Like most overweight people I have been through
all kinds of steps to fix the problem. I have done Weight
Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri-System, Atkins, the carbohydrate
addictís diet, and I even took drugs. Nothing worked for
long or at all, and from the age of 20 to 34, I continually gained
I had heard of weight loss surgery years ago
but I wasn't ready mentally or emotionally to consider it. In
September of 2001 my sister-in-law asked me to attend a weight loss
surgery meeting with her and I felt comfortable for the first time
about being overweight, that I was OK, it's not just me with
feelings of failure and frustration.
After that first meeting, I learned all I could
about surgery. I read everything I found, checked out websites
and attended other meetings. I also had a lot of personal
changes to go through. First I had to admit that I wasn't just
obese, or morbidly obese, at 330 pounds I was super morbidly obese,
a term I had never even heard of. I was overweight, but it
really was a shock to me. Don't get me wrong, I knew I was big, but
all of a sudden a light bulb went off and I realized what I had done
I had no other problems besides the weight. I
could touch my toes, swim, and walk. I looked good and felt
good on the outside, but I wasn't happy on the inside. I
suffer from depression and anxiety, which was at an all time high. I
had to do something and realized that weight loss surgery was the
By November 19th, 2001 all of my
pre-surgery steps were complete, insurance approved me and I had a
date. January 24th, 2002 was the day my new life
would start. Talk about anxiety and mixed feelings! I
was scared about everything: surgery, failing again, finding out why
I had let myself get so big, and never eating normally again. So
many things worried me, such as dumping, surgery, blocking, surgery,
(LOL). The more I learned though the less scared I was.
I knew in my heart that this was it.
I was so excited and nervous before surgery,
and truthfully for me surgery was a breeze and so was my time in the
hospital. Everyone has different experiences at this stage.
Yes, I was sore. Yes, it was uncomfortable to get in and out of bed
and to walk. It was hard remembering to drink, eat and to move
around, but I knew it was temporary and would be over soon.
Even just days after surgery, I knew I had made the right choice.
At my two-week checkup I had my staples removed
and felt certain I hadn't lost a pound, that I was the only one the
surgery wouldn't work for. Boy was I wrong! I had lost 24
pounds in two weeks! I was shocked.
Over the next few months and continuing today,
I started a walking and weight training program and the pounds
continue to fall off. My biggest challenge is eating. I
chose to stay away from carbohydrates as much as possible and keep
sugar grams under 10 when I do have to make a choice. My
protein consists of eggs, cheese, milk chicken and tuna and I have
never used protein drinks. I can have just about anything I
want, but in very small quantities.
In July 2002, I hit 100 pounds lost and I was
elated. The weight loss doesn't tell the entire story though.
I look good, I feel good, and I am even more outgoing that before,
recently performing in a play. I was "stuck" at this
loss for about 2 months, and it was hard. I knew plateaus
would happen but I wanted it over with. I have started losing
again and am very glad. I know how far I have come, my body and mind
needed to have time to adjust to the loss. Even though the loss had
stayed still, I was getting smaller from working out. I
started at a tight size 28 for pants and am now in a loose 20. I
have lost a total of 40 inches from my chest, waist, hips and right
My brain still doesn't realize how far I have
come, but it sure helped me when my grandmother walked right past me
and my daughterís friend keep telling her that I wasn't her Mom.
My co-workers and church family call me the incredible shrinking
I would like to lose another 75 pounds and
hopefully I will reach that goal. But even if I don't, I am so happy
with where I am.
I am pleased to have shared a little of my
story with you. I wish all of you the best of luck wherever
you are on your journey. The best pieces of advice I can share
is that surgery is only a tool. If not used properly you can
diminish your results. Any problems I have had are not from the
surgery itself, but from me making wrong eating choices. Life
long habits are hard to break and I am still working on them. Learn
all you can, remember that this is for the rest of your life and
that the surgery works on your stomach not your head.
The reasons I got heavy are still there and now
I can't hide behind food or fat anymore. That is why I am attending
weekly counseling sessions and I make sure to attend monthly support
Don't be afraid to ask questions, and don't let
one personís results, good or bad, decide for you what is best.
Only you know whether or not you are truly ready to make this
choice, not your family, not your co-workers, not your doctor, but
you. I consider surgery as an overweight personís last resort,
kind of like an addict hitting bottom. You have to be ready to give
up an addicting behavior so you can live. Only then can healing
Thank you for letting me share. I love to talk
about my experience so if you have any questions don't be afraid to
email me at Harveys04@aol.com.
Love to all, Amber Harvey