Dr. Tanya Scurry
I’m a native southern Californian and I earned my B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1995. After I practiced pharmacy in the retail setting for several years I decided to pursue a career as a physician. I obtained my medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean in 2004. I originally wanted to pursue anesthesiology but fell in love with psychiatry so I entered a general psychiatry residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City in 2004. After graduating residency I completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at my alma mater, The University of Washington, where I acquired extensive experience working with many different people from all walks of life who were struggling with all forms of addiction including drugs, pornography, food and internet addiction. Throughout all of this I battled with significant weight issues reaching 500 pounds during my medical training. Despite this somehow I was able to continue to move forward with my career but realized that my health was suffering with each passing year. It got to the point that I couldn’t walk a few feet from my bedroom to the bathroom without struggling to breathe. My mother and my good friend were both worried about me but felt powerless to help. It wasn’t until my mother died in 2011 that my life took a dramatic turn. Due to the grief over my mother’s passing, I threw myself more deeply into food. I spent in excess of $90 a day on fast food. I’d sit on my bed with bags of food and eat until I fell asleep and then wake up the next day and start the process all over again. I was in hell but I couldn’t get myself out of it. One day a friend of mine told me that I needed to stop that “s***”. She offered to cook my breakfast and lunch every day. She took me to the grocery store where she made me look at labels and pick out foods that were healthy for me. She’d control my portion sizes and make sure that I had a variety of foods each day. She also offered to make dinners for me—either to pick up from her house or to freeze for the week at my house so I could just come home and heat it up and eat it. She did this until I had bariatric surgery in December 2012 but also continued after my surgery when I began to struggle with returning to bad eating habits.
When I lost almost 200 pounds in 2013 I hit a plateau. I tried everything including cutting my carbohydrates down to nothing, increasing my protein, drinking so much water that I felt like I was drowning. Nothing worked. I stayed at the same weight for 4 months. I finally realized that the one thing I hadn’t tried was exercise. I loathed it so much that I avoided it. I sunk into a depression because I saw others who had surgery and didn’t have to exercise to lose their excess weight. Finally I gave in and decided to pay for a gym membership. I went sporadically and walked on a treadmill for 5 minutes and then left discouraged because it exhausted me and I didn’t feel it would help anyway. During one of my infrequent visits to the gym I noticed some of the clients working with trainers. “I don’t need that” I told myself defiantly. So, I continued my same non-routine until I couldn’t take it anymore and finally sent 2 emails. One to the fitness manager at the gym closest to work and the other to the fitness manager at the gym closest to my home. My plan was to go to the gym closest to my home because then I could probably make an excuse not to go during the week and just go on the weekends when I didn’t work. Boy was I smart. Except what I didn’t plan on was that the only person who returned my call was the fitness manager from the gym closest to my job. Long story short Johnny became one of the main reasons I’m alive today. His positivity, encouragement, compassion, caring, and non-judgmental attitude got me through many a rough day. He’d text me, call me, send me encouraging emails, and sometimes just sit and talk to me when I was down.
I realize that this is my biography but without the kindness of a few people there wouldn’t be a biography to write. So I guess what I’m saying is that surround yourself with people who will support you unconditionally and you will succeed. We know you can do this.