A morbidly obese woman in Ohio couldn’t lose weight despite dieting, exercise, and even therapy to break her dependence on food.
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.
But scans then led to the 32-year-old Columbus psychiatric nurse being diagnosed with ovarian cysts.
These can cause weight gain by releasing extra estrogen and progesterone, which can stimulate appetite and encourage the accumulation of more fat cells.
But despite her condition, Ms. Cisco has now 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 also now dropped from dress size 20 to dress size four, more than a year after gastric bypass surgery
Speaking of her initial struggles with weight loss, she said, “At the end of 2020, I was at my lowest point because I had been doing everything the right way all year, but nothing was working.
“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.”
Ms. Cisco weighed 245 pounds in early 2020, and the situation was so bad that she was diagnosed with sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, and pain in her body and foot that made it difficult for her to move.
She said she also started bingeing regularly, gulping down 5,000 calories one day and eating less than 1,000 the next.
After being told she was so big she would have trouble conceiving, Ms. Cisco started a healthy eating and exercise regimen.
But when this didn’t work and she lost all hope, doctors invited her for an ultrasound — which was to check if her intrauterine device (IUD) had come loose and was causing pain that made losing weight more difficult.
It was then that they noticed the ovarian cysts — three on the right and two on the left — which were up to 0.7 inches in size.
Ovarian cysts are common in about one in 10 women who have them, estimates suggest.
They normally go away on their own without causing any symptoms. But in some cases, like Ms. Cisco, they can start releasing excess hormones like estrogen, which can lead to weight gain.
Research shows that estrogen helps stimulate the accumulation of fat, particularly on the thighs and buttocks.
After seeing the cysts, doctors chose not to remove them because they had not become cancerous.
But in November 2021, Ms. Cisco had a gastric bypass to reduce her calorie consumption and 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’
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.”
Speaking of her weight loss motivation, she said that while she has no plans to get pregnant, she wanted to keep that option open.
She also saw the declining health of everyone in her family and knew she didn’t want to fall into the same trap.
She said, “Almost everyone in my family is morbidly obese and chronically ill, and I quickly fell into the same category.
“As I continued to gain weight, my bloodwork 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.
“I missed the activities I couldn’t do anymore, and I didn’t want to be on a million drugs.”