This is a huge leap into personal and away from book world, but I get asked about this part of my life quite often—more than I ever expected to.
More than I ever wanted to, if I’m being honest.
But God’s given me this certain peace about it, helping me feel really comfortable talking about it now. And if I start losing weight, my readers notice and get super encouraging and excited for me (um, I just love y’all). They want to know what I’m doing and if I am doing it to lose weight. They want to know if I’ve tried this or that and what exercises I’m doing. If I’ve had weight-loss surgery and if I would consider it (Doctors are very hesitant to operate on someone who has as many long-term health issues as I do, so, no). And since I’m pretty open about the changes I’ve made over the years for health reasons, I’m getting questions more than ever regarding the whys and hows it goings. So, here we are.
But to get into where I’m at now and what I’m doing, we should probably dive into how I got here.
I wasn’t always overweight, and I most definitely wasn’t always morbidly obese.
On the opposite side, I’ve never been toned. I have hyperelasticity in my joints, and it causes my body to use my ligaments instead of my muscles. Meaning: toning cannot happen and many, many ligaments snap and yayyyyyy, grandma body before adulthood. That’s another superlong conversation for a different day, however, I should also add here that ten or so years ago, I very painfully discovered that I have two degenerative discs in my lower back. Those two things combined make exercise a no-go. It’s basically walk, walk, walk, walk, or . . . walk because anything more will land me in the hospital. But take it easy even with walking because the wrong move will leave me in bed for a week, joints like to fall out of socket at random, and remaining ligaments still snap.
It is totally as painful as it sounds.
But I'm clearly a fan of walking . . . and walking. Also movie-quoting. That's a workout, right?
If you’re wondering, my joint and back problems are not something that can be solved with exercise or weight loss—despite what non-specialists have tried to tell me. The hyperelasticity started years before I ever began gaining weight, and my back problems started only about halfway into my weight-gaining journey.
Do I think they wouldn’t hurt as much if I lost weight? Absolutely. But I’ve been working on that for a long time.
Because of my hyperelasticity, I’ve dieted off and on since junior high to get rid of soft bits and to achieve a size-zero status when my curvy body was clearly made for a nine. But junior high and high school Molly (140lbs) didn’t get the memo that you could have big hips and breasts and not be a big girl.
She was ridiculously dramatic . . . shocking, I know.
Also in high school, I had my thyroid removed by radioactive iodine due to emergency circumstances. I gained a bit of weight in the following two years (170lbs), but even though I wasn’t loving those extra thirty pounds, I was a pretty confident person by then.
Then I went to college.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Freshman 15, where kids go off to college and gain fifteen pounds their first year away.
I gained fifty pounds during my first couple months at school. You read that number right. 50. (220lbs)
I panicked. Dieted. Kept gaining. We saw a new endocrinologist (specialist for thyroid) near the school and found out I went the complete opposite way with my thyroid diseases and had Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. Both in such an extreme and rare form, he couldn’t believe I’d had my thyroid removed or that I’d previously had Hyperthyroidism and Graves’.
My medication got switched up (this will be important later). I continued dieting. I dropped some weight. I gained it back plus a little more. Two separate times over the next year and a half, I gained twenty pounds in one weekend. As unbelievable as that seems, it can absolutely happen. Trust me. It’s horrific and devastating. One weekend. Twenty pounds. And it happened twice. Each time, it took months and months to get any of the weight back off, but I somehow always ended up at 230 pounds.
There was a lot that went on and went wrong during this time, thyroid-wise, but we’ll stick to the weight stuff.
I moved to Texas with my now husband and got married, gaining another fifty pounds in the handful of months before moving and getting married (280lbs). Then proceeded to gain another hundred over the next year even though I was barely eating or keeping anything down because of gastrointestinal issues where nothing was ever found to be the cause (380lbs).
Over the next few years, I went up and down before maxing out at 430 pounds when I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time—with twins. We’ve had a lot of heartbreak when it comes to pregnancies. The first three didn’t make it, and we lost the twin in the last pregnancy. But we know every pregnancy, no matter how short, was a gift. And we now have the most beautiful, sassy girl, and we’re beyond thankful for her.
But after having our daughter, I started dropping weight very quickly. I lost 120 pounds in a year doing absolutely nothing but counting calories (310lbs). If you’re wondering, because I got asked this about a hundred times in regards to the weight loss during that time, I was not breastfeeding. If you’re turning up your nose at that, step off your high horse, Regina George, I couldn’t breastfeed for medical reasons. A fed, healthy, and happy baby is what’s important.
Considering all the diets I’d done with little to no results, I was shocked at this turn of events.
However, right at the year mark, it turned right back around.
I was still counting calories. I hadn’t changed a thing. I was just gaining weight again like it was going out of style. I managed to stall out after gaining half of it back, which is much better than all of it, but I was still super down about the entire thing (370lbs).
Disheartened is an understatement.
I even tried cutting out all sugar for a few months, and I do mean all, and that did nothing except make me break out and feel like walking death for that entire time.