I Lost 200 pounds and I Still Feel Fat

How can you lose 200 pounds and still feel fat?

I don’t know. That’s a question I still ask myself. Why, when I lost all that weight, do I still look in the mirror and see that same sad, overweight woman? I know … I lost a lot of weight, more than half my body weight. Still, every day I look in my closet for clothes that will hide me, camouflage me, help me feel better about myself.

Maybe I should just start at the beginning so you can understand my plight.

Hi … my name is Sherri, and I have always fought with my weight. I think I came out of the womb a size 16. I come from a family where everyone is overweight, yet my father made me feel like if I wasn’t pretty and thin, then I was less of a person, not deserving of love.

All my life I felt judged, but you have to remember that the judging was happening in a house full of overweight people. It wasn’t just me; I have two sisters and my parents—both of whom were overweight by the time I was born. With that said, I have been on a diet as far back as I can remember. My mother told me early on that cakes and sweets were my enemy. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I had ever even tasted a candy bar. I couldn’t eat those things; no one would love me.

But guess what, somebody did … well actually a lot of somebodies, but I finally found the right somebody. That one who made me smile, the one I wanted to be with every day, even when I had the flu, and he loved me back. He loved me, with all my flaws and imperfections. He actually saw me – the person, the soul, the being inside the shell. I had it all.

We got married, and a few years later we had a beautiful little boy. Still, with all that love surrounding me I couldn’t help but focus on how overweight I was, and how fat I felt.

Dan and Sherri 1996

I had nightmares that one day my amazing husband was going to wake up and really see me, then realize he had made a mistake. That the woman he married was way more flawed than he thought. I would wake up in the morning crying and tell my husband my fears, and he would reassure me that it was just a dream. Inside, though, I felt like it was a reality. Some people hold their problems on the inside, when you’re overweight you get to flaunt your problems on your outside and to the world. It’s horrible, and I was unhappy more days than happy. Still, my amazing husband stood by me, encouraged me … even as I kept gaining weight after the baby was born.

Then a few years later I fell. I mean literally, I fell trying to pull my toddler son out of a sudden lightning storm in Texas. I missed the top step on a flight of stairs, and in that instance, I changed my life forever. I broke many bones, but I also contracted a horrible rare disease called CRPS. That disease caused my brain to think the bones I had broken were still broken and unset, that my limbs were randomly on fire and so many more horrible pain-related things I can’t begin to write them all down. I found myself a new mom, now wheelchair bound, in a town without any friends or relatives. It was horrible. The terrible body image I already had increased. Now stuck in a wheelchair and desperately trying to take care of my son, I ate to ease the pain. It was a very tough time. My husband, still my rock, helped us all through it while I tried my best to get back on my feet, but the damage was already done. I now felt like I was as round as I was tall, and I am pretty damn tall.

So fast forward six years. I was finally out of the wheelchair, but still dealing with CRPS and we had just relocated to Florida. While getting settled into the tourist capital of the world, I received a call from my Mom. My sister was in the hospital and wasn’t doing well. My oldest sister was not blessed with great health. Unfortunately, she took after my dad. She had been diagnosed with diabetes, and it was taking a toll on her. When I heard the news, it hit me really hard. I knew I needed to do something now, or I was going to be next.

I wanted to change; I wanted to eat healthily and be healthy. I wanted to grow old with my husband and watch my son grow up.

Not knowing where to start I did what everyone does when they need to find out something … I Googled it. I researched diets and found out all about Low Carb dieting. I had tried Atkins before but had given it up like every other diet I‘d tried. This time, though I found a book on Amazon called Fat to Skinny, and something about it called to me. It screamed YOU CAN DO THIS. So I bought the book and started my journey.

On April 1st, 2009, I cleaned out my cabinets of all things loaded with carbs, which was basically everything and started from scratch. I’m not going to lie to you; it was tough. I had to give up all those carb-loaded foods, which I loved, but I did it. A year and a half later – I had lost 200 pounds and was a whole new me. I was smaller, blonder and told I even looked younger. I took pictures … lots of pictures. I was featured in the Fat to Skinny book and website, but still, I felt fat. I never started out to be model thin; that just isn’t me, but I did want to feel comfortable in my skin, and I still wasn’t there yet.

It’s been five years since I lost all my weight and I still don’t feel comfortable in my own skin; I still feel fat. I still feel like that girl who is stuck in a size 32 and could only shop at one store. I still feel like that woman they snickered at in line at the grocery store.

SA Smith before and after

The one they told would be “so pretty” if she just lost weight. Well, I lost the weight, and the haters that were mean to me before are sweet to me now. And that right there bothers me more than anything. Let me tell you, if you were mean to me when I was heavy and are nice to me now because I’m thin, I have no time for you. If you couldn’t see my worth when I was heavy, why should losing weight change that?

