Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
As I am writing this I can't believe it has been just a year and I have lost almost 135 pounds! My before picture that you see is after my surgery at 245, but my highest weight before the surgery was a whopping 275 pounds! This was a lot of weight for someone that is barely 5'2. At 37, my age at the start of this journey, I had tried many diets, pills, trainers, and work-out regimens – all of which I would lose weight and gain back double or triple the amount of when I started. Right before having my surgery, I had spent six months doing almost 2 hours of exercise about 4 to 5 days a week, and I was pushing my plate back like so many people told me – but I was still gaining weight.
What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?
It got to the point that my feet were always swelling and I could not wear shoes! I was a size 24 and MISERABLE! I went to my primary care physician to see what was going on with my body. After stress tests and a lot of blood work, he told me that I needed to lose weight. Well, I could have saved us both a lot of time, and me a lot of money for that news. So his plan – to put me on yet ANOTHER diet pill! Well, I was NOT having it. I knew my sister had a RNY (Roux-En-Y) about 15 years ago and she still looks great! I had always asked her did she have any regrets and her response was that she didn’t do it sooner – something you will hear a lot from many weight loss surgery patients.
If you have had weight loss surgery already, what things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?
For me, this was a big decision because I had never been cut on before or had any major surgery, so I was scared to death! However, Dr. Johnson and the staff of Atlanta Bariatrics were very patient and understanding with me. Dr. Johnson and I discussed all the procedures, my fears, and what I wanted to accomplish – realistically. So, I ended up deciding to have the gastric bypass (Roux-En-Y). One thing that I remember Dr. Johnson telling me is that the surgery was a TOOL and my success depended on the work I put in after the surgery – my diet and exercise. I have never forgotten those words – NEVER!
I did my very first 5K in May 2012 and almost came in last place running and walking the entire time - almost 90 minutes total – but, I DID IT! This year I was third place in my division with a timing of 31 MINUTES!!!
Okay, so back to my story. Well, I was faithful with keeping up with my appointments, taking my vitamins, my diet, and doing lots of exercise. I started out just walking again after surgery in my neighborhood. After a few weeks, that walk around in circles became pretty boring – but my neighbors were watching and asking questions. I was happy to share what I had gone through because I knew in a year, things would be very different. After a few more weeks, I graduated to walking in parks and then started running. I love to run. My father and brothers were in the military, and my sister was a police officer, so they would always take me running with them when I was younger. I must say that your body remembers because everything just started falling into place.
This has been a LONG, HARD journey – but I would do it again in a heartbeat to get where I am today. I am doing things I haven’t done since my youth, as well as trying new things for the first time like para-sailing and jet skiing! I am having the time of my life! For ANYONE to say that this method is taking the easy way out has NO IDEA what they are talking about - NO IDEA. You have to put in the work to be successful - take Carnie Wilson and many others that still struggle. I WORKOUT EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!! I run about 10 - 12 miles 5 to 6 days a week. I watch what I eat daily. I go to monthly meetings. I still run my 5Ks about twice a month. I will be doing my FIRST half marathon by the end of the year. This has been a TOTALLY positive LIFE CHANGE for me.
I BEG OF YOU - PLEASE DON'T DISCOUNT WHAT WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY PATIENTS HAVE TO GO THROUGH!!!!
It is not an easy road or decision to make, but it is one that is necessary to SAVE OUR LIVES!!!!!
For me, I knew that I absolutely did not want to go into my forties still battling weight-associated health issues. I just wanted to be healthy! The bonus is the outward appearance, but nothing beats coming off all the medications I was taking or all the trips to my doctor’s office (just for them to say you need to lose weight). Like my sister told me, the only regret that I have now is that I did not take control of my life and do this sooner.