I've always been active - in my head - wanting to do big bike rides, swim, run...things I've never been able to do in the body I had since puberty. I did do a couple of 35-mile bike rides (in Oregon), but when I tried to "train" for bigger events, I'd invariably get hurt, setting me back, regaining the weight and then some.
In spite of this, I still considered myself "active." (Now I know that was a lie I told myself.) After I'd hit age 35, my body started talking back to me. Up to that point, I'd still been able to do most everything I wanted to - spend a day walking and riding at Disneyland, cruising with my husband, etc. But, after a seat-belt-extender plane ride with a very rude seat mate, a few sore muscles, and yet another failed attempt at Weight Watcher's...November of 2009 came, I hit bottom emotionally about the problem.
Up to that point, I'd considered weight loss surgery the "easy" way out. But, the fact is, I wasn't getting OUT any other way. I was able to get a referral from my primary care doctor to Kaiser's Severe Obesity Program. Kaiser's program is comprehensive - and definitely not the "easy" way out. They make you go through many classes, counseling sessions to work through your individual issues, lose weight pre-operatively and show that you have what it is going to take to be successful long-term. It was EXACTLY what I needed.
Between November of 2009 and January 2011, I lost 60 lbs., preparing for surgery. 1/14/11, I had RNY surgery, and have FOUND MYSELF since. I'm down a total of 117 lbs, have done two 5K races (walking at this point - because of knee pain, and advice to wait to run until I'm closer to goal weight). For the rest of the year, I have 5 more "races" scheduled - (5K, 8K, and 10K), and have signed up to do the Oregon Warrior Dash on 9/11/11. I've also signed up for the inaugural Portland Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon on 5/20/11!
I've had a couple of challenges. I'm an active member of Kaiser's monthly support group, and one of the "moderators" for the online support group. (I was asked to take over that position because of my "enthusiasm" and "getting it.") I've really found it challenging to find others who are motivated as I am in the physical fitness area. I really WANT to do big things - marathons, triathlons, etc., and am realizing that there aren’t a lot of people with my passion. Of course, I realize that in the "skinny" world, the percentage of people interested in endurance events isn't all that great, either. I'm still seeking that kind of support - from the BARIATRIC community - and know if I keep digging I'll find it. (In fact, I got a referral to a group last night - but have to wait for their meeting next month.)
One great thing that I was able to do was too hook up with Lea Crossetti. She's a nutritionist (and triathlete) in California who formed "Bariathletes," a program specialized in training and nutrition for bariatric patients wanting to do endurance events. Lea's background with bariatric patients, as well as her own experience as a triathlete, made for the perfect combination of information and expertise for me, where that information is so hard to come by - even in this high-tech world. I spent the past three months working with her, and though I can't afford to keep up with her services for any longer - I felt she gave me enough information/training to empower me to move forward. Plus, I know we'll be LIFELONG friends! (I’d recommend for anyone to connect with her – she’s a rockstar! www.bariathletes.com)
Another thing I've been able to do...which culminated yesterday...is speak on behalf of the bariatric community. Obesity discrimination is a huge issue, and the company I work for is addressed the topic yesterday, in the form of a "brown bag" lunch workshop. I got to speak (with a medical professional), on what it's like to be a fat person, not valued as much as a normal-weight person, in today's workforce (and world, in general). In my short five months post-op, I've already seen the change in the way I'm treated...and I still have 50-75 lbs to go! It was an amazingly supportive session, and I got fantastic feedback…plus we had a great turnout!
I'm still early in my journey - but I have PASSION about making a difference, and showing people that this TOOL can be life-changing, when done right. It is NOT for everyone. I have a family member who considered the surgery, and decided it wasn't for him. (For now, anyway.) It is a very personal journey, with tough decisions along the way, and lots of work to do before and after. (Of course, there are always going to be people who just "pay" for it, and don't get the support they need, and become another statistic.)
I hope my story intrigues you, and that you'll be interested in contacting me!