Pre diagnosis…

My family has a history of obesity and undiagnosed lipedema. I have struggled with my weight my whole life but most notably, my body changed to pear shaped almost overnight around the time I got my first period at 11 years old.

In 2011 I reached my highest weight of 328 pounds and had weight loss surgery in an attempt to regain control of my body and my life.

I lost 164 pounds between December 2011 and November 2013 with strict diet and CrossFit 5-6 days per week. During that time I completely changed my mindset, habits and lifestyle and accomplished amazing things like completing 35 races including Spartans and Triathlons. I became a certified personal trainer and Healthy Lifestyle Coach, helping women who struggle with their weight to love themselves more, care for their bodies better and create sustainable habits that support their ideal life. I first learned about lipedema in 2014 in an article that was published in the Obesity Action Coalition’s newsletter. After reading the article, I was convinced I had lipedema but it seemed to be well controlled with diet and exercise, so I didn’t seek a diagnosis at that time.


In November 2014 I got pregnant, even before I had a positive test, I knew something was up. Almost overnight, it felt like my whole body’s composition changed. I gained 20 pounds in less than a month and the muscles I had seemed to disappear.

I miscarried in January, and even though I continued my workouts and healthy way of eating, my body didn’t seem to fully recover.

In September of 2015 I got pregnant again, and again, my body changed even more. Within 3 months of being pregnant my 328 pound shape began to appear again. Not the weight or size, but the shape, particularly the “butt shelf” which had almost vanished at my lowest weight.

Throughout my pregnancy I ate very well, and gained 40 pounds. After giving birth via C-section, I lost 20 pounds almost immediately, and lost another 8 pounds over the course of the following year—eating well, exercising often, and breastfeeding, but my lipedema-shape remained.

I got pregnant again in May of 2017 and gained 50 pounds during that pregnancy which also resulted in C-section.

I lost 20 pounds almost immediately. Again, just the typical pregnancy fluid/uterine lining stuff, but I struggled to lose more. My whole body had changed. It was like I was living in a smaller version of my 328 pound body.

I joined several lipedema support groups on Facebook and started reading about other women’s experiences, and learned about the doctors in the US and treatment options. I found comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone\ but also felt frustrated seeing women lose hope in themselves and their bodies and left the groups because they started to create those feelings in me, and I didn’t like it.

I had done a lot of work over the previous 6 years to find love, peace, and joy within myself and my body and I didn’t want to jeopardize that.



I hope you find the information in this series of posts helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.

<3 Andrea

Andrea Matthes

Body Image and Healthy Lifestyle Coach

Founder of I’mperfect Life, LLC.





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