I have battled my weight ever since i graduated. I always remained at about a size 12-14 all thru school, then once i graduated i jumped to a 20-22. I started to get alot of pain in my back, neck, hips, and knees and i just brushed it off as the excess weight i was carrying. Tried many diets, and even went to a weight doctor for help with prescription medications. Still nothing helped. Tried eating weight watchers foods, even counted all calories. Still nothing. The more i tried the more i got depressed. the more i got depressed the more i ate, and gained. and the more i was physically hurting. Finally i went to my family doctor and he started me on antidepressants. I have battled depression since i was around 5 due to a traumatic sexual encounter but never thought it was a cause to my physical pain and weight gain. It seemed the more pain i had the more my stomach was upset and the more upset my stomach was the more i ate to keep it from hurting. and of course the more weight i gained. The doctor decided it was more to my ailments than depression alone and started me on a series of testing that lasted about 2 years. after about 2 months into this testing i woke up and could not move the pain in my neck was so severe that all i could do was scream every movement i made. i was treated with pain meds, muscle relaxers, and steroids. i finally got to where i could walk around and made it a point to do something about my weight assuming it was the cause. so i started into karate, and lost about 45 lbs but still continues to have pain. Finally the doctor after two years of feeling like something was wrong and there was no cure, diagnosed me with a muscular condition known as fybromyalgia and that i would eventually end up in a wheel chair. acutally giving me an age of 45. I at the time was only a young age of 25 said there is no way as long as i have any control of this am i going to end up in a wheel chair. I then quit all the medications i was on including the antidepressant (was on about 12 meds 3x a day) increased my exercise continued to eat everything i wanted to. I continued to lose weight and started feeling great. Then i tore the cartlige in my knee. That put an end to all my exercise for i didnt have insurance any longer and could not go to the doctor. i dealt with it for about a year and a half finally got some good insurance and had surgery on my knee. I had my surgery on april 6th of 2006, i went in for surgery weighing my highest weight of 233 lbs. 4 days after surgery i was walking again and even tho sore from surgery immediately noticed the difference in my pain. After 8 weeks of therapy i was given the ok to go back to firefighting and to go back to all of my athletic activities including karate and basketball my biggest loves of all. within 3 months of starting back into this i dropped 45 lbs and have finally dropped not only under 200 lbs but have been steady at 185 for the past year and a half. I dont eat anything special. we eat fast food almost every day, i just exercise, live happy by spending all the time i possible can with my man and my animals, and refuse to take prescription meds. I guess the motive of my story is that i never really had a big weight loss challenge because i was unhappy with my weight. But rather had a challenge to get to root of why i had a weight problem. I am still a little sore and stiff from the fybromyalgia but have learned that people can overcome any kind of challenge as long as the reason for the challenge is right. If you do it for the wrong reason its almost impossible to defeat the challenge.