Doctors told me to keep working out to lose weight but I knew something was wrong

Tayla noticed she was unable to lose weight.

Doctors told me to keep working out to lose weight but I knew something was wrong
Tayla Peabody
Tayla Peabody has spoken out about her diagnosis (Picture: Tayla Peabody/Jam Press)

A woman was diagnosed with a rare condition after struggling to lose weight following the birth of her baby.

Tayla Peabody, 30, first began experiencing Cushing’s syndrome symptoms after giving birth to her son, Ezra. 

Despite eating a ‘calorie-controlled’ diet, walking 12 miles a day and going to the gym, Tayla, from Nottinghamshire, was unable to shift the weight. This affected her mental health and relationships with her friends and family.

‘I started losing my hair, my gums were bleeding, and I was waking in the night having anxiety attacks.

‘I would cry every day for no apparent reason and couldn’t focus on anything.

Tayla Peabody
Tayla says her face was bright red before her diagnosis (Picture: Jam Press/Tayla Peabody)

‘My face was bright red and would blister and I developed a buffalo hump between my shoulders. I was even given a blue badge and, for a short period, I would need to use a wheelchair.

‘I was becoming a shadow of myself.’

Tayla spoke to numerous doctors between 2017 and 2022, who all believed she would eventually lose the 10st she had gained if she kept trying.

The mum joined support groups, tried different diet and nutrition plans, and had personal training sessions, but her weight continued to climb.

It was only when one of her Instagram followers reached out to her that Tayla realised she might have Cushing’s syndrome.

What is Cushing's syndrome?

Cushing’s syndrome occurs when the body has too much cortisol for an extended period of time with symptoms including increased fat on the stomach and chest and a red, puffy, rounded face.

The condition has renewed interest this week after comedian and actress Amy Schumer revealed she has been diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome after trolls criticised her appearance. 

It mostly affects people who have been taking steroid medicine, especially steroid tablets, for a long time as they contain a synthetic version of cortisol.

Estimates on how many people are affected vary, ranging from about 40 to 70 people out of every million, according to the National Institute of Health.

Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome can start suddenly or gradually and tend to get worse if not treated. They include:

  • Increased fat on chest and stomach, but slim arms and legs
  • A build-up of fat on the back of your neck and shoulders, known as a ‘buffalo hump’
  • A red, puffy, rounded face
  • Skin that bruises easily
  • Large purple stretch marks
  • Weakness in your upper arms and thighs
  • A reduced sex drive and fertility problems
  • Depression and mood swings

‘I Googled it and that was it – I had every common symptom,’ she said. ‘I cried, it was like a huge weight had been lifted.’

After months of tests, an MRI scan found a 2.6cm mass sitting on top of Tayla’s adrenal gland in October 2022.

Story from Jam Press (Amy Schumer Condition) Pictured: Tayla before her son, Ezra, was born. ???I have the same condition as Amy Schumer ??? doctors told me to just keep working out to lose weight but I knew something was very wrong??? A woman with the same rare condition as Amy Schumer has revealed how she was left with mobility issues after gaining 10st in six years. Tayla Peabody, 30, first began experiencing Cushing???s syndrome symptoms after the birth of her son, Ezra, including an undiagnosed mass on her adrenal gland. Despite eating a ???calorie-controlled??? diet and exercising, she couldn???t shift the weight ??? with no idea of what was really going on in her body.
Tayla started experiencing symptoms after giving birth to her son(Picture: Jam Press/Tayla Peabody)

In December 2023, she had the mass, which had grown to almost 4cm, surgically removed.

‘I hadn’t had a period in six years, and they returned within six weeks. I’ve already lost two stone and that’s without being able to move much. My red cheeks have also faded and are no longer sore or blistered.

‘It’s the long-term recovery from the damage that Cushing’s has done to my body that’s the hardest part.

‘It will take months, if not years [to recover from]. But there are definite signs that I’m getting better.

‘My diagnosis made me feel validated. “It proved that no matter how hard I tried, there was nothing I could have done.’

Story from Jam Press (Amy Schumer Condition) Pictured: Tayla on the day of her surgery. ???I have the same condition as Amy Schumer ??? doctors told me to just keep working out to lose weight but I knew something was very wrong??? A woman with the same rare condition as Amy Schumer has revealed how she was left with mobility issues after gaining 10st in six years. Tayla Peabody, 30, first began experiencing Cushing???s syndrome symptoms after the birth of her son, Ezra, including an undiagnosed mass on her adrenal gland. Despite eating a ???calorie-controlled??? diet and exercising, she couldn???t shift the weight ??? with no idea of what was really going on in her body.
An MRI scan found a 2.6cm mass sitting on top of Tayla’s adrenal gland in October 2022. (Picture: Jam Press/Tayla Peabody)

Tayla, who works as a marketing officer, hopes to raise awareness for Cushing’s disease and similar illnesses and, in turn, foster kindness.

‘I wish people weren’t so judgmental when they see someone who obviously carries weight. People tend to assume they are just lazy, don’t exercise and eat too much.

‘I was a 26-year-old who loved the gym, spin classes, and nice clothes. You never know if someone might be struggling with something medically, so don’t be so quick to make assumptions.’

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