I’m so excited to share with you another great story from a friend and client of mine! This transformation has been so exciting to me. Her journey has not always been easy…read more for the good, bad and ugly of Jen’s gastric banding experience. She is as cute and bubbly as her “after” photos show!
Tell us about your weight struggle prior to surgery
I have been the “cute pudgy girl” my entire life. It runs in my family. My mom used to take us to Braums for ice cream sundaes when we got good grades in school. It was just something I always struggled with and thought I always would. I’d been on diets my entire adult life loosing up to 30 pounds sometimes but always gaining it back plus more. Right before I met my husband I was at my smallest since college using Weight Watchers (but not really because I always cheated) and the one-on-one support from a friend. I gained 60 lbs with my pregnancy and felt huge afterwards. Most importantly I got winded easily and couldn’t get down on the floor to play with my daughter.
I had a physician friend who was always heavy too and had great success with a gastric sleeve. I started researching and decided that my health was a huge asset and worth the investment of time and money this would take. I thought about my car – I use it as an important tool everyday and if it broke down, I would make the investment to pay payments and purchase a new one. I wouldn’t think twice about it. So why wouldn’t I make an investment in my body? I also gave up on trying to do it alone with dieting and exercise. I thought “if I haven’t been successful in sustained weight loss in 34 years, apparently I don’t REALLY know what I’m doing and I probably won’t ever be successful on my own.” I decided life was worth living the best I could and my body image and health were the top things I wish I could change. That gave me the courage to invest in myself and take a huge leap of faith.
Did you feel well supported in your decision?
I did. My husband has never criticized me for being over weight nor did he push me into this. He only said he just wanted me to be healthy so I could live a long time with him and our daughter. He is an analytical researcher though and spent a lot of late nights on his ipad researching different bariatric methods and doctors. He ultimately decided he felt most comfortable with me doing the lap band because it was reversible if there were complications and no part of my body would actually be removed. I was most nervous to tell my parents since they tend to worry. They weren’t surprised (apparently I had been dropping hints more than I thought I had) and were worried but were interested in watching my success.
Tell us what surgery you had on what date. If comfortable, share how much weight you’ve lost
I had a lap band with plication in May 2012 and I have lost 60 lbs
How where the early weeks and months after surgery?
The month before surgery and the month after were the hardest because of the liquid diet. I was hungry the month before. It was fun to have a goal though and to look forward to changes. I looked at before and after photos of band patients and watched band patient success videos online a lot for inspiration.
I think about weight a lot less now. I enjoy looking at myself in photos and I’ve learned that I love to work out. Shopping is a lot more fun because I don’t have to wear old lady clothes anymore. I don’t have a hard time chasing my daughter around or getting down on the floor with her. Most of all, I don’t worry that I’ll live a shorter life and miss out on seeing her grow up.
How do you stay focused on a healthy bariatric diet in the midst of a busy life?
Accountability and getting help have been huge. Meeting with Steph has given me focus, ideas and accountability. She has been a God-send. Her recipes on foodcoach.me are really good and make eating easy for me because I don’t have to guess what recipes are or aren’t good for me. It was interesting to learn that not all “healthy” recipes are good for me now. Matter of fact, most aren’t. I’m super busy and I don’t really like to cook so Steph helped me find someone to cook the recipes from her website and deliver them to my fridge each week. This has been an invaluable investment since I always have something ready to go for dinner or for a snack and I’m not tempted to grab a bag of chips or fast food for ease and quickness.
Another thing that has helped is that two of my best friends have since had gastric sleeve surgeries and have had tremendous weight loss success. When I’m in an eating slump or frustrated or excited about a new dress size or compliment, they’re my secret motivators. Neither of us have told everyone in our lives about our surgery so it’s nice to have someone you can confide in. They also know the rules.
What do you feel was the biggest challenge in your journey…and is it still a struggle?
My band complications. I have terrible acid reflux at night and it keeps me up most nights. I’ve met with Dr Walton for a year and have tried to control it with medicine and eating but these methods aren’t working. I’ve about decided to have surgery to switch to a sleeve. The surgery wouldn’t be so much to lose more weight as to end the pain. I’m eager to get the pain over with but I’m frustrated about the time and money that it will require. Also Dr. Walton suggests I wait until we’re finished having kids to have the surgery. Since my husband and I aren’t sure whether we want to have another child or not, this is postponing my surgery and requiring me to live with the pain for now.
What goals do you have for yourself these days?
I’d love to lose another 40 lbs to make a total of 100 but if I don’t that’s ok. I’ve been at the same weight now since the acid reflux started about 9 months ago. I am the same size I was in college now and feel pretty good about how I look. My main goal is to get past the pain from the acid reflux. Most of my eating habits now are focused on preventing or subsiding pain rather than on being healthy. That’s not good. I’m not meeting with Steph anymore since I figured she couldn’t tell me much more than I had already learned. Maybe I’m wrong.
Do it. If you’ve dieted all your life like I had, there’s a ridiculously small percent chance that you’ll be able to do it on your own. The time and money are worth the investment and you’re worth it too. If anyone else told you there was one wish they could dream of and it was possible – you’d tell them to do it. If someone were terminally ill with cancer and there was a cure for it – you’d tell them to do it! Obesity is also a terminal disease. One that steals joy and fun for years and years if not a lifetime before it ultimately causes complications leading to death. Why in the world should you not then try everything possible to stop the cycle and get healthy. Even with all my complications, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’ve encouraged several people to do it too.