It was 2014 — the world was dealing with Ebola, the NFL had its hands full with domestic violence cases and then there was me. I was a fat woman who liked to hear chips crunch. I was like many of you, dealing with normal life with all its ebbs and flows. I decided to accept a position that relocated me to a new city with a new company. In the grand scheme of things, looking back now, I think part of the real drive might be due to Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It was with it that I had reduced all my belongings for the move down to only what brought me joy. My entire life’s collection of “stuff” was all gone so I could make this dramatic shift in my life.

I decided with that boldness, it was now time to lose the extra 170 lbs of body fat that I had been carrying around with me since I had my son 18 years earlier. Now, lets be real. I, like many of you reading this, took years after having my second child to get to 320 lbs. Years of snacking late at night watching TV, years of drinking one too many glasses of wine or having just one more spoonful of that “great whatever it is” dish. I knew it was going to be a daunting task to remove pound upon pound of fat. So, I went to work doing what I do best: solving problems.

After researching pharmaceutical options for weight loss, I found there are several on the market, and each has its own side effects. I do not have to tell the average half-intelligent person that these side effects can and do vary widely. What I am going to tell you is this: big pharma does not want you to know about the weight loss options available to you!

It was difficult to sort through the various options available to find a solution to present to my doctor. Why, you ask? Think logically about this for just a moment. If I was fat. Yes, fat. I can say it, and I may hurt some feelings, and for that, I am sorry.

For the intent of writing this article, you must know that fat is exactly how the pharmaceutical companies would describe you or I as they chat about my next point. Why did they need to keep me fat? Because if you or I stay fat, we make them more money than if we’re healthy! How much money you ask? Great question. Check out the highest paid Pharma CEO’s according to WSJ.

At one point, in my early 30’s, I was taking pre-diabetes medication AND hypertension medication. These two medications I were taking were only generic versions however, let us think big picture and zoom out a few years to what would have happened if I would have stayed on that path. We can furthermore use these examples from the American Diabetes Association to show how this not only affected me, but does effect the nation as a whole. In 2017, according to the ADA,​ the cost to cover diabetes was over 327 Billion US and largely fell on our government for funding. In fact, over 67% were funded by government funded insurance programs. I want to point this out because of all the drug companies in the US, there are only three that make Insulin. You read that right. Three companies dominating the Insulin market. According to CBS News, drug prices in 2019 were more than 5 times higher than inflation. Topping the list of drugs on that list; diabetes medication. If I would have chosen not to alter the course of my life by my next steps, I would be right there, facing the same problem as millions of Americans are every day.

Fortunately, I was blessed to have found an amazing internist when I moved to the city. Once I presented a possible solution to my problem, although he had never heard of the combination of the two medications, he trusted all the presented research I had done, and we went with it. Within the first 30 days, the pounds started shedding so fast, he had meetings with the representatives of the pharmaceutical company to get other people on the medication as quickly as possible. The trick to the success of the drugs, however, was not that you maintained the sedentary lifestyle that you’re accustomed to. Sure, don’t get me wrong, many participants lost miraculous amounts of weight after taking it without exercising, but not 170 pounds.

So, how was I able to do it? I got my mind right. That can mean so many things for different people. For me, I was a 14 year, pack a day smoker and I liked wine. I guess you know how this ended. You cannot run races while hacking up a lung. The smoking had to go. Alcohol in all its splendor, is nothing but liquid sugar and fat. Sayonara!

It has been a five-year transformation. I had to exercise, make lifestyle changes and follow up with him every three months for the first four years to monitor my progress. I knew that if I wanted to lose the weight, I had to give up old habits and change my lifestyle. Being committed to something means being fully committed. You cannot dabble when you want to succeed at something. You already knew that and that is why you are reading this.

Losing 170 pounds was not easy. I had an amazing team of doctors, staff and family who helped me along the way. In that journey, I was able to touch lives that will inadvertently be changed for the better, and that is a great feeling. I wanted to share this story so everyone would know that there are options out there, but you must first seek them out. Surgery is expensive, and most insurances will only pay for it if it is medically necessary. I wish you the best of luck on your health and wellness journey. Always remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint.