After another desperate attempt to lose weight failed, Mallory Buettner had an emotional breakdown at her doctor’s office before she finally got up the courage to completely transform her life.
“I had a meltdown in my doctor’s office and that was when they recommended surgery,” she said in an interview.
“I hated the idea at first. I thought I didn’t need surgery, it seemed like the easy way out,” she revealed.
Mallory, a primary teacher, from Quinte West, Ontario, weighed almost 400 lbs at the time.
Her weight had been a lifelong struggle
She struggled with her weight since she was a child and was eight years old when she went on her first diet.
My mum always made an effort to feed me lean meals when I was little, but I liked to eat chips, pizza and pop.
At 10 years old, she weighed 200 lbs which later climbed up to 285lbs when she turned 18.
No matter how many diets or exercise programs she tried, Mallory wasn’t able to get a handle on her weight and by the time she graduated university, she hit 367lbs.
She tried a diet–but without results
Determined not to give up on losing weight, Mallory tried a new diet.
“It was an extreme diet where I ate only 500-800 calories a day. It was terrible but I lost 80lbs and I was so happy,” said Mallory.
Unfortunately, the weight came back after she bought a house and could no longer afford the program anymore.
That type of restriction is really so hard on your body. When I tried to have a more balanced diet with whole foods, it just began to creep back on.
The biggest decision of her life
Discouraged, Mallory consulted her doctor who suggested she get gastric bypass surgery.
“I thought I could lose weight again naturally as I had done it before. I was so upset and I rang my sister crying,” she remembered.
“She was so supportive and told me to go for it. She knew I had always eaten well and tried to be active but nothing was working.”
In the end, I had to swallow my pride.
Following the doctor’s recommendation and a consult in November 2013, she booked her surgery for the coming May.
Mallory, who was newly-engaged at the time, unexpectedly found herself having to choose between her health and her relationship.
“The surgery was scheduled for two months before the wedding,” she remembered.
He wasn’t supportive and liked things the way they were. I think he thought I wouldn’t love him after I lost weight.
After everything she’d been through, Mallory chose to focus on her journey.
“We called off the wedding days before the date and never spoke again. It was the hardest thing but I had to choose to be happy.”
Sacrificing love paid off in other ways
Her surgery was a success, and she began losing weight.
“It just shows how desperate I was. I just couldn’t do it by myself,” Mallory admitted.
”I think that’s why I have been so open with it because I know how hard it is to ask for help.”
Complications did not deter her
There were some complications following the operation when Mallory had to get a hematoma removed through emergency surgery, but at this point, nothing could stop her.
Once she reached her goal weight of 185lbs, she decided to get 10 lbs of excess skin removed, to complete her transformation.
Initially the sagging skin was a badge of honour – it showed how far I had come.
“I had a goal of 185lbs but my surgeon didn’t think I would get under 230lbs. I proved them wrong and I was at a weight I could live a life that I loved,” she continued.
In the end, she realized she no longer wanted the constant reminder and decided to have surgery to get rid of it.
Her goal is to help others on a similar journey
Through her inspiring journey, Mallory learned to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regularly exercise.
“It has not been easy that’s for sure. I now know that surgery is hard and recovery is much harder. I’ve made sacrifices and it is not the easy way out like I thought,” she said.
She hopes her story inspires others struggling to lose weight to recognize that they are worth the effort.
As a teacher it was important to be able to have the energy to keep up with the kids. Now they struggle to keep up with me.
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