“My body was shutting down” - How Swimming Helped California Woman Lose 175 lbs
Leila Sedigham was trapped in a body that was morbidly obese. Now she’s a dedicated fitness enthusiast and swimmer, thanks to a “life-saving” pair of high-tech underwater headphones
Leila Sedigham, a 47-year-old property investor from Santa Monica, California said as long as she can remember, she’s always been bigger. For most of her life, she attempted popular weight loss programs and for 29 years, she failed every time. In 2022, her weight climbed to 505 lbs. It was the largest she had been in her adult life.
“I reached my rock bottom,” she said. “My body ached. It was shutting down. I was trapped in a body that was morbidly obese and it was tired.”
Last year, she decided to seek help from a bariatric surgeon. “I just got to the point where I wanted to do this for myself, finally. This time, I would not fail. I wanted to be happy,” she said.
The Turning Point
On May 6th, 2022, Lelia underwent gastric bypass surgery. This significant and life-changing surgery helps you lose weight by changing how your stomach and small intestine handle the food you eat.
Coming out of surgery, Leila was 453lbs and a long way from her goal weight of 215 lbs. Following a difficult recovery, nutrition and a consistent exercise routine would become a key part of her weight loss journey. However, Leila was still too heavy to use the treadmill or manage many weight training techniques.
The Life-Changing Power of Swimming
To reach her goals, Leila started working with a trainer at LA Fitness. To help reduce some of the impact of her weight, Leila was encouraged to try swimming and exercising with weights in the pool.
“As soon as I got in the water, I felt so light and airy,” she said. “It was easy to swim, but I needed more motivation.”
That’s when Leila discovered Zygo, an innovative set of headphones that can stream music, podcasts and audiobooks underwater. The Zygo app also includes a library of swimming workouts narrated by expert swimming coaches.
“These headphones gave me the motivation I needed. Listening to music underwater is great, but the coaching is what really made a difference. It helps me physically and mentally to push myself beyond what I ever thought was possible. If I go to the gym and realise I forgot my headphones, I turn around and go home to get them. That’s how instrumental they are for me. Without Zygo, I don’t think I would be where I am today. In a way, they’ve been life-saving.”
Today, Leila weighs 325 lbs and trains six days a week with the help of a trainer and her Zygo headphones. She’s in the pool three days each week and has discovered a newfound drive and motivation she never thought was possible. She swims between 60-80 minutes in each session, starting her session with a coached workout and ending with some of her favourite music for a final kick of motivation.
“I’m just an average person who wanted to make a change, she said. “But like so many other people, I needed something that would motivate me to get to the gym. The Zygo headphones were a big investment, but I can say, in my heart of hearts, it was the best decision ever.”
As a result of her weight loss, Leila’s life has changed remarkably. She holds herself to higher standards, eating a healthy, varied diet. She’s noticed that she has more energy and her skin looks brighter. She’s also discovered a new confidence and power.
“For 20 years, I couldn’t cross my legs,” she said. “This was something I just accepted, but not being able to do this simple thing really impacts your identity. It made me feel unwomanly. Today, I can cross my legs for the first time in my life. I can also fit into restaurant booths and go places I never could before because of my size. I even went to Disney World with my nieces and I could fit on the rides with them for the first time.”
“It all feels phenomenal,” she continued. “Swimming has made such an impact on my journey and Zygo has been there from the beginning. Without them, I would never have pushed myself the same way. It’s not just for competitive swimmers. All walks of life can use these headphones. They’re for everyone.”
The Journey Continues
Excess weight and obesity is an issue that threatens the health and life expectancy of Americans across the country. The State of Obesity 2022: Better Policies for a Healthier America report found that 4 in 10 American adults are obese and the rates are climbing. According to the report, California has an obesity rate between 25-30%.
To date, Leila has lost more than 170 lbs - the same amount as the weight of an average American woman. It’s an incredible feat but Leila is committed to taking her journey even further, setting her sights on a goal weight of 215 lbs. Leila will then need to undergo at least three additional surgeries to remove the excess skin that results from such a significant weight loss.
“Sure, I can say to myself that I wish I did this when I was 30 or even younger, but my mind wasn’t ready. My mind was ready at 46. It takes time for the mind to click with the body. For other people reading this, my advice is to do it. Just start. Start anywhere. Unfortunately, I had to go to rock bottom, but everyone has to start somewhere. I never would have thought I’d be where I am today. I can’t wait to see where I am in 2024 and what training with Zygo is going to help me achieve.”