The short answer is because I will do whatever it takes to improve my quality of life, but there’s more…

Growing up “fat”

At seven years old, I was the chubby kid– I don’t know why, I assume because I ate more calories than my body needed. We ate a lot of boxed dinners, pasta, cereal, and other processed foods. My mom was overweight, and my grandmother had fought her weight her whole life. I didn’t know my father, so I wasn’t sure what that half of my genes looked like, but from a very young age, I knew I was going to be “fat”.

I continued gaining weight at a steady pace throughout middle and high school, even though, again, I was very active. I wasn’t “sporty” but I was involved in theater, and spent most of my free time either on or back stage. My diet wasn’t stellar by any means, as I learned lots of bad eating habits growing up, but I’m not sure they were bad enough to create a 10-20 pound weight gain every year. (I stopped growing in height at 12 years old, leaving me at 5′ 1″)

At puberty my weight shifted. Despite being quite active, my legs grew and my torso shrunk. My body type was referred to as “bottom heavy”– a result of my short and stout Italian genes?

My weight continued to climb after school, due to worse eating habits and working sedentary jobs. I definitely ate way too much fast food, but also felt stuck in the cycle of diet-fail-repeat which played a huge role in reach my highest weight–but that’s a whole other topic.

In 2011, at 328lbs I decided that I needed to do something drastic, if I wanted to live to be 40, (I was 34 at the time) so I had weight loss surgery.

It took me almost two years to lose 164lbs and I had to fight HARD for every single ounce. I counted calories, did Whole 30, Keto, cleanses and more, while also doing CrossFit 5-6 times per week. I learned a lot about food, fitness and mindset during that time (which is why I started coaching other women on how to lose weight) but I was still left with a very “ugly” body, full of lumps and bumps and rolls behind my knees. The “fat” just wouldn’t go away.

I learned about Lipedema in 2014

Just before publishing a viral blog post called, “10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body” which inspired millions of women around the world to focus on what their bodies could do, rather than how they looked.

It took me nearly five years to start talking about lipedema publicly. Partly because I didn’t know enough about it, but also because I didn’t want to give women an excuse to give up on themselves, their bodies, and their quality of life. That’s still a huge part of my mission, and always will be, but as I’ve learned more about this disease and how it is affecting mine and other women’s lives…I’m coming out. Ta-da!

The toll Lipedema has taken these last few years…

In 2016 I gave birth to my first child via c-section. My body was a wreck.

Then I had my second child, also via c-section in 2018 which made that initial wreck look like a fender bender!

For the last 4 years my weight has stayed about the same (except during my 2nd pregnancy) but my body has gotten worse.

The rolls behind my knees keep growing, the saddle bags, and pillow of fat over my knees feel larger and heavier every day, and I recently learned that the chronic pain I have is…likely cause by fricken lipedema! WHAT?!

Do you know how many times I have been to the doctor begging for answers, only to be told that my blood work is normal? SO MANY! I even saw a Rheumatologist because I was convinced I had Rheumatoid Arthritis– nope. Super healthy!

I’m so healthy that my blood pressure is 112/68, my cholesterol is great, and my resting heart rate is 55. But my BMI…class II obesity. *insert eye roll*

So here I am almost 43 years old in a body that is cared for yet lives in a constant pain, and I’m extremely concerned with how much this disease will affect my quality of life as I get closer to menopause.

Fact: lipedema often progresses with each hormonal shift in a woman’s life. This has proven true for me with puberty and each of my pregnancies, which leaves me terrified of menopause.

I have seen my mom go through horrific changes to her body and quality of life over the last several years, especially since menopause.

She’s only 64 years old and is trapped in a body that keeps her from living a full and active life. The only reason she’s half as mobile as she is, is because she’s stubborn, prideful, and STRONG. I am in awe of her ability to keep going, but I also know that she is in constant pain, and at risk for things like cellulitis. I admire my mom, but I do not want to live like her.

So surgery it is! Because diet and exercise have not changed my fat, they have not changed my pain.

I am, fighting for myself, my body, and my quality of life. I’m not concerned with aesthetics. If fact, I’m fairly certain that my body will look worse than ever after all of these surgeries, but I don’t care.

My goal is to live a full and active lifestyle for as long as humanly possible in my body, which will hopefully be improved by having the diseased fat sucked out, one surgery at a time!

Lipedema is a fat disorder/disease that is believed to be hereditary. It is a degenerative disease that shows progression most often with hormonal changes– puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. It’s possible that hormonal birth control affects it too.

It’s also called the “painful fat disorder” as it causes the person to feel pain. The pain seems to differ from person to person, mine feels like deep aches, like I’ve just done 100 squats, even if I haven’t done a single squat in weeks. I also have joint pain, and when my fat is touched it feels like a bruise– which is the most common sensation in people with lipedema. You can learn more about it at 

CLICK HERE to read more about my lipedema experience.