Today’s guest post is from Connie from the Facebook page BariatricHELP & Fitness. Today she shares her journey with us.
My name is Connie, from BariatricHELP & Fitness.
You can also visit my facebook group: “BariatricHELP Forum.” This group is for pre-op and post-op followers. This page is designed for those wanting/needing support, advice, tips, motivation and inspiration. It is a “closed” group. “Closed” – means only the people in the group can see your posts.
Sometimes just knowing what others have done and knowing you are not alone is important and that is why I am sharing my experience with you.
I have been over weight since I can remember. As a baby my mom tells me that people would stop her in the store because they had to touch me. I was a cute chuncky baby, haha.
Well, it was not cute anymore once I started kindergarten. I remember going to school and being made fun of because I was overweight. My Tata (grandfather) use to drive me to school, he knew I did not like going to school because of kids making fun of me. One day we drove up to the school and he seen the kids that were making fun of me. He got out of the car and stood straight up-my Tata was a huge/tall man (over 6 feet tall), he did not even have to say anything (he just showed his presence) but I remember no one made fun of me anymore. Then, later I switched schools for other reasons. When I switched schools the picking and bullying began once again. I had to ride the bus to school. My Nana (grandmother) had to walk me to the bus every. I would attempt to wait at the bus stop without her but I hated the feeling of getting made fun of. Although I was bigger in size, I felt belittled – I felt small and ashamed.
At a young age my doctor placed me on a diet. He had me complete food logs and I had to show him my logs and progress at each visit. I remember starting off good by trying to eat better and walking, then I would slack off and by the time of by next visit to the doctor, I had not do so well. I would take “water-pills” the night before my appointment just so that I could lose a few pounds and not be scolded by the doctor.
The following are screen shots of my food logs from back in 1987, I was born in 1977, therefore, I was 10 years old, struggling with my weight and already logging my foods.
My weight was something I thought about every single day of my life and still do. In junior high school I had lost weight and participated in volleyball and track/ I enjoyed running-I loved the feeling. It was a yo-yo affect with my weight all through high school and college. I have always tried to diet and exercise but eventually would fall off the wagon and gain my weight back plus more.
In 1998, I married my best friend and after 2 children (and dieting in between) I finally said enough of this and began focusing on eating better and working out. Fortunately, my employer offers us a free full sized gym and classes onsite. I took full advantage and used the gym, each morning before work. My heaviest weight was 309 lbs. I got down to 242 lbs and it seemed like no matter what I did the scale would not budge. Of course, I would get frustrate and eventually gained some of the weight back.
I admit, I would get frustrated and start to give up. I was at a point where I told myself, this is me, I have always been overweight –this is who I am and realized I may not get to the weight that I wished and wanted to be at.
After several discussions with my husband, he told me that he wanted to look into the gastric bypass for himself. He knew I was against it as I had my feelings about it. I had heard of all the risks and heard of stories in which others had put their weight back on. To support him, I went to classes with him. I wanted to get educated and learn about what changes were coming his way, I wanted to know how I could help him through his journey and learn about the foods that he was going to be able to eat.
After several classes, I realized I could do this, this is for me too. We went to classes together and we went through the process of getting educated and approved for this surgery. My husband decided at this time it was not for him, but he continued to cheer me on and he is my #1 supporter. On August 20, 2012, I had my surgery-the RNY gastric bypass. I told myself and continue to tell myself that, if I was going to have this procedure there was no way I was going to go backwards or back to my old ways. This was a time to change – not only the outside (physical appearance) but most importantly –the inner me (mentally and emotionally).
Luckily, I have been successful on my new journey. This does not mean that it is not hard or difficult. I have had to overcome a lot mentally and emotionally. I have learned a lot about myself. After approximately 5-6 months post-op I joined a challenge group on facebook in which I met people from all over-through this group we supported and motivated each other and my coach kept me on track with this group. I decided to change up my workout, I was doing Tae-bo, using the stability ball, squats, planks, walking, etc. I ordered Insanity (a Beachbody workout) -I was nervous because its known to be “insane” but I told myself I can do it and I will do it. I immediately fell in love with it. I was excited each morning to get up and dig deep. I could feel my body toning. I lost lots of inches. While being a part of the challenge group my coach suggested being a coach as I love supporting and motivating people -I wanted to help others. After, taking some time to think about it, I jumped all in. I was so excited about what Beachbody had to offer not only me, but everyone who wants to get healthy.
After coaching for several months I decided to stop coaching as I was focusing on everyone else’s goal and not mine. I absolutely love helping others but it was my time in my life to put focus on me. I did not go through all this to lose focus on me and therefore I made my health a priority. The RNY gastric bypass was a “tool” in my journey to becoming healthy . The rest is up to me.
Now that I have shared information about me, I want to share information that I have come across during my journey with you.
I was very fortunate that my Bariatric Team at the Mayo Clinic of Arizona offered bariatric patients a jump start program. I was scheduled for a full day of appointments-all in 1 day. I met with my surgeon, the nutritionist, endocrinologist, psychologist, psychiatrist and bariatric nurse. I then began taking classes which was a 8 week program. We discussed preparing for surgery, reading food labels, documenting food logs, identifying hunger signals, mindful eating, etc… I followed up with my bariatric team throughout the process with follow up appointments. I was required to attend a support group and reading the book “mindful eating” by Jan Chozen Bays, M.D.
If you are going the process of preparing or learning about weight loss surgery here are my suggestions:
Do not rush the process, learn as much as possible. Sometimes what you learn or what you are told sounds like common sense or sound redundant but IT WILL HELP YOU, especially post-op. Take all required classes that your Bariatric Team suggest/recommend. Attend support groups. Talk to your bariatric team/doctors. Most importantly, ask questions!
I hope you join me on my journey and/or follow me by liking my Facebook page/group!