Excerpt of 318: The Struggles, Choices, and Successes of an Adjustable Gastric Banding Member

Making the Decision

“Hefty”, “thick”, and “chunky”.  These were some of the descriptive words that friends and family tried to use to cover up the obvious for almost three decades of my life. For a long time I tried to believe these words.

I believed it was alright to be a little “hefty” when I was starting the fifth grade. This was the first time I noticed that my face was rounder than all my skinny girlfriends. At eleven years old, I started to notice my hips were growing larger and my chest was starting to poke out from underneath my classic 80’s themed t-shirts. I noticed that the seams were clinging on to dear life to keep my body covered with every pair of jeans I slipped on for school. My mom blamed it on hormones, and stressed that I was just taking the steps to “becoming a real woman”. I was developing faster than everyone else, and everything would be alright according to Mom, but I knew it was the beginning of the stares and the insults from the boy classmates. This would be the starting place of my weight battles for years to come.  

I moved up to “thick” when I got into middle and high school. I was a “solid” girl, a girl who played three sports and was voted the “Most Athletic” in the Class of ‘95 by my peers, but I still struggled to find a uniform that didn’t fit snuggly around my ever growing hips and broad shoulders. I was the girl who the night before a big game had to soak her game day gear in water, and then tug on the sleeves of the jersey and the waistband of my shorts as if I were blessed with super human strength just to make each piece of my uniform fit a little looser.

“Chunky” came with adulthood, and many medical mishaps took over my body with a vengeance. Heavier pounds arrived in college when I started to have female issues. First, the back pain and the need for pain killers, then the cysts, the birth control pills with dangerous side effects soon followed. Then the blot clot came. The tumors were next. Each stage added 10 pounds here, 15 there, until I had a fear of standing on the scales in all four of my doctor’s offices.

“Hefty”, “thick” and “chunky” were the words. Let’s face it; I was just plain ol’ fat.