Told by Kerri Davis, Narrated by Cindi Jeffrey
Looking back, it seems as if I’ve been battling my weight my whole life, although I believe I started with the birth of my first child at the age of 15. Every two years for the next decade, I had a baby and gained at least 50 pounds with each child. Today, I am the mother of five beautiful children.
Years ago, my idea of losing weight was to take over the counter diet pills where I would easily drop 20-30 pounds, but I never really changed my habits or educated myself in regard to nutrition. Being a young mother was very hard and there weren’t many friends my age (24) with five children. Most of the people I knew were focused on hanging out and having fun while my priorities were diapers and formula. I accepted that I would be missing out on their experiences and began to sacrifice for my family.
Since I was already missing out on a social life, I just stuck to myself and comforted with food. At the age of 24, I weighed 220 pounds and would often frequent the local diner with my children. I was just starting to struggle with depression; and it would only get worse.
I was rocked to the core when lost my mother after she fought a 7 year battle with cancer. I never had a father in my life and my mother and older sister were always my rocks. They were my family. They were my everything. I plunged deeply into depression and I found myself trying to be there for my little sisters who were 13&15. At one point, I took them into our home, propelling myself from a mom of five, to a mom of seven. I truly felt as though I was walking in a daze. I felt as if I no longer knew how to function without sadness. I did what I always had done in the past and turned to food. Looking back, I was constantly cooking and baking, I was just trying to stay busy. I guess I thought I could forget what was going on in my life; however, it just made things worse and my weight ballooned, soon reaching 290lbs.
I remember one day I was put in a situation where I had to run after my son so he didn’t fall off his bike and I seriously thought I was going to have a heart attack! At this point in time, I was almost 30 years old and just a snack away from 300 pounds. I started exercising like crazy and ended up taking it to the extreme. Looking back, my new obsession with exercise replaced my preoccupation with food. I had never changed my eating habits; I had just replaced one addiction for another. I lost 86 pounds and I thought because it worked then it was because I was doing it the right way. Needless to say, I was wrong.
Now that I weighed less, I felt invincible and started exercising less. My kids were starting to become more self sufficient, my sisters had moved out, so I put my focus on school. I obtained my GED and enrolled in college and subsequently nursing school. That’s when my world flipped. My older sister was still battling from the loss of our mother and she turned to drugs. Soon after, she lost custody of her children. As I watched her struggle, I returned to what I always knew would provide me with comfort: food. Ultimately the fight for my sister’s life ended when she took her own. After finding my sister’s body, I hit my final low and I couldn’t function, let alone breathe. As the stress climbed, so did my weight and soon I was at my heaviest, I weighed in at 367.5 pounds.
I began experiencing many health issues and they seemed to be coming one right after another. I couldn’t remember things anymore, my hair had started falling out and I was in constant pain. I finally went to the doctor looking for answers and was told that my issues were emotional, related to my weight or was due to stress. The doctors had 50 answers for me but none of them really answered anything or told me WHY I was experiencing these symptoms. Shortly after, I found a doctor who gave me answers and properly diagnosed me with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia was not what I was expecting and this diagnosis forced me to look at my life in a new way. I now craved knowledge on how to be healthier. I was determined to beat this disease and began learning about proper nutrition. I was 34 years old and it was not going to beat me! I had already lost my mom and my sister, I was almost 400 pounds and I didn’t want to be the next person in my family to lose their life.
I knew it was time to do something, so I started reading and researching everything I possibly could about fibromyalgia. At that point, I started attacking my autoimmune disease with proper nutrition. Rather than putting myself on a diet, I committed to a lifestyle of healthy eating. I began educating my family on proper nutrition and I started to walk and do yoga. Slowly but surely, the weight started to come off and after a little over a year I have lost 100 pounds.
The fibromyalgia has gotten worse but it’s not stopping me. It motivates me to educate myself and to learn how to properly adjust to my body’s needs. This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with and I deal with it on a daily basis. With the constant pain and the scattered thoughts, this disease can be overwhelming at times. When I feel myself getting out of control, I step back and I remind myself that everything that was given to me was given to me for a reason.
Fibromyalgia has led me to my current journey. I am destined to help others lose weight, fight depression, as well as help those who suffer from chronic pain. As I can empathize with their journey, I work with others who are fighting this invisible illnesses. At this point in my life, I am 260 pounds, however I know within the next 5-6 months I will kick this fat right where the sun don’t shine!
I have already been through so much and I know that I can live through this. I know that I will survive. I also know that this extra 80 pounds is nothing compared to what I’ve already experienced. So I chose to call this my final phase. In the next 5-6months I will be using the Beachbody programs Cize and Piyo to help me lose the last 80 pounds. I am also stepping out of my comfort zone and I am training for my first 5k this spring.
Social media allows me to reach and motivate so many people! I run a Fitness accountability group on my FaceBook page and have over 5000 followers in addition to my Instagram account with nearly 3,000 followers. I am able to relate with people in a way that I never thought I could; however, there are people who understand my story more than I understood it. There are so many people like myself who have already been through it. I reached out to the fibromyalgia community and I learned there are others out there who are struggling in the same way I was. There are people who are sick and not finding answers. There are people who are losing hope of finding a diagnosis.
When someone reaches out to me, I don’t ask for something in return. I simply give them the knowledge that I have learned over my own struggles and battles. I know this journey isn’t going to be easy, and I know that it’s something that I’ll face and battle with for the rest of my life. However, today I know that I will survive and overcome! The things that have happened to me in my life are just that…things. They have happened to me, they are not what makes me…they are not what creates me and they will not predict my tomorrow. This is my story of survival! This is my story of fighting back! This is me fighting the fat, fighting the fibro, and fighting depression because when we stop fighting, we lose and I’m not a loser. I’m a winner!