By Alyce Collins
THIS MUM was cruelly mocked and called ‘fat’ by her own son when she tipped the scales at TWENTY-ONE STONE after pregnancy, but she’s had the last laugh since shedding almost HALF her body weight.
Medical coder, Schauna Harshman (35) from North Dakota, USA, grew up feeling ashamed of her weight and was often teased by her peers at school. This left her constantly feeling defeated and she pegged herself as the fat, ugly friend.
When she fell pregnant in 2004, Schauna used this as an excuse to eat and drink whatever she pleased, without paying any regards to her weight. Pregnancy saw Schauna gain four stone and two pounds, taking her weight to 15st 7lb when her eldest son, Mason (15) was born. Life as a new mother didn’t help Schauna’s weight as she didn’t take care of herself. She only ate a lot of fried food, processed meals, fast food and pasta.
From then on, Schauna continued to gain weight with her following two pregnancies. She welcomed her second son Chase (11) in January 2008 and then her youngest, Logan (10) was born in July 2009. By the time she delivered Logan, Schauna’s weight was 21st 1lb and she was a UK size 28.
When Chase was three years old, he started mocking Schauna by calling her fat, which she admits felt like ‘rock bottom’ for her and pushed her to see that she needed to improve her lifestyle. She began researching weight loss surgeries and she decided upon the lap band – a band placed around the top of the stomach to create a smaller stomach. In March 2013 she went ahead with surgery and has been amazed at the results since.
Surgery helped Schauna to lose more than five stone initially, but she has also tried numerous diets to encourage her weight loss through nutrition. She has tried the low carb diet, keto, shake only diets, and she is now a healthy 11st 2lb and wears UK size 12 clothing.
“I have memories of being made fun of on the school bus, coming home crying and not wanting to go back. I also remember wearing Spanx under my clothes at school while all my friends were skinny and pretty. I was the ugly fat friend,” said Schauna.
“I got pregnant at 18 and used that as an excuse to eat and drink whatever I wanted. I gained more than four stone during my first pregnancy. From there I just kept gaining weight with each child.
“During my first pregnancy I was eating fast food like Taco Bell and Wendy’s, I was obsessed with fries and I was regularly drinking Mountain Dew. Mason was born in October 2004 and as a new mum I most definitely didn’t take care of myself.
“I was making quick and easy processed meals. I was very uneducated about nutrition as I’d grown up eating meat and potatoes, with a lot of canned foods. I never ate anything fresh or homemade, so I carried that on as a mother.
“When I delivered my third son, I was twenty-one stone and one pound, yet he was the smallest baby. It was the hardest pregnancy I had because I was hyper aware that I was already big, and my doctor told me that I shouldn’t gain too much weight with him. I developed high blood pressure while I was pregnant and had a few scares. I was also very uncomfortable and had a lot of back and hip pain.
“I went from 15 and a half stone in my first pregnancy to over 21 stone at the end of my third. With Logan, I was induced three weeks early because of my blood pressure.
“I knew people were looking at me, thinking ‘woah, she’s big’, and I’d try to ignore it but couldn’t. I didn’t leave my house much, if I did, I’d wear jeans and hoodies, even in the summer.
“It makes me sad that I don’t have many pictures with my sons when they were little because I refused to be in them.”
For a long time, Schauna had been fed up of her weight and hated how she looked and felt, but she struggled to see any way of changing her circumstances. However, after looking into bariatric surgery and learning how a lap band around her stomach would force her to eat smaller portions, she felt positive that this would help her.
Since surgery, Schauna has improved her diet and now eats eggs, chicken and turkey for protein, nuts, protein shakes and vegetables with every meal.
“One day, my middle son was making fun of me, calling me fat and laughing about it. I was fed up of my weight but to hear my son, who loves me, make fun of me that way, I’d had enough. That was my rock bottom” she said.
“I was angry and emotional. Of course, he had no idea the impact it had on me as he was only three. I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying. Asking myself how I was going to fix the problem.
“I told him that it’s not funny to call people fat and laugh about it. He could see I was really upset and he felt sad when he saw I was crying.
“Almost immediately, I began researching weight loss surgery. I set up a consultation with a bariatric surgeon and we went over the options. I had to do a visit with a personal trainer to learn how working out is important. I also had to prove that I could lose some weight before my surgery, which I did! I was 17 stone when I went for surgery.
“Having the lap band, makes you eat slower, smaller bites, and you pause in between to make sure your bites pass through the band, so ultimately you end up eating less.
“Within a month I joined the gym and I started doing the bike and the cross-trainer. I remember only being able to do 10 minutes when I first started, but I was proud of myself for being the big girl at the gym and I wasn’t ashamed to be in the gym anymore.
“Over the years I’ve tried various diets, including shakes, fasting, low carb and keto. I lost most of my weight after surgery and through working out. For a good few years I was stuck around 12 stone and knew I had to try something else. So, in October 2018 I started a low carb lifestyle mixed with protein shakes.
“In January 2019 I started the keto lifestyle. I spent some time researching and following accounts and decided to give it a try. That’s when I made my @lowcarb.godess Instagram account and started documenting my journey.
“Through keto I learned that it’s about maintaining a lifestyle rather than constantly shedding, so I switched to macro counting, which is what I’m currently doing and I feel amazing.
“My friends and family are so proud of me and I’m so thankful for their support. It’s given me a real drive to keep going and to show people that you can do anything you put your mind to. I’m a mum of three so I’m constantly running around after my sons, I work full time and still manage to track my food, eat homemade meals and work out every day. Anyone who sees that I can do it can know that they can too.”
To see more, visit www.instagram.com/lowcarb.godess