- Abby Smith felt like a “bad teacher”. Her weight prevented her from being active in class.
- She was diagnosed with fatty liver disease, which doctors said could progress to cirrhosis.
This essay is based on a conversation with Abby Smith. Edited for length and clarity.
I always tried to hide my weight with baggy clothes, mostly black. I once had a conversation with a parent of a child in a kindergarten class, and they said, “You always look like you’re dressed for a funeral.”
I laughed it off at the time. But I got hurt. Something similar happened when one of my children was climbing a tree in the playground. “There are too many things here to climb trees,” he said, pointing at my stomach.
“Wow,” I thought. “Kids are so honest.” This little boy certainly was. I weighed 256 pounds at the time. At 5’4″ tall, I was dangerously fat.
I gained 40-50 pounds during my second pregnancy
I had many health problems including high blood pressure.
My weight problems started during college. I quit the sports I played in school, like basketball and soccer. I started eating college meals and fast food like McDonald’s and eating poor quality food. I have gained weight over the years.
I tried dieting before the wedding, but it didn’t help much. During my second pregnancy, I gained 40-50 pounds. I couldn’t get out.
Diets come and go. I’ve done everything from pareos to beach bodies. I’ve tried every fad diet. But I was discouraged because I lost less than 10 pounds each time. “They’re not getting along,” I told her husband, Joshua.
It depressed me. I went on an excursion to a farm with my students. I was gasping and gasping. It was hard to keep up. I felt so guilty. I felt like a bad teacher because I wanted to be positive in my class. I ate more because of stress. I was an emotional eater.
It was the same deal at home. I was tired all the time. My bad mood has affected my relationship with my husband and children.
My eldest daughter, Aubrey, started playing soccer. Without the wind she couldn’t even kick a ball with her. Next, she was diagnosed with fatty liver. Doctors said it could eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver. I was told that losing her weight would prevent it. Something had to change.
I lost an average of 3 pounds a week after having stomach surgery in November.
We studied bariatric surgery last summer. It seemed like a good option. I met Dr. Jason Barrett, Bariatric Surgeon at Memorial Herman in Houston. “We have to make sure we are 100% on this,” he told me. I had to prove to him that I could maintain my weight before surgery.
He performed my gastric sleeve surgery in November. It took about 3 hours. My body mass index was over 40, so my health insurance covered the cost of the surgery.
After that I followed the instructions. There was a liquid stage, a puree stage and a soft food stage. Then I was able to eat small portions of normal meals, such as half a cup of chicken. I lost weight quickly and lost about 2-3 pounds in a week. Weight dropped to 169 pounds. I lost 87 pounds. My goal is to lose 100 pounds total. I have a different mindset about quantity and healthy eating.
My family is very proud that I lost weight
My family loves my change. You can participate in soccer and cheerleading with your children. The biggest “aha” moment happened a few months ago. I hugged her younger daughter Scarlett.
“Mom, I am so proud of you,” she said. “I can put my arms around you now.”
As for the new school year, I am ready to keep up with my new kindergarten classes.
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