Surgery: Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass - Total Lost: 95 pounds*
"My health has gotten so amazing with the weight loss." —Cari
I couldn't fully enjoy my daughter due to my weight. I couldn't teach her the outdoor activities I used to love. I felt like I wasn't a good mom to her because I couldn't be active, I couldn't do things, I couldn't run around with her... [Today] I eat healthy. I exercise. I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been!
Gastric-bypass surgery is not itself a solution to obesity; it is a tool to help shed the weight, Cari says. Then it's up to the individual to keep it off. "If you don't do what you need to do to follow through, you are not going to get the results," she says. It takes a lifelong commitment to eat properly and exercise. "Before deciding to undergo the procedure, you have to be sure this is what you want in your life because you're going to be doing it for the rest of your life," she adds.
Cari had gotten to the point where she knew she had to do something - she had developed extreme asthma, sleep apnea and back problems due to her weight. "It was really wearing on me," she says. "I didn't feel healthy anymore." Beyond that, she felt that her weight was limiting her abilities as a mother. "I couldn't fully enjoy my daughter due to my weight. I couldn't teach her the outdoor activities I used to love," Cari says. "I felt like I wasn't a good mom to her because I couldn't be active, I couldn't do things, I couldn't run around with her."
Cari took a year to try to get her weight under control, "but nothing was happening for me," she says. It turned out she had a hormonal imbalance that was making it difficult to get the weight off. She had surgery to correct the problem, and on March 15, 2005, underwent gastric-bypass surgery at UCLA.
She understood from the beginning that what she was doing would require a lifelong change in her lifestyle. "Your mind has to be 100 percent around it," Cari says. "It took me a long time to get to that point - I wanted to understand what it entailed, what the side effects might be, what were the pros and cons." After all her investigation, "I was completely ready to do it," she says.
Now Cari finds that she not only feels better - the asthma, apnea and back problems are gone - but people respond to her more positively. "It is night and day. Now I get hit on all the time," she says with a laugh. "I get asked out. It's really a wonderful feeling." In addition to changing her eating habits, Cari exercises three to five times a week. "I am very mindful now of what I do, and I work hard to make my new lifestyle a new way of living for myself, my family and friends," she says.
"My health has gotten so amazing with the weight loss, my new thing is hiking. And in addition to the weight, I was a heavy smoker, so this is not something I ever thought I would be able to do," she says.
"It's just so incredible that I can feel like this again. I eat healthy. I exercise. I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been!"