Life as a latchkey kid was rough on Ashlie Wilson. By the time she was in third grade, she was coming home to an empty house, where she chose her own snacks and her own activities, which mostly meant watching television. By age 28, she weighed about 350 pounds, and even though she tried diet after diet, the weight she lost came back, and then some. It wasn’t until she turned to bariatric surgery that she was able to reach her goal weight.
TAKING CHARGE: I decided that despite the cost, this was what was going to be best for me and my future because I could negate so many health care problems that were coming straight at me – diabetes, heart problems, all those complications of being morbidly obese. I could actually prevent those if I lost the weight.
THE PLAN: I work out about twice a week now, but I make the small choices like taking the stairs at work rather than the elevator and parking further away from the door of any store that you’re about to go into. Just those small choices can make a big difference in your activity level.
LIFE AFTER WEIGHT LOSS: It’s like I have a whole new lease on life. People don’t look at you funny anymore. When I’m walking on to an airplane, I don’t see that fear in people’s eyes like, “Oh, God, please don’t let her be seated next to me.” You know, discrimination against heavy people is the one acceptable type of discrimination that’s left because people look at you when you’re overweight and they automatically think, “Oh, you’re lazy, oh, you eat too much,” but it’s not always about those things. Now, I admit I made bad food choices, I wasn’t as active as I should have been, but there are so many chemical things, metabolism things that can be going on in someone’s life that no one else can see from the outside.
GAINING CONFIDENCE: When you’ve been morbidly obese for more than 18 years, some things don’t exactly shrink back to where they should be and your skin doesn’t have that elasticity. So I have actually undergone plastic surgery recently on my stomach, my breasts and my arms.
NO MIRACLE CURE: Bariatric surgery is not the easy way out. You still have to make all the food choices, you still have to do the exercise because it is actually possible to defeat this surgery. It is an incredibly powerful weight loss tool, but it’s just that, it’s one tool in the arsenal that you’re going to need to meet your goal weight. It’s easy to say that the surgery gives you built-in portion control and that’s exactly what it does, but it doesn’t help you choose the food that you eat and it doesn’t make you get on that treadmill.
KEYS TO MY SUCCESS: Bariatric surgery. Exercise on the treadmill. A revamped approach to food.