Harlenny Lost 66 Lbs. with Gastric Sleeve*
GASTRIC SLEEVE SURGERY
Before gastric sleeve surgery, I was on a yo-yo diet for most of my life. After my pregnancy, no matter how much I tried, the scale indefinitely stayed on the heavier side even up to 12 years later.
Being overweight and juggling motherhood became my long life battle and figuring out how to lose weight was always on my mind. I tried everything: fad diets, fasting, medication and many holistic approaches. When I was taking weight loss medication and the pounds started coming off I thought I had found the answer to my prayers. The medication curbed my appetite, but not eating made me feel jittery. And once the pill was out of my system, my old eating habits and lifestyle surrounding food re-emerged.
My family and I always take an annual trip to the Caribbean. After returning, I was looking through my photos to select the ones I wanted to print. (Yes, I still physically like seeing pictures in albums.) I realized that I wasn’t visible in many of the pictures because I was hiding behind my children or anything that showcased my body. It made me feel sad because my children wouldn’t be able to go back and show anyone this moment in time and proudly show their mom. I was always preaching to my kids how important it was to be healthy so I took my own advice and decided to have weight loss surgery.
Once I made the decision, I was nervous. Even on the day of my surgery, I kept feeling like I was taking the cowardly way out. Yet, I knew that I needed to do it and that I wanted to be healthy. Not only for myself, but also for my sons and my family. Breaking the cycle in my family of being diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure was going to start with me.
Gastric sleeve surgery has given me the ability to be physically available to my family, and for that, I am forever grateful to NJBC. Besides being my heroes; the doctors and staff were my confidants, supporters but most importantly, they were my number one cheerleaders. Everyone at every visit offered encouragement. Not only did they educate me, they actively listened, and always managed to find different ways to push me to keep on going. They never made me feel like my questions were silly. Whenever I felt defeated because I didn’t see the scale moving or if I had deviated from the plan the nutritionist and I had created, the doctors and staff made me feel at ease and assured me that this was all part of the process.
Since my weight loss, I love that I can now be unapologetically myself. I never knew how much of me I was hiding behind my weight. I am more outspoken, adventurous and willing to experience the unknown without much thought.
Prior to my gastric sleeve surgery, I didn’t think that the extra weight I carried was literally weighing me down, until I started losing weight. As my pounds started decreasing, I felt my life kept increasing. I didn’t realize I was in a fog while being overweight; I had allowed myself to hide behind the excess weight and subsequently, it had prevented me from truly living my life. Now I realize that I was skipping events because I was feeling overwhelmed. I justified not signing up for a gym class, or engaging in simple activities with my children, just because I felt I wasn’t good enough to do it. All that has changed now. I have no shame in signing up for classes even if I feel that is out of my comfort zone. Now, I no longer avoid places, people or events. I have more confidence in not only myself, but my abilities as a parent/person. I became more self-aware of my capabilities and how this new me has motivated others.
NJBC offers exceptional service from the very beginning. They accommodate their patients' needs and they do it organically. Having that feeling of comfort while visiting a medical provider is rare but not at NJBC. They aren’t looking for perfect patients or making this weight loss journey about them. NJBC wants patients who choose themselves.
Some advice I have for others is to remember that there will always be someone that will try to downplay weight loss surgery. They will judge and criticize your decision. You know yourself best. If you believe that having weight loss surgery is right for you, then that’s all that matters. Remember your WHY. The truth is, weight loss surgery is an adjustment, and for some, a complete lifestyle change. Taking that first step of choosing surgery takes a lot of courage. You should be proud of all your victories no matter how small they may seem.