Diet & Weight Magazine

My Lifelong Struggle with Obesity and Weight Loss

By Beliteweight @BeLiteWeight

I’ve pretty much had a weight problem my entire life. You know the token chubby kid in school everybody makes fun of? Well, that was me. I mean, I wasn’t a nerd or anything, don’t get me wrong… but I wasn’t popular either. My weight has defined me my entire life, and looking back, that’s because I let it. I always got the “What a pig” and “Hey look, it’s Fatty McLARDerson” remarks from other students, and it really tore me apart.

I remember this one time in high school my best friend got me a Christmas gift, and when she was giving it to me one of the popular football players told her (in front my me, mind you), “If it’s not food, she’s not going to want it.” It really hurt. REALLY hurt. It sticks with me to this day. Even right now as I’m writing this I’m embarrassed by it. I actually kind of feel like the girl from Never Been Kissed saying how that part of her life didn’t define her. But did it? I don’t even know – I guess I just accepted it as the reality – the way things were “supposed” to be.

Lisa BEFORE Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Yep, this is me before gastric sleeve surgery.

I’m a teacher and bullying is the one thing that I won’t stand for (and I see a lot of ‘interesting’ things happen all the time… trust me). I’m really encouraged that the national media has been drawing more attention to both the prevalence and negative effects of bullying, but while hearing/reading about it is bad, going through it is infinitely worse.

Throughout college I continued my struggle with obesity. I was actually able to lose weight in small increments, but it was really just a roller coaster ride as I always managed to gain it right back. I always asked myself if I’d ever find my soul mate, if someone would actually fall in love with me. It’s sad I know, but it affected me everyday. I mean, who in their right mind would fall for a “Fatty McLARDerson” anyways?

But then I met my Prince Charming, the love of my life. My soul mate. He loved me for me, regardless of what I looked like. And that’s when it struck me that ANYTHING is possible. We got engaged and, as with most women, I already had my wedding planned to the tee. I knew what type of venue we would have our reception at; the colors of my bridesmaids’ dresses; what food would be served (with an open bar of course!); the floral arrangements and decorations – everything. And I also knew what wedding dress I wanted to wear.

The problem? I was too big to wear it. But when my husband came into my life he completely re-energized me. He loved me for me, not for how skinny or overweight I was. His love and support helped me turn my ‘problem’ of fitting into that wedding dress into a challenge. And I was determined to do so.

In March of 2011 I decided to get gastric sleeve surgery through BeLiteWeight. My two guardian angels through the process were Jamie and Sharon, and anyone who has gotten weight loss surgery with BeLiteWeight knows exactly how amazing they are. It’s been a year and a half since I had the surgery and I have lost over 105 pounds. I look great, feel great, am more social now than before, and, most importantly, I’m truly happy. (I’m smiling as I write this right now!!) Weight loss surgery completely changed my life. I personally feel like one of the biggest challenges of weight loss is believing that you deserve it… that you deserve to be a healthier you… that, if you’re ready, you CAN make the choice to change your life.

Lisa AFTER Gastric Sleeve Surgery with BeLiteWeight

Notice a difference?


Throughout this year I’ve been losing more weight, but my biggest accomplishments have been at the gym. I can run a 9:30 mile WITHOUT walking. I can rock the stair master for 40 minutes straight. I can get down in Zumba class and not feel embarrassed. I can do a TWO-hour spin class!

The bottom line? I can do anything I set my mind to. Why? Because I finally convinced myself that I was worth it. If you drop all of your excuses and lose the defeatist mentality, you really can turn your life around. And when you do, the world is YOURS!

You might be wondering why I’m writing this. Well, for starters, it’s to let you know that you’re not alone. There are millions upon millions of obese people in the US, and many have accepted their weight as the reality of their life. But the important thing is to not let it define you, to not let it get in the way of actually living your life to the fullest. I wrote this for the cute little 10-year-old girl dreaming about her future wedding, but scared that her weight will never let it happen. It’s for the kid who gets bullied because he’s gay. It’s for the less fortunate kid who thinks they’ll never be able to afford their dreams.

Well, always remember: people will never define you. You define yourself.

I recently got news that I was going to be on the cover of Bridal Magazine and I totally freaked out. ME?!?! The same person who could barely make it up a flight of stairs? The same person who was a size 24? The SAME “Fatty McLARDerson” who was always made fun of growing up??

Lisa Greenbauer After Her Gastric Sleeve Surgery with BeLiteWeight

Somebody pinch me, because this can't be real!

I like to think of life as a dance, with the people who are comfortable with themselves and who aren’t defined by outside perception as the ones who have the most fun and come out on top. Life is about confidence, be it at work, with friends and family or in a completely foreign environment. When you’re comfortable and truly happy with who you are and what you believe in, you’ll have the confidence to take life by the horns and tackle any challenges that are thrown at you. That’s the truth.

And you know what I still think of to this day? That football player who completely tore me down in high school. You know where he is now? I don’t even care.

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