Hair stylist Heather Oset got the scare of her life a couple years ago, when she was blow drying a client’s hair and started experiencing sharp chest pains and heart palpitations.
Hoping they’d would go away on their own, she worked through the pain and finished up with her client. But when the symptoms persisted, her husband took her to the hospital for some tests.
Heather weighed 356 pounds at the time but didn’t fully realize the severity of her situation. That day in the hospital was a terrifying wake-up call.
I remember feeling so embarrassed as they were literally taking my clothes off and putting all these wires and ekgs and I’m half naked in front of everyone. I felt like I hit rock bottom and all these thoughts in my head of, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to die,” and “I’m too young to die.”
Thankfully, it wasn’t a heart attack. Her body was revolting in another way. Her hormones were completely out of wack because of her weight and unhealthy lifestyle.
Heather’s unhealthy habits had started at a young age as a way to cope with a troubled home life.
My father was abusive and anytime something bad happened, I would run to the fridge and would eat whatever hostess cakes, snacks, pies, or cookies I could find, because they were his and I guess in my head that was my way of fighting back when I physically couldn’t. I never really talked about It to anyone. I just felt embarrassed and ashamed, so instead I would just eat my feelings and would continue to do so over the years.
In 2014, Heather fell in love and got married, and soon she and her husband planned to start a family. After her scare, however, the doctors told her pregnancy wouldn’t be possible unless she lost weight.
Being overweight caused other problems, too: She was dangerously close to becoming diabetic, and she suffered sleep apnea and back and leg pain, which made it difficult to stand at her work station for hours at a time.
“My weight was holding me back in every aspect of my life between family, work, and day to day activities,” said Heather, so she took the first step by making an appointment with a bariatric surgeon.
Heather made plans with the surgeon to undergo a procedure to reduce the size of her stomach. But before she could do that, she had to lose twenty pounds on her own.
I cut out all soda, made my lunch, and drank protein shakes for breakfast in the morning.
Last January, Heather finally had the surgery on a day she describes as “the start of the first day of the rest of my life.”
Still, it was up to her to maintain and improve upon her new body by sticking to a healthy diet and a new exercise routine. She started out simply walking but soon started doing water aerobics at the local YMCA, and the excess weight gradually started sloughing off.
Never did I think I would weigh 125lbs as of today! I’ve lost 231lbs total including the 20 I lost on my own right before surgery … I’m no longer a borderline diabetic, have hypertension, or sleep apnea and eventually I’ll be able to start my family one day.
She’s barely recognizable now!
And there’s no going back to gorging on sub sandwiches, pizza and greasy take-out, either. Anyone who works as a hairdresser has to have a creative streak in them, and Heather’s taken that creativity into the kitchen, tinkering with healthy recipes and adjusting the ingredients to suit her individual tastes.
I think that’s one thing that has really helped me with my weight loss journey is finding different/healthy ways to eat the things I used to love.
I hope to inspire others in their own journeys and just know that you’re not alone! That the impossible is possible, no matter how out of reach it seems in that moment.
Way to go, Heather! You look fabulous and serve as an inspiration to us all, that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Share to spread her can-do spirit!