I was literally eating myself to death. I had three heart attacks in 10 years and my doctor told me I could have major health issues if I did not lose about 40 pounds immediately.
The fear of dying made me take weight loss seriously but I had never been able to keep weight off with diets. I met someone who had lost a lot of weight and when I asked him how he did it, he told me about bariatric – or weight loss – surgery.
The decision to undergo surgery was not easy but I was swayed by the stories shared in the DeKalb Medical support group meeting I attended before I made my decision. My family was concerned about my heart complications and they didn’t understand how important this was to me and my health.
After my sleeve gastrectomy, my weight dropped from 300 pounds to 195 pounds in just seven months. This is a great result but it took more than the surgery. I had to make up my mind that I was going to stick to the plan the doctors made for my recovery.
I am a recovering drug addict. I’ve been drug free for 10 years but I replaced drugs with food. Everything tasted and smelled better when I was no longer taking drugs but in reality, I just replaced one addiction with another. Once I realized this, I was able to overcome this addiction as well, with the doctor’s help and with God’s help.
I’m exercising regularly in my cardiac rehabilitation program to help prevent any other heart problems and as I’ve lost weight, I can exercise more. At first, I could only walk 15 minutes on the treadmill, but now I’m walking 50 to 60 minutes on the treadmill and lifting weights. In fact, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve had to buy new clothes because I’ve gone from 46-inch waist pants to 38-39 inch waist pants.
My advice to anyone with a weight problem is to talk to a doctor about the best way to lose weight. Diets don’t work for everyone and there is no easy way to lose weight. You have to do the work, even if you have surgery.
Because I’ve done the work to lose the weight, I no longer “live to eat,” now I “eat to live.” Food is no longer the most important thing in my life. In fact, the change in my life has been tremendous. It is the little things that matter – being able to reach the floor to tie my shoes, being able to take the trash out without getting tired, and best of all, being able to play and run around with my grandchildren.