I grew up eating healthy home cooked meals. I didn't know it back then, but I had the best meals with lots of veggies, both grown in our backyard and from our local farmers markets. We grew green onions, potatoes, radishes, swiss chard, tomatoes, etc. Seems like every other week my mom had me out there picking up the day's lunch or dinner in the backyard or trekking to our local farmers markets at 6:00AM (yes 6:00AM) to get the best pickings at that time of the morning before they were all gone. We hardly ever ate anywhere else, unless we were going to a party or family gathering since my parents couldn't afford that luxury. Going to fast food places was unheard for us since my mom always said that she could make better food than that at home. I had been pretty active for a kid and even participated in elementary and high school volleyball which was a lot of fun.
At 16 I landed my first job in a fortune cookie factory where I worked about once a week on a Saturday and a few days a week during the summer. I ate all the cookies I wanted during my 8-hour shift (both fortune and sesame cookies). I thought it was great munching on those crunchy sweet things and I even got to bring home 'reject cookies' to my family. In my senior year I got a job working at McDonald's and thought I had landed my dream job since I knew I was able to eat free food during my shift while working there. I thought everything was fabulous - I ordered food before my shift started, ate a free meal during my shift, and then ordered a meal after I was done working so I could eat it on my bus ride home. I favored their Quarter Pounders with cheese and Fish Filet burgers all the time and didn't seem to get tired of them. Inevitably I gained about 20 lbs between my Junior and Senior year of high school. My parents weren't very happy with this and asked that i stop eating McDonald's food all together. I was thinking "Yeah right, like that's going to happen."
My dad forced me to quit my job at McDonald's. It was supposed to be beneficial for me - 1) not see my boyfriend at the time who also worked there, and 2) and help me lose the weight that I had gained. But I continued my desire to eat fast food elsewhere. While attending community college I had 'eating buddies'. We would cut class to trek all over the city to go to new places to eat and I thought it was so exciting. Little did I know how much that behavior would come to hurt me in the long run. Eating ventures became an exciting little quest each morning for me that getting to class was something that I just didn't want to do.
After getting my own apartment I pretty much cooked to my stomach's content and if I didn't know how to cook something it was bought. I ate bacon and spam almost everyday for breakfast with lots of white rice or bread, and hardly ate veggies unless it was part of a burger, on a pizza, or mixed with some noodles. Instant noodles were a constant staple since it was so easy to prepare with anything. With eggs for breakfast, or cooked like chow mein or pancit for lunch or dinner. And oh so cheap - try those 10 cents each sales back then, you can't help but get a whole box of different flavors.
At age 28 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, hypothyroid, and type 2 diabetes. After getting married and wanting to become pregnant I learned how hard it was to manage my diabetes. I was testing 8 times a day and had to learn to take insulin shots. I hated it but had to accept the changes and figured it was going to be this way for the rest of my life.
Two years later after giving birth I experienced really bad pain in my knees. After seeing my doctor and then getting x-rays done I found out I had arthritis. At my orthopedic appointment it was explained to me that for every one pound you are overweight it is four pounds extra weight on your joints. I wasn't very happy person the day I learned that I have arthritis. This time I was in pain constantly and couldn't walk without a cane. I was in my 30's, walking with a cane, and had to climb stairs to get into my house - I was miserable.
I went through so many diets and thought the Atkins diet was the one to beat. I went back to eating bacon and spam almost everyday for breakfast, just without the rice. I ate fried pork skins with spinach dip as a snack, but still not getting much veggies or fruits in. My cholesterol went up, and so did my blood pressure again. This wasn't working for me.
Fast forward to last year, 2011. Two days after Thanksgiving I was feeling at an all time low. I had begun the bariatric program with Kaiser in March 2011, but did not lose any of the required weight yet needed to get to surgery. I sobbed to a close relative of mine and said that I had hit my highest weight ever - 312 pounds. I had never been that heavy and I was tired all the time. My relative had lost a considerable amount of weight himself and that night he made me register on MyFitnessPal.com to enter in everything I had ate that day. I initially didn't want to because we had just gotten back from eating at a Mexican restaurant, but he made me do it anyway. I entered everything I ate that day and it made me feel awful, nearly 5,000 calories for that one day I think. I cried some more, got some hugs, and he left for home.
By limiting my eating intake, going to the gym, and logging in everything that I ate from that point forward I was able to drop 37 pounds. I then got the 'go ahead' for an appointment to meet my surgeon who set a date for March 26, 2012. I was scared and cried for a whole week prior to my surgery date. I kept thinking "What if I don't wake up?", What if I'm one of those patients who has complications?"
After waking up from surgery I felt happy and even though I was in a lot of pain I was happy to feel alive. After 3 days of being in the hospital I got to go home. On the day I was discharged my surgeon told me that I should not be laying down at all unless I was going to sleep at night, and that I need be up and about during the day. Mobility was minimal at home, but my husband took me out almost everyday for the next two weeks while he took off from work to get me walking slowly. At one point while he was working in the garage I just walked back in forth slowly in front of the garage just so I would keep moving.
I'm in a much happier place now and so very grateful that I had the opportunity to have the vertical sleeve gastrectomy done. I've never lost so much weight in my life at any given point and feel very blessed.
My stats, a total of 97 lbs lost as of July 05, 2012:
[b]Pre-surgery:[/b] 312 lbs (November 2011)
[b]Surgery Day:[/b] 275 lbs (March 26, 2012)
[b]July 05, 2012:[/b] 215 lbs
I plan to be successful in my weight loss journey. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you will be successful too =)
Height: 5 feet 2 inches
Starting Weight: 312 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery:
Current Weight: 199 lbs
Goal Weight: 160 lbs
Weight Lost: 113 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 03/09/2011
Surgery Date: 03/26/2012
Hospital Stay: 3 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: n/a
EmyWemy's Bariatric Surgeon
South San Francisco, CA 94080