Robanne Robin: Hip-Hopping Her Way to Weight Loss Surgery Success
A Lifelong Struggle with Food
Some weight loss surgery patients have nothing but memories of being obese. Robanne did struggle with food her entire life, but her ordeals included battles with anorexia and bulimia as well as childhood obesity and morbid obesity as an adult. By the time she was 37, she had high blood pressure and diabetes, and had two trips to the ER. She was close to giving up. That was at a weight of 300 pounds.
The Decision and Her Surgery
Robanne knew her health was the result of her weight. She researched the various WLS possibilities and felt Roux-en-Y was the best option for her because of the long-term success rate. Also, she had a friend that had lost 100 lb. after RNY.
She got her surgery in 2009 with Dr. Brenda Cacucci at the St. Vincent Bariatric Center of Excellence, in Carmel, Indiana.
A Personal Decision with Family Support
The decision for Robanne was personal. She explains she had enough on her mind at the time of her surgery, and was not in a place to be able to justify her decision to friends and family. So, she only told them about the surgery after she got it done. She also did not want to deal with judgmental people, since she was scared and uncertain at the time.
Her friends and family were supportive when she told them. She says her children “were particularly excited that ‘mommy would be able to jump on the trampoline with them some day.’” Now she says she is “strong enough to believe in my path,” and her results show it. She lost 150 lbs. and now weighs 150.
Overcoming the Challenges and Becoming a Dancer
Robanne faced the same challenges many WLS patients can relate to. It was tough to get in her dietary supplements and drink her protein shakes. In the beginning, exercise was a serious challenge – so much so that she tried to convince herself she didn’t need to exercise.
Luckily, she went to a group exercise cardio class, which happened to be a hip-hop dance class. She was too embarrassed to quit, so she stayed in class…and says it was the best thing that could have happened! That class changed her life.
She loved it, and learned that exercise could be fun and not dreadful. But she took it much further. Robanne worked at it, and now teaches seven hip-hop classes a week. She leads group exercise classes for the Obesity Action Coalition's national conference. Look for her at their next conference in San Antonio in August!
Robanne’s also been selected as a national national spokesperson for the Y.. She’s appearing in a national commercial rolling out this year. It is currently on the air in Seattle, WA and starting to pop up across the country, and you can take a look on
Tips from the Top
Anyone who’s lost and been able to keep off half her body weight probably has a lot of good advice, and Robanne is very willing to share it. First, she says to try new things. If you’ve been sedentary and overweight for years, she says, how do you know what you like? So try everything!
Also, “keep it real.” You’re not in the best possible shape right after surgery, so just work up to the tougher workouts instead of jumping right in. You don’t want to get hurt, burned out, or discouraged. Fitness is about being strong and pursuing health, not about a single number on the scale.
Another piece of advice comes in the form of one of her favorite quotes. "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible"--St. Francis of Assisi.
And finally, stay focused. Robanne says, “Every day, I recommit to do what it takes to stay successful.”
A Day in the Life
What does a typical day look like for 6-year WLS veteran who’s lost half her body weight?
Something like this, at least for Robanne.
- Coffee...with cream.
- Breakfast: 1-2 packets of plain, heart healthy instant oatmeal sweetened with Splenda.
- First morning snack: Greek yogurt.
- Late morning snack: 1-2 hard-boiled eggs
- Lunch: some kind of chicken (usually grilled), on a bed of mixed vegetables (usually salad). She uses salsa for dressing.
- First afternoon snack: something crunchy like Skinny Pop popcorn.
- Second afternoon snack: a slice of cheese, and handful of turkey, or some kind of lean protein.
- Dinner: lean protein, 1/3 cup brown rice and broccoli or a small salad.
- Every other day: a protein shake.
- Plenty of water.
Robanne says she’s a creature of habit and keeps eating what she likes. The key for her is snacking on protein instead of carbs for the most part. She splurges on occasion on something like a cookie or something chocolate. But, she says, eating too much sugar and refined carbs makes her feel less bad. She sticks to whole grain carbs instead of white.
And exercise? This hip hop instructor is no slouch! She teaches 6-7 classes a week, including 2 days with 2 classes each. She also does weight training to keep up her muscle mass. She has 2 days off each week.
More from Robanne
If you want to learn more about Robanne, take a look at her Get Your Strong On site. It details her work in motivational speaking, weight loss coaching, and promoting corporate and kids fitness. You can also check out her inspirational video called “
Robanne wrote her story in a book, “Half My Size,” which she’s offering at a discount for BariatricPal members. You can order yours for $10 each with free shipping! The book is her story along with the lessons she learned for overcoming obstacles.