“I’ve never been anybody’s inspiration,” begins Julie A., a gastric sleeve patient at Anchorage Bariatrics. “Now I’ve lost half of my body weight and I’m winning 5k and 10k races in my age group. My grandkids want to run like me; that, I’m proud of!” From her heaviest at 240 pounds, Julie is now down to 120 pounds! How did she do it? No magic, no shortcuts…
“Gaining after losing just messes up your confidence in keeping the weight off,” says Sherri. “After so many failures, I said to myself ‘why even try?’ so I gave up. Then the body shaming incident happened and I felt sick and mortified. I’m more than my exterior, I’m a human being, and I don’t deserve to be treated this way. That same day I picked up the phone and called Anchorage Bariatrics.”
“I’m only 24. I thought I had time to lose this weight on my own. I figured, ‘I’m young enough, I can probably do it.’ Then I got real with myself and realized I had already been trying for years. My turning point was when I was told I could not have children of my own if I didn’t change my ways. I’m getting married in a few months & having a family is a huge part of our plans. I want to be there for my husband and future kids. Motivated to make things happen, Cara booked an appointment.”
Tim & Megan C.
Tim remembers being at his heaviest at 490 pounds. He says the weight started packing on after he got out of the army. Once he got close to 500 pounds, he just had had enough. Megan relates that she had been heavy her whole life, but was at her heaviest at 300 pounds. The couple agreed that they needed to make a change when they saw their oldest son picking up their unhealthy eating habits and they did not want this life for him. That was the wakeup call for Tim and Megan.
“It was like a landslide – the high blood pressure, fatty liver, and type-2 diabetes all hit at once. I was sleeping with a C-pap machine every night due to sleep apnea. I tried diet plans like Weight Watchers, I exercised, did what most people do to lose weight and it wasn’t working for me; it was just yo-yo dieting. I felt like my life was in danger and I started to research more permanent weight loss options with high success rates.”
One day in 2012, Dorothy S. was at work when she suddenly passed out, dropping to the floor and nearly hitting her head in what could have been a tragic accident. Thankfully, she was OK and wound up in the emergency room with only minor injuries. While she was there, she was given the news that she had full-blown Type 2 Diabetes, a disease brought on by her weight and unhealthy eating habits. A drop in blood sugar had caused her to pass out.
Have you ever thought that no one understands how you feel about your weight? Kristi is one of those people who can relate – she’s someone who truly knows what it is like to be overweight and unhappy about it. She is also someone who had the courage to make a change and is now living her best life for it. Kristi joined the Air Force after high school and even had to lose weight to conform to their requirements. She used laxatives and diet pills to “make weight” whenever she needed to.
PFD technician, retired military
“Before my surgery, I couldn’t even walk 150 yards. I couldn’t do anything with my children. Now I’m walking 2-3 miles a day, climbing 12-15 flights of stairs. I have a lot more energy and I’m a lot happier. I saw my sister for the first time in two years and she didn’t even recognize me!” Russell F. had his first appointment with Dr. Clark in February 2015. Weighing in at 437 pounds, Russell was unable to live the life he wanted with his family of eight kids, ages 15 through 38. After seeing others achieve success with bariatric surgery, Russell sought out Dr. Clark.
Getting healthy can be a family affair. Just ask Teresa C. who, after years of struggling with her weight, found the courage to make a change after her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. After her daughter’s diagnosis, Teresa knew she had to get healthy, not only to take care of her daughter, but also to set a good example.
Mom, Competitive Runner
Maddie P. isn’t your typical wife and mom of four. She’s a competitive runner, Zumba freak and practicing yogi. But things haven’t always been this way for her. After reaching her peak weight of 252 pounds on her petite frame, Maddie knew it was time to make a change when she couldn’t catch her running toddler.
Artist, Stay-at-home Mom
“Growing up, I was often bigger than most of my friends. I wasn’t ‘the fat girl,’ but I always felt like I was fighting my weight – but it was a fight that never went anywhere. Things took a turn in my mid-thirties, though, when I went on medication and began treatment for high blood pressure. Everything seemed to be creeping in on me. I knew things needed to change.”
Meet Sarah, a busy wife and mother of four who found herself at the end of her rope after steadily gaining 114 pounds over the course of 15 years. Like so many women, she struggled with her weight after having children. “After my kids were born, it was like my body rebelled against me. My hormones were so out of whack that I couldn’t lose any weight no matter what I tried. And believe me, I tried!”
US Air Force Veteran
Imagine having to get off a crowded elevator because you caused it to be over the weight limit. Or not being able to participate in a zip line adventure on your family’s vacation to the Philippines. This is what Pat, a decorated former member of the US Air Force, was dealing with after a decade of gaining weight. Ashamed of his body, Pat would sneak away when it was time to take family photos. This is not how Pat envisioned living his life.
“I knew I needed to do something. I was up to 250 pounds. Even going on a walk with my husband was difficult, I would get too easily winded. I had tried Weight Watchers and Tops Club, but none of the programs worked for me in the long-term. We have five grandkids and I wanted to be able to enjoy them, to live as long as I can.” For Cindy, the weight had crept in slowly over time, five pounds here and there over a period of twenty years.
“I had to spend money out-of-pocket for this procedure,” states Joni, “but it has been worth every penny. In just six months, I’ve lost 76 pounds and have 15 to go to reach my goal weight. I don’t look at it as cost per pound, but at all the other things you can’t place a monetary value on, like better health, a longer, happier life, and now I have the freedom to choose how I spend my retirement. I used to think that all I would be able to do is sit around quilting and reading, but now I’m excited to go downhill skiing again!”
Along the Journey
“I used to isolate, I never wanted to go out of the house and be seen, I never wanted to talk to anyone, and I had very low self-esteem. Now, I go out to restaurants and go out in public and I don’t mind it. I have more energy now than I ever had,” shares Dennis.
“A simple trip to the grocery store would wear me out,” laments Kat. “After I got back home my knees would hurt so badly that I would have to lie down. But the real kicker was the day I had to carry around my nine-month old granddaughter and I was not able to do it. That’s when I found Anchorage Bariatrics and began the New Directions diet plan guided by clinical dietitian, Erika Van Calcar.”