“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 – just plain old hard work and inspiration to be a healthier version of herself.
Julie recalls how she was the lucky one among her siblings because she didn’t struggle with weight and that she was active and fit as a child and teen. “My weight started creeping on in my 20s after having kids and getting promoted at work. Life revolved around my kids and job and my self-care routine fell into the cracks. Life just got so busy that I lost time for exercise,” she remembers. “I was in a rut; stress eating and eating out a lot. I tried Jenny Craig but regained all I had lost, and the struggle continued.”
“When I hit 220 pounds, it’s like that’s where my body wanted to be. It didn’t matter if I watched what I ate. I gave up and thought that’s just the way it’s going to be. My blood pressure was high, I had prediabetes and I’m sure I had some form of sleep apnea. I had no energy and couldn’t keep up with my two grandkids,” Julie says.
That was when Julie decided it was her turn to take care of herself. “Like they say, when you’re ready, you’re ready! I didn’t listen to what other people said. I just decided bariatric surgery was for me, and with the support of my family, I went for it,” shares Julie.
Julie looked at her options and chose Anchorage Bariatrics. “When I went there for my consultation, I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t feel like this was my fault or like I’ve done something wrong. It was a great experience from day one. The team that assisted me were phenomenal from the beginning, including Kristi and Stephanie. Trudie in the front office was very helpful and answered all of my billing and insurance questions. Dr. Clark is extraordinary; he’s very thorough. Everybody is amazing. I would recommend them a zillion times,” proclaims Julie.
The first day after surgery, Julie was worried about how she was going to manage. “By the second day, I was walking around my neighborhood. I made my kids walk with me until I got my 10,000 steps every day. Dr. Clark stressed to me how exercise is so important and as soon as I was cleared for activity, I started running and have never looked back!” Julie shares.
A year and a half post-surgery, Julie is doing great. “My overall health is so much better! I don’t get sick as often as I used to, and if I do catch something, I recover quickly,” Julie says. “I’ve become very smart about food choices and my mindset has completely changed. I eat for energy versus eating to fill up.”
Julie says her coworkers can’t believe it when she shows them old pictures of herself. “They say I’m an inspiration, which I never thought I’d be. My friends and I do triathlons and run races together now and help one another pursue healthier lifestyles,” shares Julie. “One of my fears was not being able to go out to restaurants with my friends, because food was such a social thing for me. I’ve realized now that I can still do that and enjoy it; I just make healthier choices and it’s surprisingly easy to do. I’ve also learned that I’m stronger. I can do it. I learned not to judge people and what they are going through. It’s okay to have a bad day, you just get right back up and things will be okay. There’s always tomorrow.”