“If you don’t make changes, you will have diabetes and die at a young age.”
Obesity surgery is a tool that has helped me tremendously in my journey towards a healthier life. Although before we get to the now, you have to know the before. Growing up, I was a member of the clean plate club. Although my family would have balanced meals that most nights included vegetables, not everything that we ate was super healthy. While it didn’t impact my brothers who were very active in football, it hit me like a ton of bricks even though I played sports myself. My weight was an issue that was very sensitive to me.
By the time I graduated from high school, I was already close to 200 lbs. and in college the “freshman 15” was more like the “freshman 35” for me. I didn’t know what things were healthy to eat. After some unfortunate life events, I started drinking. It became happy hour Thursday through Saturday every single weekend so that by the time I graduated from college, I weighed in close to 230 lbs.
Ashamed and disgusted, I found myself sliding into depression. Knowing that this wasn’t the way I wanted to live, I tried making changes. I ran the gamut of weight loss solutions – Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, Hydroxycut, Alli, Xenadrine, Phentermine, Contrave, Belviq, Qsymia. I even did a medically supervised weight loss program where I only had 4 shakes a day plus two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables. I followed the plan religiously and worked out 6 days a week. I saw some initial success losing 32 lbs., but had to fight to keep off every single pound. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
After a tumultuous break up that left me spinning mentally, my weight spiraled out of control from emotional eating and drinking. I remember breaking down in an appointment with the PA. In between my sobs about being sick and tired of being sick and tired, she encouraged me to speak with the weight loss department about possibly doing surgery since other methods had failed. So I jumped into the process and started attending the six weeks of classes needed prior to surgery. I remember my shame of stepping on that scale and it reading 273 pounds. All the efforts I had made before now seemed like distance memories. I had to take back my life – I was only 30! This was my last chance and only hope. If I didn’t get it right this time, I never would.
On July 31, 2015 I had my gastric bypass surgery. I was the model patient and followed my post op instructions. About 3 months after my surgery, I found Bariatric Eating. It was an eye-opening experience to find so many like-minded people. I had been in several other groups and everyone seemed so focused on going back to eating the way they used to. I remember even going to the post op meeting for my surgical group and one member stating how they still ate the bad things because they would just throw it up anyways. That isn’t the way I wanted to live. I used my tool wisely and hit the gym hard.
With the support of my my family, medical team and BE, I lost 105 lbs. in 6 months and have kept it off for nearly two years. I have run several short races and have taken up boxing and snowshoeing. I still struggle at times with emotional eating and depression, but I have my BE family to support me when I find myself slipping and have learned healthy coping skills.
Getting to this weight was something I would have never imagined and certainly never dreamed of being in my adult life. It is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. As I am now a maintenance mode, I have kept myself focused through my exercise routine and transforming my body composition. Although my weight has been the same, I have dropped two pant sizes from an 8/10 to a 4/6. My goal for 2018 is to compete in my first ever bodybuilding competition which is something I would have never thought possible. I am grateful to BE and my tool for giving me back a life I love!