By Sarah Klein
Name: Sasha George
Before Weight: 300 pounds
How I Gained It: I had always been skinny. Though I had a perfect appetite, I’d always look starved. That is, until 1992. I had full-fusion spinal surgery for scoliosis, which left me bound to a bed for nearly a year. In 1993, I had my first child. With limited physical ability and thinking I’d never be flexible again, I turned to comfort foods to lose myself. Fast food was my hot spot, and I would always be scavenging for sweets and salty snacks while I worked at my desk. If I drank a soda, I’d tell myself I’d work out tomorrow, but then I’d drink more than I should.
When I met my second husband in 2002, I was 170 pounds. I still considered myself in good shape and didn’t feel bothered by my little curves. When we were expecting our first child, I was diagnosed with a severe blood clotting condition, what the doctors call deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Feelings of depression caused me to lose interest in everything. It didn’t help that when my son was born, he was diagnosed with autism. I began to feel the serious side effects of being a mother who couldn’t protect her child from these conditions.
I kept getting the clots and having surgery to annihilate them, only to have them come back. By the time I had my second child, I weighed 300 pounds. My legs were so swollen, which kept me from doing any activities. I’d watch as my husband took the children to all their school events and outings. It only took five minutes if I stood before my damaged leg reminded me I was chained to the problem. I knew then I couldn’t get a job; I’d be a liability.
Breaking Point: As I was letting life pass before me, I began to rationalize with myself. I needed to at least break one fear. I sat at my desk working hard to publish art and books, because I didn’t want to be known for my artwork only after I had died.
Then fate decided to show me how truly scary things are. My health problems became so severe, I couldn’t breathe. Anxiety kicked in. The reality that I could be taken from this world awakened my survival instinct.
The doctors told me I had to make the decision to live or let my condition win. No doctor could tell me the best diet for my ailments. I even went as far as emailing Richard Simmons, because he had always been a symbol of hope to me. I was anxious exercise would hurt my spine. I had the incentive, but didn’t know what to do.
How I Lost It: I started simply. Since I was in my chair a lot, I used it as my starting point. I bought leg weights and lifted my feet off the ground while sitting at my desk. I lifted books to work my arms a little. I squeezed my ab muscles in, counted to 10 and released. Three months later, I graduated to walking slowly down my driveway and back to the house.
Food was a problem. As a blood clot victim, I had to stay away from anything with vitamin K, which makes blood thicken. I ate smaller breakfasts and lunches and had a variety of broths for many dinners. Fruits and vegetables are always priority on my plate, and I subtracted dairy from my diet.
I was doing well, but I needed more help. A high school friend became a big motivator, calling me on the phone, showing me new ways to eat and exercise. Without his persistence and dedication, I never would have lost as much as I did, nor care to want to break out of the depression that controlled me.
Now, I am able to run for an hour. I do anything to at least keep my body feeling it is challenged. My goal is 130 pounds, and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep the weight off.
Current Weight: 147 pounds
The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers. As told to Sarah Klein.
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