Sharon, Healthy Steps Patient

Sharon lost 167 pounds!

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I was obese when I started kindergarten and morbidly obese by the 6th grade. My dieting career started in the first grade. While I can not a recall a time when I was not obese, I cannot remember a time when I was not on a diet. I’ve been on them all; I lost well over 700 pounds between the ages of six and thirty and I regained every single pound and then some. Throughout it all I was relatively healthy and reasonably active. But a life time of obesity started to catch up to me in my thirties, when I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (a metabolic disorder). It became harder and harder to lose weight and my mobility was more and more compromised. All those years of yo-yo dieting took their toll and at forty my metabolism came to a complete halt. I enrolled in a supervised diet program and followed it religiously… and gained 6 pounds over three months on 1200 calories a day.

My primary care provider started encouraging me to consider weight loss surgery. She’s watched me struggle for 10 years, knew I was giving it my best effort, and believed that I would not be able to lose any appreciable amount of weight without surgical intervention. I was very resistant to surgery. I was scared that the malabsorption aspects of the surgery would lead to nutritional deficiencies. I was frightened of general anesthetic, worried I wouldn’t wake up. But most of all I was afraid that I would fail once again, that I wouldn’t be able to make the necessary life style changes. In 2009 my doctor sat me down for a heart to heart, expressing her concern for my rapidly deteriorating health. My asthma was out of control. I couldn’t walk 100 feet without needing to use my rescue inhaler and I was going through 3 inhalers a month. My back and knees hurt so badly that I was taking Motrin every 6 hours and pain pills as soon as I got home from work. My fasting glucose was 105 (boarder line diabetic) even on glucophage. My cholesterol and triglycerides were elevated and I was hypertensive. I frequently lost my voice due to reflux unresponsive to medication. And the larger & more immobile I got, the more depressed I became. I gave dieting one more shot, having promised my doctor I would pursue weight loss surgery if my weight wasn’t consistently coming off in six months. I managed to get down to 275 pounds and stalled for 3 months. Knowing I had given weight loss my best effort, I called Healthy Steps and made an appointment with Dr. Woodbury.

After meeting Dr. Woodbury and the Healthy Steps staff, I knew I was right where I needed to be. During our first visit with Dr Woodbury, we discussed that surgery was a tool – a powerful tool, but only a tool. I took this to heart and opted to take the “slow train” to surgery, spending about 8 months actively working on building healthy life style habits and working on the emotional issues that allowed me to become so obese in the first place. The lovely folks at Healthy Steps supported and encouraged me every step of the way! Finally I was ready and on October 19, 2010, I had a roux-en-y gastric bypass.

My highest weight was 297 pounds, I wore 5X pants, I currently weigh 130 pounds and size 4 pants. My co-morbidities have all but disappeared – no more reflux or PCOS, joint pain is minimal and requires no medication, labs are normal, blood pressure is low, and I’ve used my rescue asthma inhaler 3 times in the last 2 years. My prescriptions dropped from 11 to three. My physical health has never been better and I have energy for the first time in my adult life. Making healthy, conscious choices has become my habit. I choose to nourish my body with whole foods, because I love how I feel. When I am having a blue day, I now love and respect myself enough to face whatever is causing the turmoil, rather than to numb myself with food. I feel a freedom in my body that is new for me. My body actually craves physical activity – something I never expected to experience!  Exercise has become a part of my daily routine that I look forward to.  I love bicycling on Sonoma County’s gorgeous trails; on my bike I feel like a little kid again! I also enjoy walking, dancing, and working out on my rebound trampoline.  I love that I can fit anywhere: airplane seats, booths, carnival rides, theater seats, public rest rooms, turnstiles, & chairs with arms. Weight is no longer an obstacle; I can do things I’ve never been able to do before like zip-lining and horseback riding without a second thought.  I no longer feel negatively judged when people look at me, which has freed me to be more outgoing. My confidence has blossomed and I feel at peace with myself for the very first time. Committing to a radical life-style change and weight loss surgery was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I am so grateful that I found the courage to say yes. Without a doubt, having my RNY was one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made for myself! I believe it saved my life. Living in a healthy body has certainly given me back the life I’d put on hold for so many years. Thank you Dr. Woodbury and Healthy Steps for facilitating my journey to health and wellness!