I began gaining weight in my early twenties shortly after I was married. The emotional roller coaster of infertility added to my weight gain. To the delight of my husband and I, I finally became pregnant with our first child and weight gain continued. By the time I delivered my sixth child I was 237 pounds. On a small frame and a 5’1” body, the weight had limited my abilities to be the kind of mother I wanted to be. I was ashamed of myself and my self-esteem plummeted. However, after the birth of my last child I was determined to change things. I had tried losing weight between my children and was unsuccessful. This time I was sure would be different. I changed my eating habits and began an exercise routine. My efforts were rewarded as I lost 60 pounds. It was short-lived. We made a major move, which took our family away from the close proximity of the gym.
The weight came back and then some. I began to have serious health issues. I had been warned several times about my blood pressure being too high. I was borderline diabetic, and was diagnosed with fatty liver disease. I was told numerous times by my doctors to lose weight, but everything I tried failed. To be honest, I had never contemplated weight loss surgery as an option. In fact, the thought terrified me. But after two years of dieting and talking to a good friend who had recently had the weight loss surgery. I began to consider it as a viable option for me. My friend loaned me her surgery binder (RMAP bible), and I read it cover to cover. Then I talked with my husband and extended family, all were very supportive. I talked to others I knew who had had weight loss surgery as well, and read a lot about it. Finally I attended Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) Educational Seminar and from there I never looked back. I knew this was what I needed to do.
What has Gastric Bypass Surgery meant to me? It has meant everything. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but nothing worthwhile is. It saved my life. I am now rid of all the co-morbidities associated with my obesity. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life. My self-esteem has improved immensely. Physically I am able to do things I never thought I would. My pre-surgery weight was 230 pounds; I have lost a total of 103 pounds bringing my current weight to 127 pounds. And I am still working towards my doctor’s goal weight for me of 120 pounds.
I have started running and in the past year since my gastric bypass surgery. I have ran the Race for the Cure 5k, Firehouse to Firehouse 10 k at HAFB in which I placed third in the women’s category, and I ran the Snow Canyon Half Marathon. On my list this year I have taken up biking for my next event, which is the Legacy Duathlon a 10k run and 22 mile bike ride April 14th. I am also signed up for the HAFB half marathon in May, and will be running the Snow Canyon half marathon again in November.
Exercise has become fun and something I really enjoy doing. I look at food entirely different it is for nourishment not a source of therapy when I am stressed or bored or just because it’s there. I make conscious decisions about the food I eat, making sure I am eating for the right reasons. I’ll admit I’m not perfect at it but I am so much better at it now than I used to be.
I know gastric bypass surgery has been the best thing I could’ve ever done for myself, and I have no regrets about going through with it. It is something I am willing to stay committed to for the rest of my life, not just for now, but forever.
Find activities you enjoy doing, and do them!
Push yourself! Every workout, push yourself just a little bit further than you did the day before.
Believe in yourself! You have the power and strength within you to succeed.
Remember, there is no finish line. This is a lifestyle change, and you have to commit to making permanent changes to your life.
Linda is a part of RMAP Patient Advocate Program. She has extended her support to those interested in learning more about weight loss surgery. You can contact her at the resources listed above.
Read more patient stories here.