"You have to get uncomfortable. The magic happens when you get up and do things differently."
When I decided to have bariatric sleeve surgery, I had already tried every diet under the sun. I would go on fad diets and lose 20 pounds, only to regain the weight when I couldn’t keep up with paying for it.
I remember I went down to see my OB/GYN in College Station, and he was so proud of me for losing weight with Ideal Protein. I had to go back for blood work, and I had gained back 18 pounds. He said, "Now, I’m not telling you what to do. I look at you more as a friend than a patient. I think you should talk to your parents about giving you a loan to have sleeve surgery."
At the time, I weighed 320 pounds. I didn’t have any medical issues, but I knew I would be headed down that road very soon. I’m not a surgery person. Before the sleeve I had only had surgery twice – one was an orthoscopic knee surgery at 30 and another was on my wisdom teeth. I was scared of going under, scared that I wouldn’t wake up.
I went to Dr. Alford, because he was my mom’s doctor, and I have referred people to him and his office because of my experience. Emily, who works at the front desk, is beyond helpful, and Dr. Alford is amazing. He is very laid back. Being overweight, I’ve come in contact with some doctors where you could feel their negative attitude toward you. Dr. Alford was helpful, patient, and he was able to be very flexible with my schedule.
It was one of those things where you just click with someone, and it gives you peace. You feel that he genuinely cares about you, and that’s huge.
I cried the whole way to the hospital, and when we got there, my blood pressure was really high because I was freaking out. I kept thinking, I’m a single mom. If something happens to me, my son doesn’t have anyone. I remember I just started praying.
I didn’t have any complications from surgery, whatsoever, but it wasn’t an easy experience. I struggled to get down all of the water we’re supposed to drink. Also, at first, a lot of things didn’t taste good. I used to not like asparagus, but now I can eat asparagus. I’ve never been a sugar craver.
Before surgery it was nothing for me to eat a double-meat cheeseburger with bacon. I think I’ve learned that a lot of this is your mind. You have to have the mindset that you’re going to change. On this journey I’ve realized that I’m not 100% ok with all the stuff I’ve been through in my life. When I was three, my brother died. When I was four, my uncle died. I’ve been in two abusive relationships. For me this journey has been about overcoming this tragedy and understanding why I am the way that I am and why food became my best friend.
At my one-year anniversary appointment, I had lost 90-95 pounds. That’s a lot of weight, but in my mind, I was still over 200 pounds, and I needed to continue losing. That’s when I started working out, and I lost another 65 pounds just strictly from working out. I work out with my trainer two days a week, and she has developed a meal plan for me.
In order to be successful with surgery, I’ve realized that I can’t look at food as the enemy, but I do have to pay attention to what I’m eating. The truth is, you’re going to have to change the way you eat, and the way you live your life. You have to get uncomfortable. The magic happens when you get up and do things differently.