At Pride Socks, we are a proud sponsor of the Texas Roller Derby and have been for the last 3 years. In those 3 years, we have gotten to know Sarah, aka Greta Ground-n-Pound. Over the course of time, we have seen her take charge of her health but did not know the story behind her journey. After learning her story, we asked her to share it, as we know many can relate and will be inspired by her. Her story in her own words…
We all have our own special talents and skill sets. Mine is the ability to eat an entire large Mr. Gatti’s pizza all by myself; at least once a week with a 20 ounce bottle of Coca Cola to wash it down. It’s okay if you’re not jealous. This particular skill is only useful in a pizza eating contest, and oddly enough, I have never participated in one of those.
My weight loss journey began at 220 lbs, made a quick stop at 135 lbs, bounced back up to 201 lbs, and is now hovering in the 155 lb range. I made the rounds through the fads of the time – Slim Fast, Atkins, workout DVDs, etc. I was not able to make any of that work for me. I decided to consult with a weight loss surgeon. At 5’3″ and 220 lbs, I well into the “Obese” range. And with the history of diabetes in my family, I had no problem qualifying for lab band surgery. In February of 2007, I went in for the surgery. For those not familiar, the lap band is an adjustable band around the stomach that helps you to feel full faster and longer. What I didn’t fully realize before surgery was how easy it is to cheat the band, and that the amount of food you consume is irrelevant if you are just filling yourself up with junk. For the first year and a half the weight came off quickly as my body was essentially “in shock” from the change. I was down to about 145 lbs at the end of 2008 when I went through a nasty break up. Boom 135 lbs, just like that. As it goes with break ups, I recovered.
I owe much of that recovery to joining Texas Roller Derby. Between the physical activity and the network of girlfriends, I began to heal. Unfortunately in 2009, my first full year in the league, I had some unrelated health issues that resulted in the loss of an ovary and fallopian tube. I’ve never really wanted to have children, but the loss of half of my reproductive organs was incredibly difficult for me. I am an emotional eater, and I was feeling some serious emotions. I continued with roller derby as soon as my body was well enough to take the hits again, but my weight was on a steady climb up the scale.
In the summer of 2012, I decided that I was done being overweight. I wasn’t doing myself or my team any favors by being heavy. My self-esteem was not great, and I was frequently depressed. I had to change my life. I began to use my lap band as it was supposed to be used. I started measuring out my food portions, tracking my calories and exercise, and raising my level of activity. The Couch to 5K app became my best friend, and in April of 2013, I ran my first 5K. A far cry from the girl who used to stay home from school on days when we had to run the mile. I started pushing myself harder at roller derby practice. And after being a fan of the UFC for almost a decade, I decided it was time to learn a little more about this sport that I love. I joined a mixed martial arts gym and began grappling and kickboxing. Every pound I lost made me that much more excited to lose another.
I’m so very proud of the hard work that I’ve put in. I’m grateful to those who have supported me. I’ve been thin before, but I’ve never been as fit as I am now. And I’ve never been as emotionally healthy as I am now. After losing almost 50 lbs in the last year and a half, I don’t have a firm weight goal anymore. My goal is to build more muscle. I’m currently recovering from shoulder surgery, but I’m staying active with running, walking, and various workout DVDs. Zumba and bellydancing are my favorite. The journey continues, and I’m excited to see where it takes me!