my story with you in Untangling the Weight Gain & Loss Web – Adrenal Fatigue. The Dr. explained that my adrenal fatigue was making it difficult to lose weight. She made some lifestyle and diet suggestions, suggested a few supplements, and told me to take naps!
About a year later I was still feeling terrible and hadn’t lost any weight. Tony suggested I see an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist ordered several tests. A few weeks later I had a sleep apnea and PCOS diagnosis. Guess what I was told? Both of those diagnoses would make it difficult to lose weight as well – ugh.
And then came my thyroid. It is crazy – seriously. It is fine one month and then off the next. It took years to get a doctor to take my thyroid issues seriously. Once someone did, the first words out of her mouth were, “This is going to make it more difficult for you to lose weight”. – “Great, because it’s been so easy!”. To top things off, I can’t tolerate traditional thyroid medication. I’ve tried it twice, and I couldn’t sleep for days after one dose of either Synthroid or Armour. Luckily, I found a homeopathic remedy that helps keep my thyroid.
When my Son was having health and behavioral problems, a friend suggested I have him tested for food intolerances. Drew was scared to have his blood drawn, so I had the test done on myself first. A few weeks later, the Doctor called saying she was more concerned about me than him. I was intolerant to 27 foods and had a leaky gut! Guess what? The Doctor told me my leaky gut would make it more difficult to lose weight!
The MTHFR gene mutation diagnosis was hard to swallow. The list of possible symptoms and side effects was endless and depressing. When my doctor closed the conversation with, “Because of the MTHFR gene mutation it is more difficult for your body to detox and lose weight.” I almost laughed. How many diagnoses can one person have that makes them fat?
Looking back I can clearly see, stress was the biggest contributor to my weight gain and all but one of the diagnoses that accompanied and exasperated it. There is a very tangled relationship between stress and weight gain and weight gain and the diagnosis I was given through the years.
If I could give you one piece of advice to keep you from gaining weight like I did, I would say manage your stress. You can’t stop this crazy, fast-paced, relentless world from showering you with stressful situations, but you can control the way you respond to the stress. If I was a stress doctor, I would prescribe exercise, prayer, laughter, meditation, yoga, naps, bubble baths, and most importantly relaxing breaths!
I hope you do something to positively to manage your stress today!