A morbidly obese woman in Ohio couldn’t lose weight despite dieting and exercise has revealed the surprising diagnosis that inhibits her fat loss.
Jess Cisco, who weighed 245 pounds at her peak, spent 12 months swapping burgers and pizza for chicken, cottage cheese and evenings at the gym — but couldn’t lose a single pound.
Convinced something was wrong, she was referred for hospital scans that showed the 32-year-old had multiple cysts on her ovaries.
The pus-filled sacs can cause weight gain by releasing extra estrogen, the female sex hormone that stimulates appetite and promotes the accumulation of more fat cells.
But despite her condition, Ms. Cisco has lost more than 100 pounds following gastric bypass surgery.
Jesse Cisco, 32, a mental health nurse in Columbus, Ohio, struggled to lose weight for a year despite changing her diet and starting to exercise. (Left: at 245 pounds). But after doctors found ovarian cysts that could hinder weight loss by interfering with hormones, she underwent a gastric bypass and now weighs just 144.6 pounds.
Ms Cisco said she has now also dropped from dress size 20 to dress size four, more than a year after gastric bypass surgery
Ms. Cisco said she often bingeed and then starved herself — eating 5,000 calories one day and less than 1,000 the next.
Her obesity had reached a point where she suffered from fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and pain in her foot, which made it difficult for her to move.
But when a doctor told her she was now so big that she would have trouble conceiving, Ms. Cisco decided she wanted to take a different tack.
“Almost everyone in my family is morbidly obese and chronically ill, and I quickly fell into the same category,” she said.
“As I continued to gain weight, my blood work dropped to critical levels for my cholesterol and liver panels, my blood pressure was consistently dangerously high, and I had such severe acid reflux that I woke up every night in pain.
“Because of my weight, I have isolated myself socially, even from loved ones. I hated going out in public because I didn’t want anyone to see me like that.’
She launched herself into a new, healthy lifestyle that included choosing nutritious meals, going to the gym, and receiving therapy.
But after a whole year, the scale hadn’t dropped a pound.
“I was at my lowest point at the end of 2020, because I had done everything right all year, but nothing was working,” she said.
“I didn’t lose a pound that year.
“I felt so defeated and on the verge of just giving up. I was ready to just accept that I was destined to get fat and sick.”
It was then that doctors asked her for an ultrasound to check her intrauterine device (IUD). They may have been concerned that it was causing her pain, making it more difficult to stick to her diet plan.
But then they diagnosed her with ovarian cysts. There were three on her left ovary and two on her right, with the largest measuring about 0.8 inches in diameter.
These can make it hard to lose weight, they warned, because they can release extra female sex hormones linked to weight gain.
However, doctors decided not to remove the cysts due to their small size. They will follow them through annual appointments to check for cancer.
After the diagnosis, Ms. Cisco underwent gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight.
Ms. Cisco is pictured above standing with her husband at her tallest position. She said her weight has not affected their marriage
The turning point that inspired her to lose weight came when an obstetrician told her she wouldn’t be able to conceive.
Ms. Cisco said her weight also caused her some problems. She had fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and pain in her foot that made it difficult for her to move
Ms. Cisco’s weight loss progress is pictured above. She says gastric bypass surgery ‘saved my life’
This works by making the stomach smaller and reducing the amount of intestines food passes through, reducing appetite and the number of calories that are extracted from food a person consumes.
In addition to reducing her food intake, Ms. Cisco also made a number of dietary changes to boost her weight loss. These include eating bacon wrapped chicken, cottage cheese and berries plus granola. She says she’s also now “obsessed” with popcorn as a snack.
She said: ‘After the operation I felt tired and had some pain, but most of all I felt relieved and excited when I woke up. I knew my life was about to change.
“Honestly, I’m most proud of healing my relationship with food. It’s been a long road, and a lot of effort, trial and error, but food has no power over me anymore.’
She added, “My husband and I have plans to tour the Appalachian Trial within the next two years — now that I can hike without pain, this is finally a viable option.”
Ms. Cisco said she now weighs just 144.6 pounds and has reduced her waist from 20 to 4.
The Appalachian Trail is approximately 2,000 miles long and runs through 14 US states, from Maine all the way to Georgia. It can take up to seven months to complete.