Texas | Gastric Bypass
Like many of us, I battled my weight all my life. Teachers made comments when they weighed us each year for the President’s Fitness Challenge, other kids teased me when we ran around because my face got all red so they called me tomato. I didn’t understand the the deeper meaning of those experiences until I was in High School when the social ramifications hit home. I found myself not being asked out on dates, I didn’t go to dances, I didn’t even go to my senior prom. Not to say it was all bad, I had friends and I was active, but it was clear my weight played a role.
In College things were a little different, or so I thought. That is until one day I was lying on top pf my bed taking a nap when my roommate came in with some friends from across the hall. Since I was only half asleep at this point, as they were leaving I heard one of them whisper “look at those thunder thighs!” That’s when I learned kids/society held an underlying distaste for those who carried around excess weight.
Unfortunately, it took me more than 20 years to really hit my lowest point. And by lowest I DON’T mean in my weight. I mean medically I had developed hypertension, I was plagued by acid reflux, and my body and especially my knees were painfully ravaged by arthritis from years of trying to be active while carrying around so much excess weight. Work was especially frustrating. I was a nurse working 12 hour shifts on a nursing unit. I was a good, safe nurse and my patients loved me but I felt like I was doing them a disservice because I was so exhausted that I felt like I wasn’t keeping up….I didn’t feel like I was meeting MY standards. Then finally, the icing on the cake was that I had a 5 year old niece and a brand new baby nephew and it was hard to keep up with them much less get up and down off the floor with them.
In 2003, when I was at my heaviest weight of 266 lbs, I made the decision to have a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. As I look back now, I remember being so scared that I was going to be the ONLY one who wouldn’t be successful. After all, I’d failed every other diet known to man! I made a decision that I was going to follow my practices guidelines, I attended support groups and I was very active in our practice’s online support group. In reflection, these were the foundation that allowed me to “retrain my brain” once and for all and look at food as “fuel and nourishment” instead of just food that tasted good.
Was it easy? Heck no….. I pushed the envelope, tested the waters and fought against the intense emotional demons like everyone else, but somehow endured because of the foundation of skills and tools surgery had given me. Today I maintain because of that foundation but also because I fought back against that four letter word — Exercise. Yes I was active all my life but sweating for the sheer sake of “exercise” was non-existent (at least for more than a week or two right after the new year!) So after surgery I started walking. To motivate myself to even do that I would sign up for 5K’s knowing that if I had to pay for something (that contributed to charity) I would be more likely to attend. Especially if I solicited friends and other patients to join with me.
After progressing from 5K’s to 10K’s and even Half Marathons (only walking because of the knees), I felt this overwhelming desire to try all sorts of other activities just because I could. Things I couldn’t do throughout my life because my weight either made it difficult or even outright prohibited it. I started bike riding pretty early on because it was easy on my knees but as the weight came off, the activities (aka “exercise”) became more challenging such as zip lining, snow shoeing a 10K over Lake Superior, kayaking and even “Mud Runs” which are events where you’re faced with various levels of obstacles that included climbing, crawling, swinging and wading through a LOT of mud.
In some ways I was trying to re-live my childhood and try things I never could, but for the most part it was the sense of accomplishment that came from overcoming the obstacles….. or in the case of the half marathon, just finishing!
For the first time in my life I feel like I have control over my eating. Like most things in life, it’s a choice you have to make and then commit to. Life is hard….. it’s hard for everyone to different degrees and for different reasons. But no matter what your situation, this is one choice that can make your life a little bit easier. You just have to choose the right path, and then surround yourself with the people and resources to help you achieve whatever goal you choose.
5′ – 6″
High blood pressure; Joint diseases; Acid reflux; Depression and self-esteem
Not losing enough weight
Losing weight; Improved health; More energy/better quality of life; Less pain; Better family life; Improved appearance; Increased job performance; Optimism/life outlook; Self esteem; All of the above but gaining control over my eating has made all of the above possible.