Sarah Schmeider, 30, from Queensland, Australia, shares her true story.
Squeezing myself into the carriage, I looked at my friends in excitement. “I’m not scared!” I told them. A group of us had come to Movie World, an amusement park in Australia, to ride the roller coasters. I loved the thrill of flying upside down through the air.
But as the attendant came over to lower the security bar and make sure we were all strapped in safely, he looked concerned — the bar couldn’t lock over my bulging body. “Umm, can I get you to move to the back carriage?” he asked. My face instantly turned bright red with shame. Hauling myself out, I felt the other passengers glaring at me because we should have been whizzing around by now, but I’d held everyone up. Once I was in the new seat, the attendant once again struggled to click the bar over me. Other riders looked over their shoulders to see what the delay was as the attendant strained to close it. When it finally jolted forward, I felt no joy or excitement — just humiliation. I was 29 years old and weighed 299 pounds.
I’d struggled with my weight my whole life: I’d stuff myself with junk food and would do anything to avoid exercise. Although I’d married the man of my dreams, Broden, I was also hiding a shameful secret from him. Most days, when I finished work as an elementary school music teacher, I’d go to the store and buy chocolate and other unhealthy snacks. I’d eat everything and hide the wrappers before Broden arrived home from work. I was disgusted with myself, and the worse I felt, the more I’d gorge on unhealthy food — it was a vicious cycle.
Over the years, I’d tried every diet there is: I’d live off of soups for days or drink terrible-tasting lemon-flavored drinks. Sometimes I’d drop a few pounds, but the weight never stayed off for long. Broden was concerned for me and knew how unhappy I was, but he never criticized my body. “We could exercise together,” he suggested once. But just walking up a flight of stairs wore me out and my asthma meant that playing any sports was near impossible.
Me at Movie World — the day my problem really hit home. (Photo Credit:Now to Love)
In the classroom, if I was on my feet for too long, I had to sit down. Some of the other teachers were loud and animated, which made their classes exciting for the students, but I just felt lethargic. I worried it was rubbing off on the kids. I wished I could do more to motivate them, but I could hardly even motivate myself. Then, one day in class, a seven-year-old girl walked up to me and said, “Hello, Mrs. Fat.” She was smiling. I stared at her in complete shock, unable to reply.
She didn’t even realize she was being cruel, she was just being honest. I realized what the kids really thought of me. I spent the rest of the lesson in a daze, unable to get those two words out of my mind: Mrs. Fat. I was turning 30 soon, so on a whim, I joined the Cambridge Weight Plan, a weight-loss program in Australia, and a consultant talked me through how to transform my diet.
Schmeider before her weight loss. (Photo Credit:Now to Love)
My rich, creamy pastas and baked potatoes loaded with butter had to go. So did my stops to the store to get chocolate. I lost 11 pounds in the first week, and by the time my birthday rolled around two months later, I’d shed 37 pounds. I even refrained from eating any of my own cake.
It wasn’t just my diet that had changed — on weekends, Broden and I went walking on the trails in Australia. At first it was tough, but week by week, I managed to push on a little bit further. “I’m so proud of you,” Broden would say, as he wrapped me in a hug. Soon, I was down from a size 22 to a size 10 (in Australian sizes). I currently weigh 145 pounds — less than half my former body size.
Schmeider after her weight loss. (Photo Credit:Now to Love)
“Wow, miss, you’ve lost so much weight!” one student gasped when she walked into class. Many other students also congratulated me. The little girl who had made that comment all those months ago didn’t know it, but she’d been a big part in my motivation.
Now I’m full of energy in the classroom and plan on becoming a Cambridge weight consultant. I wish I’d changed my ways earlier, but I’m so grateful that I sought help when I did. No one has called me Mrs. Fat since, and it’s a name I hope I’ll never hear again.
This post was written by Mitchell Jordan. For more, check out our sister site Now to Love.