I struggled with my weight from the time I was 12 years of age through my adult life. It started with a few pounds here and there and then my weight continued to increase every year.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? My highest documented weight was 315 pounds and that was as I went through my pregnancy and birth of my son. My weight caused me to have a lot of health issues that I had become comfortable using medications to control such as High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Acid Reflux and I had become Pre-Diabetic.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I went in to my doctor’s office for a routine appointment so I thought. My doctor informed me that over a course of time my A1C levels continued to increase to high levels and that he could not continue to allow me leave it untreated. He then proceeded to tell me he wanted me to start taking medication. That was my “Turning Point”.
I knew that was not the life I wanted to have, relying on more medications. I watched my father lose one of his legs from this disease and it ultimately ended up taking his life. I was determined to not allow this to be my fate and leave my child without a mother. I promised my doctor if he gave me a chance to turn this around I would make a change and if I failed I would do it his way with medication.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I prayed and researched and researched and prayed on what was best for me. Over the years I had tried so many “diets ” that worked for a while and then I reverted back to my old habits and my old weight. I didn’t want to do that roller coaster any more.
I made the decision to have Gastric Bypass surgery and walked through the steps to get that accomplished. Appointment after appointment, screening after screening I went and I was focused and I knew failure was not an option. On Feb 1, 2010 my life changed , that was the day of my surgery and it was the best decision I could have made for myself. The surgery allowed me a new lease on life and I’m thankful for it.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? After my surgery there were many phases I had to go through. It was not about the weight shedding quickly but more about the mental component of it. I started losing weight immediately after surgery and I was taken off of all of my medication. This was an emotional and surreal moment for me.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? Although I had went through all the required classes pre-surgery no one prepared me on how to deal with my own mental and emotional factors of the surgery. Walking the journey is different for everyone. There are so many new things I had learn and so many things I to do to keep my momentum and progress moving.
I had to retrain my brain on the right things to eat. My body had just went through a total revamp and the old me and the old thoughts could not continue. I had to go through trial and error on certain foods. Some foods would stay down but some foods would make a return in the worse way. I had to learn what not to do to “Dump” which is different for everyone. I had to learn how to keep food in my system.
My family was behind me 100%. For the first six months I did not realize the benefit that exercise had in my journey like I do now because I was not on board with that very important component. My first thought process was that my weight was shedding and my food intake was less so that was all i needed because every walk is different. That was my mind set after my surgery.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I knew that giving up was not an option and my body was going through so many phases quickly. My peers and my family were in aww of my progress as was I. Raising my son was and continues to be my motivation for continuing to stay healthy and fit and not returning to the old me. Not regaining my weight is crucial after 6 years post opt of Bariatric Surgery
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I hit a plateaus about 6 months into my weight loss after the surgery. That is when I decided that I had to start exercises which I truly despised. The only difference is that now I felt I would not get winded as I took strolls or walked on the treadmill. I started out at gym walking, elliptical, treadmills and became board with the process because I always hated working out.
I decided to step into a Zumba class that was offered at my gym and my very first class I realized I enjoyed the music, the moving not so much but the music gave me a happy feeling. I lasted a whole 15 mins in the class from the back row and boy was I excited.
I ditched the treadmill and started attending the zumba class regularly. Fast forward some months into attending and I moved from the back row to one of the front row divas. My Weight started back falling off very quickly and my endurance picked up , I was not lasting the whole hour then hitting my weight trainings.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? It took me 6 months to hit the first wave of my weight loss before it stalled. Once I jump started it with Zumba my weight started falling off even quicker and that was an additional 3 months and my weight was down tremendously I think I had lost over 80 lbs by then.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Non scale victories were won when I would go shopping and my clothing sizes were dropping, dropping dropping. Going out to eat with family and friends and not wanting much to eat or not caring that I could not each much was a true victory for me. My energy level increased tremendously.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? My daily diet consists of small portions when I eat. I conscientiously make an effort to get in my 6 meals a day which includes my snacks. I make sure hit my protein target daily to keep me feeling full as well as enhance my workouts in the afternoons for myself and my fitness students.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? My physical activity is through the roof. About a year into taking zumba classes I decided to take it to another level, I became a zumba instructor. I wanted to help people achieve the natural high from fitness and learn to have fun with it.
I started my own fitness business (WootenFitnezz) and grew my business into all around judgement Free fitness camp for EVERYONE, incorporating weight training and fitness for Children and adults. My motto that I live by is “Changing lives one workout at a time”. We cover Low impact all the way through High intensity fitness programs as well as Nutrition Coaching. Although Zumba was my start I grew my business with many more certifications and licenses to properly train my clients.
My love for fitness and what it has done to keep and maintain my health and weight I am forever grateful. I know coach other bariatric clients on how to keep their weight down and jump start their process. I coach and train non bariatric patients on healthy ways to change their lives. I workout daily with my clients and then I work my own body out to stay fit. My energy level is through the roof
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Set realistic Goals
- Believe in yourself
- Meal Prep
- Start small and grow from that
- Learn to read Nutrition labels correctly