Pictures of me before surgery are few and far in between. The one above was taken at my graduation this past May 2015. Before I was the one behind the camera taking pictures. Now I’m not afraid of having them taken of me. The reason for avoiding the camera in the past is I’ve spent the vast majority of my life overweight. Very overweight.
I was constantly dieting and it was a vicious cycle of losing weight only to regain it. I was always told I just lacked will power but I now know that’s not true. Over the years I managed to diet my way up to 290 lbs. Along the way I lost hope and thought this was just the way it was going to be. If I couldn’t lose weight then I at least didn’t want to gain more and spent years maintaining the same weight. But working as a nurse and spending 8 to 12 hours constantly on my feet was taking it’s toll. Some days I could barely walk. Climbing stairs was getting more and more difficult. Back and knee pain were a constant companion. My blood pressure was rising and my fasting blood sugar levels were in the prediabetic range. With a family full of type 2 diabetics I knew what my future held. Even worse, as a nurse I’ve seen what the future for many long term diabetics held and it wasn’t pretty.
After much research and thought I decided to have gastric bypass surgery in 2004 and ultimately lost 130 lbs. Now, don’t roll your eyes and mumble something about taking the easy way out. I’ve heard it all before. First people tell you it doesn’t work, your just wasting your time, try another diet, etc. Then they tell you that your going to die. Then you lose weight and they turn around to say you took the easy way out. Please. Enough of that. Until you walk a mile in another person shoe’s you have no idea what your talking about. It wasn’t easy then and it still isn’t easy over 10 years later. The fight to maintain my weight loss is the same every day and probably will be until the day I die. The only difference is I added another tool to use to help me fight that battle.
Over the years I have constantly been asked lots of things about food. Especially once I returned to school to become a registered dietitian. One of the most important lessons I have learned is there is no one right way to eat healthy. There is no one right diet for people to follow. Each person has a different lifestyle that they are trying to live while attempting to eat better. A dietitian’s job is to find out about you, your health challenges and then help you learn how to make changes that will fit your life so you can reach your goals….whatever they may be. It may not be an overnight thing. But it can be done by simply changing what goes on your plate one meal at a time.