She felt like she was a skinny person trapped in an obese body. Candi desperately wanted to exercise, she desperately wanted to keep up with her friends, and she desperately wanted to live a healthy life, but despite her efforts, it didn't happen. She was constantly in pain and she found herself turning down invitations because she was ashamed of how she looked. At times, she even had to buy maternity clothes just so she could get something to fit.
Candi had developed what she referred to as a "toxic relationship" with food. It was always there to comfort her when she needed it...but it was also her biggest problem. "I always overdid it," she said, "it got to the point where I would feel sick after almost every meal."
Her tipping point came when her doctor told her she would have to start taking blood pressure medication. Candi wasn't even 30 at the time. She refused to resign herself to a life filled with pain and extra medications. Candi began researching weight-loss surgery programs. A coworker of hers recommended the Comprehensive Obesity Management Program (COMP) at GBMC and Candi decided to follow the recommendation. That was the beginning of what she calls her "second chance at life."
Candi had gastric sleeve surgery in September 2015. Since then, her life has completely turned around. Within a year, Candi began attending social events again and dancing during concerts. She finally feels beautiful in the clothing she wears. Never before had she fit into brand name clothing — now she buys right off the rack. She has shaken the stereotype that she is lazy or simply doesn't care about herself.
In all, Candi has lost more than 150 pounds and is living the active life she always wanted. She enjoys swimming and recently completed two 5K races. "Not only did I get my health back, I gained a whole new family in the COMP support group." The support she has received throughout her journey has made all the difference in the world. Candi now writes a weight-loss blog chronicling her experience and sharing lessons she has learned along the way. She goes by the motto: “She believed she could, so she did.” More than anything, Candi wants to help others who were struggling as much as she was. "I feel proud of myself for the first time in my life. It's the best decision I've ever made."
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