In 2016, I made the decision to get weight loss surgery. I was 51 years old, 5’ 11” and over 350 pounds. I struggled daily to do the simplest things. Getting out of a chair, climbing stairs. I fell down once and had a real tough time getting up again. I didn’t travel any more. I wasn’t enjoying life. I drank too much. I ate too much. My cholesterol was way over 200, I was pre diabetic. I continued to gain weight and the thought of getting to 400 was possible and scared me to death.
The decision for the surgery was scary but necessary. I wanted to get better. I wanted to be a better mom to my son. It meant giving up alcohol, carbs, had to work out regularly. Bariatric surgery isn’t a cure, it’s a tool. You can’t do this if you are unwilling to change your life.
Getting the surgery isn’t an easy process. It’s lengthy and expensive. It’s a year of tests both physical and mental – group therapy, seeing a psychologist regularly, going to a nutritionist bi-weekly, surgical courses to make sure this process is right for you. But I was determined. I passed and was granted permission for surgery.
Two weeks before surgery is fasting. No solids at all. This is to shrink your liver. I lost 22 pounds in two weeks – I stuck to my diet. I didn’t cheat once, and I was proud of myself because I knew I could do it.
The funny thing going through this process is figuring out why I got this way. I was always a skinny kid. I packed on the weight after the birth of my son and continued to gain. Going through the psychological process I realized how miserable I was in my marriage and how unhealthy it was. It was abusive. Verbally and emotionally. I had to get out. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew he would have a hard time letting go.
I started to put myself first for a change. I followed my diet, I started working out with a trainer. Crossfit was intimidating to me. I didn’t think I could do it. I started working out three days a week at No Risk CrossFit and following a nutrition program from Precision Nutrition with Judah. I started to really enjoy it. Going to No Risk saved me and really gave me a confidence boost.
But then my life just fell apart. Or should I say I hit bottom. I asked for a divorce and my ex just went off the deep end. He’s an alcoholic and when I asked for a divorce his drinking got really bad. So did the abuse. He stalked me, threatened me, harassed me, left me with no money to pay bills. It was months of hell. I was scared for my life. I thank God for the people I had in my corner. My family, my friends, co-workers, NoRisk coaches got me out of my worst days.
I was unable to continue working out because I had no money. Unfortunately, with the stress I was under, I was unable to continue following my healthy lifestyle. I either didn’t eat at all or when I did eat, it was junk food because I couldn’t get myself to cook anything. I did the best I could, but I stopped losing the weight. While I had lost 110 pounds, and still wanted to lose another 75, I hit a weight loss plateau, however, during all of this is I haven’t gained any more weight.
I’m divorced now, I’m moving into an apartment with my son, my ex stopped drinking and we are getting along better. He thought that if he stopped, we would be a family again. In the past, I probably would have gone back to him, but I realized how much happier I am on my own. I will get back to my healthier habits once I move since my place has an onsite gym and the stress of living with my ex will be over.
I’m not promoting weight loss surgery as the answer. I mention it because it helped me start the process of having a healthy mindset. It was a long and painful process of self-discovery, but I realize now what I can do and how strong I really am, that I can be confident and there is nothing wrong with putting myself first. I didn’t think I had it in me, that I could do this. Figuring that out took me a long time and a lot of work. I can finally say, I’m proud of myself.