“People say bariatric surgery is the easy way out, and I’m here to tell you, it’s not. It was a big change. Changing my habits was a struggle, but once I started to get out and do more with my new life, it felt amazing and worth the challenge,” begins Jennifer D., a patient of Dr. Sean Lee at Anchorage Bariatrics.

After seeing the results of her surgery at Anchorage Bariatrics and hard work, Jennifer has become very vocal about the realities of bariatric surgery – it’s not a lazy solution to losing weight. Jennifer is keen on helping other people who are going through the same situation.

Jennifer recalls that her weight gain started in middle school. Neither dieting nor mindful eating was an option for her then because her family was so poor that they just ate what they could when it was available. Fast forward to adulthood when Jennifer realized she had to do something about her weight. She started dieting and exercising, but always hit a plateau and felt discouraged. The idea that people were assuming that she was not doing anything about her physical state while in fact she was working hard at it, with little to no results, was extremely frustrating and demoralizing.

“I lost interest in doing things. I got to a point where I gave up and went back to my old habits. Recently, I discovered surgery as an option. It was then that I realized that what I was doing wasn’t wrong. All of my prior dieting ups and downs had worked against me, causing my body to reset my weight to an unhealthy set point. No matter how hard I worked towards a healthy weight goal, my body was undermining my efforts by trying to maintain my weight at this memorized high set point. When I found Anchorage Bariatrics, I really wanted to make the bariatric surgery happen,” recalls Jennifer.

Jennifer had heard the myth that gastric surgery was the easy way out for losing weight, and believed that you have surgery, then eat whatever you want afterwards, and it won’t affect your weight. Jennifer decided to research this “easy fix.” She looked up bariatric surgery online and found helpful resources on the Anchorage Bariatrics website. Myths dispelled, Jennifer decided to go for it.

After getting the information she needed, she went to visit Anchorage Bariatrics. “Dr. Lee is fantastic!” asserts Jennifer. “I like his personality, and I like the way he breaks things down for you. He is very detailed, so there was no point in the process where I didn’t understand bariatric surgery. He is very comforting to talk to and very welcoming. The entire staff is wonderful! They get to know you on a personal level. PA Tim is fabulous and super-fun to talk to. When I get stuck, they help me. Erika, the dietitian, is hilarious. I always enjoyed going to my meetings with her. They’re all just awesome!”

According to Jennifer, the first three days after bariatric surgery were a little difficult, but she was off her pain medications by the fourth day. She remembers, “Once I had the bariatric surgery, I felt a change…a new beginning. I felt ready to start a new life on the right foot. I was given a second chance at life.”

“I had to relearn how to eat, be mindful about my food intake, and become more active. I had to have my gallbladder removed because of the significant weight loss in a short amount of time. I now have food allergies and can no longer eat fatty foods. I eat a mostly Paleo diet and gluten-free foods,” shares Jennifer.

Right now, Jennifer maintains her weight by applying everything she learned from this experience: lifestyle changes, healthy eating, being physically active, and understanding how your own body works – everyone is a unique case which calls for a unique approach.

Jennifer would like to help others by actively sharing the positive change that she has experienced through bariatric surgery at Anchorage Bariatrics and by educating others that it’s not a quick fix, but a stepping stone to finding a better you.

“People I haven’t seen in years don’t recognize me. It’s interesting to hear your friends say, ‘I’m proud of you!’ A lot of positive things have come out of this experience,” shares Jennifer.

“There were always negative feelings surrounding my weight. I don’t have those anymore. I am super-proud of my accomplishments so I want to share them with others,” Jennifer says. “I couldn’t do a lot of outdoor activities when I was overweight because of pain and lack of energy. Now, I hike, run, and enjoy spending a lot of time outside. I feel amazing! I have more energy, and I do a lot more things. I’m taking full advantage of this second chance at life, and you can have yours, too. Life’s an adventure – get out there and enjoy it!”