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Michelle's Weight Loss Story

Hiiiiiii, my name is Michelle, I'm a 33 year old dog mom, I have a boyfriend, I travel for work often, and I'm on a journey of learning lifelong healthy eating habits and incorporating a long term fitness regime.
This is the story of how I got to where I am today...

When I was 6 years old, my father died, and I was immediately put into counseling. At these weekly meetings, my mom went to the adult session and I went with the rest of the kids affected by the same trauma into a separate room.

They fed us McDonalds, every single time we met. There would be cheeseburgers, hamburgers, fries, apple pies, and soda. I was 6, and I'm pretty sure I ate one of each of those items. I learned bad habits on my own at a young age, and I started using food as a coping mechanism.

I want to clarify that my mother fed me healthy food and she never overfed me. I snuck food behind her and everyone else's back. I would hide food wrappers and dishes under my bed until the coast was clear to get rid of the evidence. I was an extreme private eater.
When I was 16, I had a job and a car. I did what any normal teenager would do late at night on the weekends - go to Taco Bell in private and order at least 4 items.

Luckily I played water polo and was on the swim team, so I was able to burn many of the calories that I was consuming, but I was still the biggest person on the team (5'9" 200-220 lbs).

My first job was at Baskin Robbins, and I was allowed one item off the menu every day... plus all the samples you could think of. I easily gained 50 lbs while working there.
By the time I was 19, I was 270 lbs... I tried to lose weight via the Atkins Diet, Pilates, Slim Fast shakes, etc. It all worked in the short-term, but I was never consistent or disciplined enough to continue on longer than a month. I would lose 20 lbs, but then turn right back around and gain it all back, plus some.

There had been many times throughout my 20's that I had a nutritionist or a personal trainer, but I would only exercise once a week when I saw them. I wouldn't workout on my own.

By the time I was 29, I was 350 lbs with a BMI of 52 and a body fat percentage of 55%.

I was tired of losing a small amount of weight, just to gain it back due to my addiction to food. I began researching weight loss surgery via the worldwide web. I started watching YouTube vlogs of people who had had the surgery and gave updates on their weekly, monthly, yearly progress.

I then went to my health insurance provider and they gave me guidelines I had to follow in order to get a surgery date:
  • Attend a weight loss surgery seminar where the surgeons and past successful patients spoke.
  • Meet with one of the hospital's bariatric surgeons and decide on which surgery to have.
  • Meet with the hospital's bariatric nutritionist several times to go over the pre- and post-op diet. 
  • Meet with a behavioral psychologist to discuss my relationship with food among other things.
All of the above meetings were sent into my health insurance for approval.  The amount of time from the first seminar, to the day of surgery was approximately 90 days. 

I was scheduled for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy on August 18th, 2014.  I had to do a 2-week all liquid pre-op diet which consisted of protein shakes, sugar-free Jello, sugar-free popsicles, and low sodium broth.

I lost 28 lbs. during those 2 weeks, bringing me to 322 lbs the day of surgery.

At 6 months post op, I was down 92 lbs from my highest weight.  Around this time I started an exercise routine - I was walking/hiking at least 6 miles a day and seeing a personal trainer once a week.  I was not satisfied until my Fitbit read 15,000 steps by the end of the day.

At 12 months post-op, I had lost 115 lbs. They say that when one has weight loss surgery, it's best if they lose as much weight as possible in the first year, because after that, the weight loss slows down significantly.  

I eventually reached 125 lbs down in January 2016, around the same time I completed my first half-marathon. Finishing those 13.1 miles gave me the greatest feeling of accomplishment.

Sadly enough, my zest for physical activity died out soon after that, and I gained a good 10 lbs in the span of 10 months - not terrible, but still not the best case scenario.

In October 2016, I received a job promotion which moved me 1,000 miles away from my hometown of Los Angeles, CA... to Boise, Idaho, where I knew no one.

During my first year of living in Boise, I gained 35 more pounds from drinking too many fancy coffee beverages, drinking wine with my new coworkers every weekend, and eating out A LOT.

During my freefall into weight gain, I deleted my Instagram account, which had 17k followers at the time, because I couldn't bare to show my face in the weight loss community. Some people held me on a pedestal and I was ashamed of what I let happen to myself, so I disappeared.
Fast forward to October 2017... At this point, I was up 45 lbs from my lowest and nowhere near the goal I never actually reached. I was disgusted with myself and I knew I needed to make changes FAST. I received an Apple Watch as a gift and a new Nokia Body+ Scale. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 10 lbs within the first 6 weeks. Then Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, and New Years hit, and I gained 5 lbs. back.

It seemed like a never ending cycle.

Late January 2018, I had to go on a 2-week long business trip to Maine, in the dead of winter. I decided to pack an entire carry on suitcase full of activewear and my Nikes. I ended up working out every single day I was in Maine. I created a habit, a good one!

When I returned to Boise, I bought a gym bag, and I decided that I was going to finally utilize the FREE gym we have at work. I've made it a point to be up by 5:30 AM every weekday, arrive at the (work) gym by 6:30 AM, workout for an hour+, then get ready for work in the locker room.

I've also gone back to meal prepping and planning my meals for the entire week. I feel this is the best way to keep myself on track and know exactly what it is that I'm putting in my body. Needless to say, I've lost 20 lbs. of that dreaded regain, with many more pounds to go, but it will happen in due time.

I am NOT giving up this time, and I am NOT back sliding again.
If you've taken anything away from this, just know you are not alone, and if I can do this, you can too.
Michelle Robbins
Instagram: @michsleeved


  • Michelle, you are amazing!! Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you the best of luck as you continue on your journey.

    Lindsey Watkins
  • Michelle! Your story is not only impowering but inspiring as well! I’m proud of you for sharing the TRUE reality of what can happen after the “honeymoon” phase. I’m proud that you’ve come back to Instagram and taking control of your life again. Food will not control YOU! Keep pushing forward and fighting!

  • Wow Michelle!! What a story/journey. I am so proud of you. You look fantastic and you got this. Keep up the spirit.


    Helen Jarvis

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