I have been SLEEVED!
I am Ana and I am forty four years young from Chicago, IL. I have been SLEEVED! Yes I took my first steps of action to take control of my life in 2016. I had been morbidly obese my entire adult life since my first born child, who is now twenty-four years young. At the age of forty four I made a life decision to undergo bariatric laparoscopic sleeve surgery.
I was not an obese child, as a matter of fact I was an average child and a very slender tall teenager. I never knew what it meant to be over weight or on a diet. I would laugh at my friends when they would tell me they had to loose ten lbs before the next school dance. I would continue eating my hot dog and laugh at my friends.
What is a diet?
The word DIET did not exist in my vocabulary. I was a very active person, involved in sports and being young with no transportation I walked every where with my friends in the city. Life was not perfect for me as a teenager but it sure was grand when I hung out with my friends in school and summer vacations. I was too poor to afford eating out with my friends and my family never spared anything extra so I always made sure I went home to eat or I stayed hungry.
As the years go by
Moving forward in my young adult years, I had my first child at nineteen and I ate pretty much anything in site; once I passed the first trimester. I was always told you can eat anything you want when you are pregnant. Nobody told me I would get fat from being pregnant and not eating properly. I had gained about forty pounds and kept on gaining after the birth of my first born.
At the age of 24 I weighed about 240 pounds and suddenly found myself going through a terrible and sad divorce. During my separation I lost quite a bit of weight reaching 175 pounds. During my separation, I reached a level of depression where I could not eat and hence how I lost the weight. Not a healthy way to loose weight.
Years have passed and a tragic accident occurred when I turned thirty. I suddenly found myself with a broken ankle and a twisted knee. I was wheelchair & crutch bound for six months and within that year I gained one hundred pounds. At the age of thirty three, I found myself in the bathroom breathless because I could not buckle my shoe. I could not tuck in my belly fat anymore. I looked in the mirror and asked myself; “What have I done to myself?” My daughter was a teenager, all I felt was despair. I started to work out. My go to was “walk away the pounds” and I knew nothing about nutrition. Remember the word “diet” still did not exist in my vocabulary. I dropped about 45 pounds and managed to keep them off.
Life happened again and I found myself pregnant with two more children in my middle thirties. I lost eighty pounds with my son and when I got pregnant with my last child, a girl, I boosted back up to the three hundreds. Depression set in. I love my children but my relationship was terrible and very lonely at the time. The couch was my best friend and so was food. I think I stayed on my couch for a good three months without moving really anywhere. I always referred to myself as “Gilbert Grapes Mom” from the movie “What ate Gilbert Grape”. My daughter would always get annoyed with me but I was not far from being immobile.
I am now forty four and in the spring of 2016 after tossing the idea of bariatric surgery for a couple of years, I finally made the decision that I needed to change my life. On September 2, 2016 I had the laparoscopic sleeve completed. The summer was an emotional roller coaster and I was not happy at my job. My poor family put up with me and all the pains that came with making this life decision.
I lost twenty pounds during the liquid diet and after surgery I dropped another ten, twenty, forty and so on. My weight loss has been rapid. I am not sure how or why as I am not perfect but always attempt to follow the program and instructions.
I am seven months out of surgery and I have reached the required goal weight. At times this does not seem satisfying. I struggle with body image and how I am suppose to look like. The plus side is I am not on any medications for blood pressure or pre-diabetic anymore. I always have to balance the bad with the good.
Today, I quit my job to pursue my goals. I will be a certified Personal Trainer and a Life Coach. I will be specializing in personal training for obese people and bariatric patients. By doing this I feel I can help those that really need understanding, compassion and motivation. I once morbidly obese understand this nature of thinking. Providing a direction to people that say they need help.
Every day is struggle for me. I am human and not perfect. I too fall off the wagon and eat a chip or two, a cookie and ice cream. I just know not to make it a meal and to understand that the taste is just to fulfill the moment not the stomach.
Where do I see myself in the future
I often think about what it will be like two and five years from now. The surgery was a tool to get me jump started. The surgery will not keep the weight off at all. I continue to see myself healthy and maintaining my weight. I am not in a dark place anymore and although I need support and understanding, I don’t expect anyone to come to me. I seek help and ask questions often and this is the only way I can continue to the path of a healthy lifestyle.