Story of Hope
It's All About Attitude: Cass Lang Changed Hers and Continues to Find Success
At 28 years of age, Cass realized that she was fighting a losing battle with obesity.
"Since I was a young child I witnessed both my mother and grandmother cycling with extreme weight loss and weight gain," she says.
She also recalls them suffering from other medical problems associated with obesity, causing emotional, physical and financial stress throughout their lives. Watching them struggle, Cass confesses that she developed eating issues of her own.
"I alternated between starving myself, working out like a freak, popping diet pills and receiving comfort from boxes of Milk Duds," she admits. "These were behaviors that did not maintain a healthy weight."
Consequently, Cass's weight began to spiral out of control.
"I pushed back to reclaim my boundaries, only to find that the next bump on the road knocked me down yet again," she says.
Over the course of 10 years, Cass went from weighing 118 pounds to 270 pounds.
"I have a lot of clothes in my closet, some of which I have never worn," she explains. "They come with a lot of memories, but you cannot tie your self-esteem to a clothing size."
Remembering that she felt the same way about herself at 118 pounds as she did at 270 pounds, Cass adds, "The simple truth is if you don't like yourself, the weight part does not matter. I firmly believe I had to get that heavy [270 pounds] because only when my weight reached this critical point was I truly forced to be honest with myself about eating issues and my own sense of self-worth."
Cass believes that she used weight as an excuse to not fully live her life. When things were not going right, it was easy to hide behind her weight. She was accustomed to being haunted by questions: "Why doesn't the guy I like, like me back?" "Why did someone else get the promotion?" The list of questions went on and on.
"Because the truth is I didn't see myself as worthy of anything," she explains. "I was uncomfortable with myself and I did not want people to see me. Why else would I put a 150-pound cocoon around myself? I had to become comfortable with people seeing the real me.
"For those who are prone to being heavy, becoming thin requires a lot of bravery," Cass adds emphatically. "It is all about self-esteem and self-worth."
Cass reports trying a myriad of diets. From Jenny Craig to Atkins to South Beach to Weight Watchers, she says the problem she faced with these programs was that none of them were going to be a permanent part of her life.
"I tried and tried to lose weight; if it was out there I have tried it, more than once," she says. "What is permanent in my life is stress, the curve balls life throws my way, and the women I keep seeing in the mirror. I could not use someone else's plan. I needed one of my own."
Along the journey, Cass says she forgave herself for not taking better care of herself. She states that it was also very important that she forgave the people who "started her on the path in the first place."
"I also realized that the statute of limitations for [complaining] about what my mom did or did not do right for me had expired if I wanted to get on with my life and deal with an addiction for poor food choices," she explains.
Knowing the time had arrived for her to take care of herself, Cass used every possible resource possible to manage her lifelong weight issues. Prior to having weight loss surgery at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, she also did a lot of emotional homework on dealing with life without turning to food.
"I learned in therapy that there are some issues you are never completely done with; you pick it up, you put it down, and work on it a little at time," she says.
Though she used to waltz around issues, Cass says she now makes decisions and stands by them for better or worse, moving forward with life's challenges. As a result, she sees a huge difference in her life today.
Once believing that everything she wanted was needed, Cass says that her wants naturally take care of themselves as long as she pays attention to what she needs.
"Weight loss surgery is not what I had wanted to do," she says. "It is what I needed to do for myself. I struggled going into surgery with feeling like I failed myself not being able to fix this on my own, but I also realize that thought process was limiting me from moving forward. It's never weak to ask for help."
During the past six months, not only has Cass gained a new attitude about life but has lost 107 pounds, causing her to see her toes again and get out of bed without assistance. She happily gets dressed for dinner without seemingly having to try on thousands of dresses.
"Seeing my girlfriends does not make me want to cry any more of embarrassment," she says. "It turns out that the cocoon weighed a lot more than 150 pounds."
Cass is aware that she cannot get back the days she missed earlier in life but, she says, "I am not going to miss out on the days to come knowing fully well that attitude is the accessory no outfit can do without."
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All photos courtesy of Cassaundra Lang
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
Posted January 2012