At age 50, after quitting smoking, Susan Fairchild found herself at 240 pounds; more than 100 pounds over her ideal weight. As a result, she developed metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes and high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. She tried all the diets – Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Sugar Busters, Weight Watchers (three different times) – and a dozen others. Nothing worked.
Ceci Findley was overweight all her life, but didn’t consider gastric bypass surgery until after her youngest child was born. At 273 pounds, Findley had asthma and borderline high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. She was both unwell and uncomfortable.
“I used to be paranoid about the amount of space my body would use up,” Ceci said. “I couldn’t sit in the backseat of the car with my kids or do anything physical with them.”
The numbers crept up slowly over many years, but one day Craig Howdeshell got on the scale and discovered he weighed 315 pounds. He also had two different kinds of sleep apnea and a rare swallowing disorder called achalasia, which made food stay in his esophagus so he was constantly hungry, contributing to even more weight gain).
“Finding clothing that big was kind of depressing,” Craig remembers.