Lap Band surgery at age 22, -75lbs in 8 months and still losing!
I struggled with my weight my entire life. I grew up with laughs, stares, and whispers directed towards me because of the way I looked. By the age of 22, I weighed over 280lbs. When I went to the doctor for a checkup, I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic knee and back pain, and my fertility was at risk due to my morbid obesity.
With all of these issues along with a family history of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, I felt like a ticking time bomb. I had tried every diet in the book. I had lost over 50lbs in the past only to gain the weight back and then some.
I’ll never forget sitting in that doctors office, alone, having her tell me that I will never resolve these health issues without losing over 100lbs. Of course, there were no tips, suggestions, or support offered as to how I was to lose this massive amount of weight, so I had to take matters into my own hands. I did some research and came across information about the Lap Band system.
The surgery was ideal for me. Being a university student, I didn’t have time for a long recovery. I also did not want to take the drastic measure of having my stomach and intestines re-wired in order to lose weight. The Lap Band simply restricts the amount that can be eaten and makes the individual feel fuller for longer. I also liked the idea that the band can be adjusted in order to find the ‘perfect fit’ for each person.
I started the long process that is required for insurance approval. I worked with a nutritionist and went through a supervised workout program, along with psychological evaluations and physical tests. Finally, on November 21st, 2007, I had my surgery. On that Thanksgiving, I was not able to eat or drink anything, but I have never been so thankful for anything in my life.
The Lap Band helped me to lose my weight fairly quickly at first, but after awhile the weight loss slows to about 4-8lbs a month. This may not seem like much, but losing the weight slowly is actually better for the body and considered completely normal for Lap Band patients.
It has only been 8 months, but I’m already down over 75lbs. I have gone from a size 26 to a size 16, and my medical issues have already been entirely resolved. I used to barely be able to climb a flight of stairs, but now I jog several times a week and I feel much better about myself and who I am.
The weight loss surgery helped me to lose the weight, but I also had to learn about nutrition and restraint. The band is a tool to help, but if a person cannot restrain themselves and does not know the proper foods that should be eaten, they will not have a successful experience.
The Lap Band is not the easy way out, but for me, I believe it was the only way out. My genetics, environment, and mindset were all working against me when I tried to lose weight, and the Lap Band was something that helped turn the odds in my favor.
The drastic weight loss has changed my life in many ways. I am a classical singer as well as a student teacher, and the weight loss has helped me gain confidence that I didn’t even realize that I lacked when teaching or performing in front of an audience. I have also learned a lot about the people in my life. I am blessed to have the support of my family, my boyfriend, and many friends.
Unfortunately, some of the people in my life are unable to accept the new, confident person that I have become. In talking with other people who have had weight loss surgery, I have learned that this is common. Some people disapproved of the surgery, and some people simply do not like that I am not insecure enough to tolerate certain behaviors anymore. In the end, of course, I am much better off.
When I look at pictures of myself from just a few months ago, sometimes I can’t believe that I actually achieved all of this. Sometimes I feel as if I’m dreaming, but each morning I wake up and see a much thinner and healthier body than I have ever known. The best part of all of this is that I am still losing weight and becoming healthier each and every day. I realize that I will be alive much longer to be loved by my family, friends, and loving boyfriend.
I have lost a good deal of weight as well as a good deal of baggage, but what I have gained through this experience is joy and hope beyond measure.
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