I guess that may be my problem too – I don’t see my worth.

I still fear my husband may wake up one morning and realize this woman he thought he loved so much is way too much of a problem and walk away from me, or more likely run. I don’t know how all these years he’s even put up with me. I am such a pain. I thought I was unhappy because I was heavy. I thought losing weight would make everything perfect. Guess what? It didn’t. I still feel like that undeserving ugly girl who is hiding behind makeup and clothes to try to put a pretty face on for the world so she will be loved.

Dan and Sherri 2016

We shouldn’t have to be pretty to be loved. We shouldn’t have to be thin to be loved. We shouldn’t have to be anything, but exactly who we are to be accepted and loved – especially by ourselves.

I try to keep telling myself that. I try to look in the mirror and see what others see; I just don’t.
I’m trying, though, and I will keep trying until I can see her.

  1. Was reading Kim (My Inner Chick)’s poem again and saw your comment so wandered over here to read this. I’m so glad I did. Such an incredible journey you are on! My story is semi-opposite – slender all my life. Mom had melt-down my Jr. year in high school because I gained 5 pounds so put me on a diet. I became aware of the “horrors” of weight gain – gained the “Freshmen 30” in college, lost it, spent the rest of my years until around 30 in constant awareness of not gaining any pounds – or else. Those years between 15 (first boss exposed himself to me), college (first landlord exposed himself to me), Air Force (girlfriend’s boyfriend’s accosted me, mostly just trying to get me to sleep with them & grabbing inappropriately), blah blah blah. After having a child in-between relationships, I stopped caring. Fast forward many years later and I now deal with excess weight that I am finally facing and working to get off. I am so blessed to have an amazing husband who fell in love with me 23 years ago, adopted my son. At that time I was only 30 lbs over – I say only because now it’s over 100. BUT – your story has encouraged me. I have worked diligently on the inside-me, the me who let go. I accept my amazing husband loves me unconditionally, and I forgave myself and those who hurt me. I dealt with a lot of shame because of the weight gain AFTER marrying my true love. That only led to more weight gain. I believe you are an amazing inspiration and now I can say, “She did it! She beat unbeatable odds! I can do this, too.” You are a standard I will hold before my eyes to keep my distorted images, guilt, etc., at bay. I win. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  2. Dori you are so wonderful. Thank you for all the kind words, they mean so much to me. It was really hard to share this article, but I just felt like I needed to. Congratulations on your weight loss. It’s so hard to stay with it, but so important so we can be healthy – body and soul. <3

  3. You’re beautiful Mary – inside and out. I’m glad you see that now. I feel that we have to go through all those trials in life to learn, grow and get to the other side to appreciate it all. “Why do humans, who seem so advanced, still judge others by their appearance, rather than by what’s inside? ” That’s the question of the century. Why do we judge and feel the need to put our opinions on others? I think if we are happy with ourselves we are less likely to eager to judge others.

  4. I agree Kitt. The Universe blessed me with an amazing partner. I am grateful for him everyday. 🙂

    I think being healthy is the key. We should be comfortable in our skins no matter what size they may be. As long as we’re healthy we don’t need to be a size too unless we want to be.

  5. Sherri, first of all, you’re such a beautiful woman, inside and out. I love what Dori ^^ said about your inner beauty being so large that it demands to be seen first. I totally agree.

    I also understand how you feel about wishing we didn’t have to be thin or pretty to be loved. When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I was bloated and had bad skin due to an eating disorder. I was lucky enough to have had friends and family members who loved me anyway, but I hated my appearance. Then, after I got help for the ED, my body became healthier, and my skin cleared up. It was very strange and unsettling for a while: I didn’t love the way I looked, but the things that had bothered me most about my appearance weren’t there any more, and I felt as though the public viewed me differently. In some ways, I liked that, but in others, it was odd. Now that I’m more comfortable in my skin, I often think about the “old” me and feel sad for her. Why do humans, who seem so advanced, still judge others by their appearance, rather than by what’s inside? I wish I knew.

  6. You are so blessed to have a husband who has seen your beauty, inside and out, no matter your weight. Too many of us were taught that to be lovable we must be thin. I starved myself to be thin when I was in my twenties. No more. Now, my goal is to be healthy. Working on it. Not easy when I find myself comfort eating high carb, high sugar empty calories to deal with stress.

  7. I couldn’t WAIT to read this, Sherri, what an inspiring piece! Inspiring on so many different levels. What courage and fortitude it must have taken to tackle that significant weight loss. I do have to tell you, though, there’s not one photograph on here where you do not look beautiful to me. I think it’s because your inner beauty is so large it demands to be seen first. I understand what you mean about looking at distorted images. I’m on the way of significant weight loss and Chunky Girl still lives on in the mirror! I’m so happy for your vavavoom body, but so empathetic for the CPRS. Dang, why can’t we have it all? xoxo D.

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