Jackie's Story - Gastric Sleeve
Weight Loss Surgery: Sleeve Gastrectomy - Age 43, Total Lost: 103 pounds lost so far*
"I highly recommend bariatric surgery and UCLA to anyone who is looking for an opportunity to change their life and get healthy." —Jackie
My struggles with weight loss started when I was a teenager, I was fit, a dancer, swimmer, cheerleader but never felt skinny enough and was on a forever diet it seemed; the cabbage diet, the vanilla ice cream diet, the lemonade cleanse, weight watchers, Atkins, Susanne Summers, you name it, I tried it. In college I was at my thinnest, 113 pounds at 5’6 but eating very poorly, a Snickers and a Coke for breakfast and maybe a salad for dinner. After college the eating habits were not the best, lots of Coca Cola, chips, fast food, cookies, emotional eating and gained a bit of weight after getting married but stayed around 135-140. At age 26 I got pregnant with my daughter and gained about 30 pounds, 175 when she was born. I lost some weight after the baby but stayed around 150 for a couple years, still had poor eating habits and eventually gained another 20 pounds before getting pregnant with my son. I was at my heaviest yet, the day he was born I was 202, I had never been over 200 pounds. I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with him and had a hard time losing the weight after he was born.
When my son was about 2 years old, I went on a crash diet competition with a coworker, doing Atkins and working out and doing Tae Bo 5-7 days week and was able to lose close to 50 pounds, I got down to 147 at my thinnest since having kids. That lasted about 6 months, my mom died suddenly and the emotionally eating came back and I little by little gained back all the weight I had lost and then some, sky rocketing to 210 at one point. Tried a few more fad diets and used diet pills to try to lose weight a few more times, would lose 20, 30, even 50 pounds at one point: each time gaining the weight back and always going back to old habits of eating out, fast food, junk food and with every major life event or tragedy, the emotional eating got worse, the weight came back and always gained more back than I had lost. The yo yo dieting and poor eating habits eventually brought about health concerns, towards the end of 2017, after the death of my step-father I had reached my heaviest weight ever, 252 pounds, a BMI of 40.2, high blood pressure, pre-diabetic, morbid obesity, sleep apnea, joint pain, shortness of breath and depression.
I saw my doctor and after reading my family medical history of both my father and grandmother passing away from esophageal cancer at 56 and 57 years old he recommended I see the doctors at COMET because I was at high risk for getting esophageal cancer myself at 42 years old. After doing my research and talking to other people who had bariatric surgery I decided that I was ready to make a change and get healthy and stay alive for my 2 children. I decided that 2018 would be the year that I got my physical, mental and spiritual health under control and the best way for me to do that was to start with bariatric surgery. This surgery would help me to learn a new life style and still do the hard work of healthy eating and exercise but would limit my food intake which had always been an issue.
Making the decision to have bariatric surgery was the best decision I have ever made, and my experience has been amazing thus far. The doctors, nurses, dietitians, administrators, everyone has been supportive, educational, understanding, kind and caring. All the information I was provided prior to the surgery was very helpful in making an informed decision about surgery. The diet prior to surgery was very easy to follow, high protein, low fat, low carb, really got me started on how to think differently about food before having the surgery. The list of foods, meal plans, and food tracking information was very helpful.
The surgery was very easy in preparation and success after because of the time I invested prior to surgery. I was in bed for 2-3 days after surgery but able to get up frequently and get out on short walks even 2 days after surgery. After surgery, the diet was also easy to follow, I stuck to just liquids in the beginning, protein shakes, soups, soft foods, etc. I followed the diet exactly, I did not deviate from what was required and I also exercised daily. The first 6 weeks after surgery I was out walking 5-6 days per week. I started hiking at about a month after surgery and always used my food log and used a food tracker on my phone to track my food, calories, exercise and water. I started to feel better and have more energy even at one month after surgery, each month as I lost more weight I started to feel better, more energy, less heavy breathing during exercise, less snoring, less joint pain.
I am 9 months post-surgery and I have lost a total of 93 pounds since the day of surgery with a BMI of 23.24. I was 247 pounds prior to surgery one year ago, 9 months ago on March 5th the day I went in for surgery I was 237. The gastric sleeve surgery has been one of the best decisions of my life, it has given me my health back and my self-confidence. I am setting an example for my kids that I can change my life and stick to a decision and try to be my best version of me. This has been a lot of discipline and hard work. I exercise 4-6 days per week, I have a protein shake every morning, drink water all day, eat no sugar, no processed foods, no fast food, no junk food, no soda, high protein, lots of fresh veggies, small amount of fruits, hardly any carbs, good fats like avocado, olive oil, grass fed butter, nuts, etc. I run 1.5 – 2 miles 3-5 days per week and hike 2 miles, 5 days per week. I focus on self-care daily and make this a lifestyle change not just for me but for my family also. Going to the support groups monthly and going to all follow up appointments is critical to the success after surgery. I highly recommend bariatric surgery and UCLA to anyone who is looking for an opportunity to change their life and get healthy.