My family is kind of heavy, but I was always the smallest one in the family. I started putting on weight in the middle of my junior year of high school. My mom was in the Air Force so we moved a lot, and that year we moved to a different state and I started attending a much bigger high school. I became depressed after the move and started eating to cope with my anxiety which caused me to gain 30 pounds in one year. Due in part to the extra weight, I also started having menstrual problems and had to go on a double dose of birth control pills which caused me to gain an additional 70 pounds.
I tried lots of different diets and after achieving no success, I finally decided to look into weight loss surgery. Although I was 5’2” and weighed over 200 pounds at the time, I did not meet the weight requirement set forth by my insurance company for surgery, but I had an old ankle injury from cheerleading and high blood pressure, and that made me eligible.
We moved yet again and I asked my new doctor who I should go see, and Dr. Steinberg’s name just flew out of her mouth. As I went through the process of being cleared for the procedure, I also did not initially pass the psychological evaluation, but attending support groups really helped me deal with the emotional issues that caused me to overeat and I was finally cleared.
Dr. Steinberg laid out options for me but made no decisions for me. I decided on gastric bypass because it seemed like a more permanent solution and the better choice for my personal lifestyle and disciplinary needs. The surgery went well and there were no complications. I was excited going in and had my younger sister with me, who was also considering having weight loss surgery (and eventually did). My mom came and they both took care of me for a few days, and I went back to school the next week.
Since the surgery, I follow the dietary guidelines very carefully. I am able to eat most foods in moderation, but I definitely avoid greasy foods and soda. I go swimming at the gym two to three days a week and get out and about as much as possible. I have regular follow-up appointments with my doctor and attend support groups whenever possible.
Before surgery, I did not have the confidence to go out and live my life. I was also contemplating having a breast reduction. Now, just under a year later, I weigh 125 pounds and feel fantastic. My high blood pressure is gone; I can actually find affordable clothing that fits me and I no longer need a breast reduction. If I had to do it over again, I would in a heartbeat. Having weight loss surgery has been a great decision for me, both mentally and physically…and that’s something to cheer about!