Monday, July 1, 2013

My Weight Loss

My weight problems started when I was a kid.  I had health problems (severe asthma) that prevented me from doing a lot of physical activities, and was on steroids for years that cause rapid weight gain.  I spent most of my young adult life dealing with obesity and depression that only increased after the birth of my two daughters.   I thought that there was no way I would ever know what life would be like without the struggle of being morbidly obese.  I had tried many different diets and workouts, but I never lost more than 10lbs at a time, and it always came back the second I stopped.  I fully believe that my weight was a wall that I had put in place to keep people at a distance.  I didn't like hugging people or being touched because of my size.
Exactly One Year Later.  2012-2013
In December of 2011, I was having dinner with a good friend who had recently lost a lot of weight.  I asked what her secret was, because it HAD to be a something magical.  She told me that she had bariatric surgery but hadn’t told anyone.  She was never as heavy as I was, and she looked amazing.   I had always thought weight loss surgery was only for other people and never really considered it for myself.  It got me thinking that maybe weight loss surgery wasn’t such a scary option, and that maybe I should look into it. 

I talked to my general practitioner and he wasn’t very supportive of my choice.  He said that I probably wouldn’t lose more than 50 pounds, I would still be obese, and I would eventually gain the weight back.  That was the day I decided that I was going to prove him wrong!  I signed up for a seminar on weight loss surgery, then for a 3 month nutrition class.  I was determined to learn how to BE HEALTHY.  In those 3 months, I learned how to read labels, what I needed to eat, and how to control cravings.   I learned that everything I had been taught about healthy eating wasn’t exactly true and that I had a lot of emotional triggers I needed to face before I would be able to succeed with my new lifestyle.  Since I had recently kicked the depression meds, I was still dealing with how to control my depression.  It took a few months but I finally got into a place where I could say I was no longer depressed, so it became easier to focus on the weight loss.

After almost a year of meetings, appointments, and classes, and with my wonderfully supportive husband and family by my side, I had surgery on September 8th, 2012.  The surgery I had is called the Vertical Gastric Sleeve.  It’s a partial gastrectomy where they remove a large portion of your stomach and the gland that causes the hunger hormone.  My stomach is now about 25% the size it used to be.  I limit my diet to mainly protein, fruits, and vegetables, and very limited carbs.   I don’t restrict myself from whatever I want, but I am very careful to not give into every craving and eat healthy MOST of the time.  I completely gave up soda, a lot of sugars, and don’t eat more than one serving of starches a day.  I also choose not to eat pasta, rice, or potatoes. 

As of today, I am 10 months out of surgery and have lost a total of 130lbs.  I am smaller than I was as a teenager.  I’m now able to shop in practically any store I want, I fit in any seat, I can walk without being winded, and my health problems are practically gone.  Having the surgery was the second best personal choice I’ve ever made in my life.  The BEST choice I've made was to make this surgery work for me.  A lot of people think that bariatric surgery is an “easy fix” but I can guarantee you it’s not easy at all.  The only difference in what I have to do to lose weight is that I gave myself a tool that won’t let me quit.  I still exercise at least 4 times a week, I eat healthy foods, and I am committed to a new healthy lifestyle.  I want to be here for my kids and my grandkids.  I want to prove to the world that weight is just a number, and it doesn’t have to hold you back.  You can be everything you want to be as long as you put everything you have into it.  To celebrate my weight loss, this September, my one year Surgi-versary, I am going to do my very first 5K marathon.  It was my biggest goal, and I am ecstatic to reach it and make bigger and better goals.

A lot of people now ask me what the “secret” is.  The truth is there is no secret.  The CURE is to figure out why you’ve gotten to where you are today, and change it.  Change the way you think, gain more knowledge about nutrition, conquer your fears, and make the choice to live a healthier lifestyle. No more excuses.  Motivation isn’t what gets you off the couch; it’s what keeps you going when you want to stop.  What gets you going is determination.  The fear of being the way I was for the rest of my life was enough to give me the determination to change.  Weight loss is more mental than physical.  Anyone can do it, and I’m here to prove that.

Thank you so much Sarah Foss, and Apple Rose Photography, for helping me capture my change with beautiful pictures.  I love you so much and am proud to call you a friend still after 13 years.  I hope my story can help others reach their goals of becoming more healthy and extending their lives.

Family Portraits by Apple Rose Photography 2011 and 2013
YOU can do it too!
XOXO
Lauren
The Happiest Woman Alive

Check out the photographer- http://applerosephotography.com/