WHO: Carla "Carley" Cooper
CITY: Barrie, Ont.
By The Numbers: 225 pounds at my heaviest, and currently 165, total weight loss 60 pounds
The Weight Gain: I grew up very skinny — so skinny that kids made fun of me in school. It was that way until college when I started eating more junk food and I gained some 20 pounds. At first I lost it when I worked in some factories doing hard physical work but later on as I started taking medication for my depression, I slowly gained a lot of weight.
When I was at my highest weight I was extremely tired all the time and I had no self-esteem. I went years without wearing nice clothes, jewelry or make-up because I felt I looked too ugly. I refused to shop in the plus-size department and as an overweight woman my health was on the decline. My cholesterol levels were high and my risk of diabetes as well as heart disease was elevated due to both my family history and my weight.
The Final Straw: My biggest motivation to lose weight was to help improve my mental health before it was too late. The driving force behind the reason I pushed myself so very hard through this process was fear. I have bipolar disorder and a social anxiety disorder.
At one point, I was living with a disabled man. My health was so bad that I often couldn't take care of myself, so he took care of me instead of the other way around. When I broke up with this man, I realized that I was about to land in the hospital in the mental health ward. I was terrified and thought I would never again see the light of day. I had gotten to the point where I didn't trust the medical industry to help me. I was newly single, alone and terrified of what was to become of me. My "ah-ha!" moment developed from this dark place. I had no choice but to do something to save myself before it was too late...because no one else was going to do it for me.
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