“I am no longer invisible, less than, or defined by my weight.”
I was one of those people that had genetics against me. I was always heavy for my age, no matter how young, and was taught to clean up my plate because there were kids in other countries going without anything to eat. My parents prided themselves in the fact that if we didn’t have money we would always have food. And life would always be fine if you had food.
When I was 16 and I got married, I was 165 #. That was actually pretty heavy for a 5’ 2” height. At 20, I had my first son and weighed 226 pounds. I never saw 200# again. Two years later I had my second son and weighed 240 #. In the years to come, my highest weight was 326 pounds and I got to that weight twice.
In 2003 I had a work related injury that put me off my feet for a year. That is the second time I got to 326#. I could not even walk, let alone exercise. I was not in denial of my weight; I was at my wits end trying to figure out how to get it off. Over the previous years I tried so many diets and fads. My entire life I struggled with trying to lose weight, I had the desire, the determination, I just did not have the right tool to help me get my weight in control. In order to return to work, I had to have a thorough medical exam to determine my ability to perform my job duties. When I read the report I was dumbfounded! The doctor described me as “A super morbidly obese woman, 50 years old, in generally excellent health”. I had heard the phrase “obese” before but that wasn’t me, I was “fluffy”. “Morbidly obese” was someone over 400 pounds wasn’t it? But SUPER MORBIDLY OBESE just couldn’t be me. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I consciously started thinking about myself and where I was in my life journey and that I was in great health, but for how long? I thought about how I really felt invisible, “less than” by others. How people devalued me, and I let them just because of my weight. It took a day or two – then I got mad! I made a conscious choice to no longer be defined by my weight and to remove the “weight” issue from the equation. But how? I started on diets again but this time I started researching my option.
I worked for a company with over 600 employees at that time, 25 of those had all had Lap Band surgery by Dr. Kuri. 90% of those had been very successful. I set out to research each of them to find out if I could figure out why they were or were not successful, but more importantly to find out if this was a viable solution for me. My research concluded that there are two reasons people didn’t lose weight. One was of course what they were eating, the other was what was eating them. I had no idea if, or which of these reasons pertained to me. Two years later I decided that it was for me and that I needed to give 100% to following the rules to see if it really worked. If I did, then I had a good chance of success. I also decided that if the surgery took care of the eating issues and I discovered that I had emotional issues, then I would get help for that. I was no longer in denial. If this was another tool that was not going to work, I was committed to failing at weight loss because it was just another tool that did not work for me – not because I failed myself. Six weeks later, on December 17, 2005, I had the surgery.
I went into this journey very level headed. My personal goal was not a size I wanted to get to, it was how I wanted to feel. I was excited to maybe get from a size 28 to a size 18 in two years. At that size I knew I could shop at the regular stores and would be happier and more importantly healthier. In 11 months I lost 100 pounds. In another 4 months I lost another 30 pounds and reached my goal and was down 18 sizes. I was now the size I was at age 14. I have kept it off with very little effort for almost a year now.
Dr. Kuri does not take credit for my successes. He says he “just gave me the tool”, it was up to me “to make it work”. But Dr. Kuri went into a field of medicine that changes lives everyday. He is the best surgeon out there because he and his Team genuinely care about the patients as real people with real issues. I am so thankful that he touched my life. I am no longer invisible, less than, or defined by my weight.