Two Women. Two Weight Loss Stories. One Written Pieceof Collective Wisdom.
Introducing Heather Moore – wife to Greg, bonus mom to Peyton and Molly, elementary school counselor and more!
In 2019, just before the pandemic, Moore finished her master’s degree and was making plans to get married. Like everyone else during that time, life was in full swing. Then the unthinkable happened – a global pandemic that crushed all our plans in many ways.
“Like many others during that time, I turned to food,” said Moore. “I ate and I gained, gained, gained! When I reached the heaviest weight I’d ever been in my life, I began looking into surgery.”
Moore said the pivotal change point for her was when a photographer came to her front porch to take pictures during quarantine. “I couldn’t find anything to wear that fit,” Moore said.
“I was always an active person who loved going and doing! I loved being out with the kids, attending events, walking, and hiking, but it hurt to do it too much. I look back and didn’t feel vibrant. I didn’t feel good and that didn’t match up with my mind and will. That’s when I looked into surgery.”
Moore says any surgical weight loss program is never to be entered into lightly. Surgical candidates are required to complete a rigorous prerequisite period that includes psychiatric evaluations, constant meetings with dietician(s) and surgeon(s), and a proven track record of no weight gain for approximately six months prior to surgery. After successful completion of the six-month prerequisite period, Moore had surgery Aug. 30, 2021, at Kings Daughters Medical Center.
“My highest weight was 305 pounds and the day of surgery I weighed in at 290 pounds,” Moore said. “The first week I lost 15 pounds. Then, I lost five to eight pounds a week on average. After a while, I leveled off to two-three pounds per week, and now, I’m at one pound per week. At first, it’s a dramatic drop. Then it levels off,” said Moore.
By six months post-surgery, Moore had lost 79 pounds and experienced a stall. Her surgeon told her it was time to get her workout regimen going. “I started to focus on group classes, where myself and others could support and push each other.”
Moore says she is beholden to her Apple watch. “I want those rings closed,” she said smiling.
“My endurance wasn’t there before, but now, I feel like a healthier me. The surgery was never about me being prettier, but it was about me being healthier, and I am committed to reaching my goal.”
To date, Moore has lost 82 pounds overall, leaving her at 208 pounds currently. Her goal weight is 180 pounds – “a number I’ve not seen since I was 13-years-old.”
Meet Meredith Calhoun – wife to Doug, Mom to Isaac and Delaney, daughter, friend, athletic trainer and more.
When Calhoun moved back to the area in 2004 after completing her master’s degree at the University of Mississippi, she had no idea she’d spend her life helping others recover from injuries from start to finish.
Calhoun has been an athletic trainer and teacher at West Carter High School for 18 years.
“My job has always been about building relationships with the kids and helping them get to where they want to be,” Calhoun said.
Little did she know after some time, she would embark on another relationship where she would help another get to where they wanted to be – herself.
“I’ve struggled with weight my entire life,” Calhoun said. “I’ve never not been overweight. I’ve lost and gained throughout my entire life, and I reached a point where I needed to do something that was actually effective instead of yo-yoing.”
Calhoun said she had several co-workers who had the surgery, and after years of thinking it over, doing research, and talking to others about their experiences, she decided it was time.
“Before I did anything surgical, I needed to know this would be a long-term lifestyle change and that led me first to counseling.”Through seeking counseling on her own, Calhoun said she was able to get to the root of her weight issues mentally and emotionally.
On Oct. 26, 2020, Calhoun had surgery at the Georgetown Bariatric Center located in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Her highest weight was 330 pounds on the day of her surgery. The first month she lost 30 pounds. The second month she lost 15 pounds and from there, she lost ten pounds every month till the first-year anniversary. Calhoun says she is still seeing changes. Now, she loses another ten pounds about every three months.
Calhoun says it was important for her to lose weight to be healthy, not skinny.
“That’s part of the reason I chose to have surgery at the Georgetown Bariatric Center. They have a machine that tells you what percent of body mass, muscle mass and bone weight you have throughout the process. This tells the clinicians where your weight loss is coming from, “she said.
Calhoun says hitting a goal weight doesn’t mean you’re healthy if it comes from muscle.
“I didn’t want to go from one disordered way of thinking to another. I wanted to adopt a healthy relationship with food and weight loss. So, knowing where the weight I am losing is coming from is vital.”
Throughout her weight loss journey, Calhoun also stumbled onto a little-known-about disease called lipedema. Lipedema is a chronic medical condition characterized by a symmetric buildup of adipose tissue (fat) in the legs and arms.
“Lipedema is hereditary and can be responsible for stagnant weight loss, “she said. “I’m about to participate in a clinical trial, not for myself but for my daughter. Many women don’t realize that it isn’t their fault when they get cannot lose any more weight. I don’t want my daughter to struggle the way I have with it.”
Calhoun is hopeful that through clinical trials and research studies, more information on lipedema will be available to clinicians, patients and insurance companies.
“Through CAT scans, ultrasounds and other studies, doctors are trying to figure out the best diagnostic way to diagnose this disease. If we can figure out a way to diagnose, insurance companies will have no choice but to cover a condition that can be proven,” she said.
To date, Calhoun has lost a total of 137 pounds.
“Right now, I am at 190 pounds. I realize my current weight may be some women’s starting weight, but everyone must start somewhere and I’m happy to share my story. I’m not ashamed of it, and if someone else can benefit, it’s worth it.”