“You have to push yourself. It’s not easy, but if you do, that will open up so many more doors,” says Kathleen, wife to a military husband and mother to two children, about her weight loss journey with Anchorage Bariatrics.
When her husband was home from the military, Kathleen shared that they would eat out a lot. She continued to gain weight after delivering her children. The weight gain caused Kathleen to suffer from severe back pain. She couldn’t go sledding, sit on the floor, and if she tried walking for a long period of time, it would always make her back hurt. She just wasn’t comfortable in her own skin. Kathleen remembers being uncomfortable meeting her husband’s friends and colleagues; it made her feel self-conscious being “the chunky wife of a successful CEO husband.”
To combat the weight gain, Kathleen tried working out and Weight Watchers. After a few months, Kathleen plateau and become frustrated. She felt as if she was killing herself and still not losing the weight. This resulted in her just giving up.
A family trip to Hawaii with her husband, children, and parents was a turning point in Kathleen’s life. “This trip was so uncomfortable! I couldn’t find summer clothes in Alaska in February and was forced to order online, but I had no idea what size to order. I couldn’t wear shorts so instead, I rolled up my leggings,” Kathleen remembers.
The airplane ride called for another insult to Kathleen as she had to use a seatbelt extender. She didn’t want to do the “fun stuff” or go to the beach and swim because her weight made her feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. All she did was watch her children and husband having fun while she filmed them from the shore.
Three weeks later, Kathleen had a doctor’s appointment with her general practitioner and asked about weight loss pills. She didn’t think she needed surgery nor had she heard of the gastric sleeve. Kathleen tried the diet pills for three months, lost ten pounds, and that was it…it wasn’t working. She was then referred to Anchorage Bariatrics and was shocked when Dr. Lee said she would be a great candidate for the sleeve. Weighing in at 312 lbs., it was time to take a drastic step.
Leading up to surgery, Kathleen was very excited to start a new chapter. However, she found that some of her family members weren’t encouraging or supportive and would tell her she didn’t need to have the surgery. This actually had the opposite effect and strengthened her resolve.
“The pre-op diet was so hard; I really had to find the willpower to stick to it,” says Kathleen. “On December 20, 2019, I had Gastric Sleeve surgery. I admit, I was terrified the day of surgery – crying and second guessing my decision. The first month following surgery was challenging and after being on a liquid diet for so long, I had an overwhelming desire to chew.”
Today, Kathleen feels great! “Now I am able to go to the gym, walk the dogs, walk three to five miles a day, five days a week, work on my woodworking projects, and finally go sledding with my children! I also find myself getting more attention from people who previously didn’t speak to me much and I even receive compliments from strangers.”
Kathleen finds that she makes better choices when it comes to her diet now. She also finds herself being more aware and sympathetic to people who are struggling with their weight. The advice she has for anyone contemplating surgery is to “trust the process and your doctor.”
“My only regret is that I didn’t do the surgery years sooner. I’ve met my goal weight of 185 lbs. and continue to do well,” says Kathleen. “I learned to push myself in ways I didn’t think I could accomplish before. You have to dig deep and push yourself mentally and physically. The surgery is not an easy way out, but it is not as hard as some people think it is either..I would totally do it again in a heartbeat! Everyone’s story is different. Advice is great, but in the end it’s your journey. You have to make it and no one else can make it for you. If others aren’t supportive, as long as you believe in yourself, you can do it.”