Dulce had a sleeve gastrectomy in October 2016 at NWWC.
What is the best part about this journey?
Being able to live life with no additional complications. I’m in my 20’s. There were many activities that I wanted to do with friends. When I would try to do these things, it was harder. I would get tired. Just living is the best part of this journey. I did this because I wanted to live my life.
What has been the hardest part?
The hardest part has been making changes that have actually become a lifestyle. Many times, I catch myself going back to old habits and I have to correct that again. It’s definitely a challenge. Since you want to make this a lifestyle change, you cannot consider it a diet. Before surgery, I spent a lot of time dieting. I spent a lot of time being miserable. Now, I’m not following a certain diet like low-carb or high-fat. For me, it’s more about having balance and being able to live. I track all of my food on MyFitnessPal. I plan ahead if I know I’m going to go out to eat.
What goals did you set for yourself? Have you made progress towards those goals?
One of the goals that I set for myself was to be able to maintain my weight and I’ve been successful at that. I stay in a weight range of about 10 pounds and I don’t go over that. I do that by living an active lifestyle and eating right.
My fitness goals are to build more muscle and stay lean.
I wanted to be able to be active with my friends, like hiking or playing volleyball. I was not able to do that at all before. I would get extremely exhausted. It’s definitely become easier.
What advice would you give those who want to pursue weight loss surgery?
Take it day by day. If you feel like you failed one day, try to do better the next day. We start off the week saying, “On Monday, I’m going to start being healthy. On Tuesday, I didn’t do it so I’ve already failed.” Just forgive yourself and continue. Don’t give up.
Follow your team’s instructions. The surgeon told me, “We are literally trying to brainwash you to have healthy habits.” I took that to heart. My first year, I really did try my very best to follow the instructions. You literally do have to change your lifestyle. You have to make the effort to eat healthier, to pick your groceries more carefully.
It truly is a lifestyle adjustment and it’s all about having a balance. Since I have a desk job, I really do try to get my steps in. During my lunch, I walk one mile. When I get home, I go to the gym but I park my car a mile away so I walk three miles a day. Everyone needs to adjust to their own lifestyle.
When I first got surgery, I didn’t know anyone else who had surgery. I found an Instagram support community that has really helped me to be successful. Join a support group. Find one that works for you. Everyone is different with what works for them. I found people I could communicate with and we cheer each other on.
When we hear bariatric surgery, the first thing that comes to mind is weight loss. But surgery is about much more than just weight loss. There are many health benefits related to weight loss that are even more important than achieving a certain number on the scale. Let’s have a look at those:
Improvement of Type 2 Diabetes: After bariatric surgery, your stomach is much smaller so you will be consuming fewer calories. The surgery also affects your “gut hormones”, such as ghrelin. These changes to your eating habits and gastrointestinal tract can make your body more sensitive to insulin, improve your glucose tolerance, and help your pancreas produce its own insulin. Many people with type 2 diabetes notice lower blood sugars within days of surgery, even before they have started losing much weight.
Healthier Heart: Research shows that weight loss of 17 pounds can reduce blood pressure by about 8.5mm Hg systolic and 6.5mm Hg diastolic. This lightens the load on your heart. When you add in the healthy eating changes you’ll make, you will also likely improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Sounds like a win-win for the heart!
Less Joint Pain: Studies estimate that each pound of weight loss reduces the load on your knee joints by 4 to 5 pounds. This means a 10-pound weight loss feels like 40-50 fewer pounds with every step you take! Weight loss also reduces strain on the lower spine and reduces inflammation which makes physical activity less painful and more enjoyable.
Better Sexual Function: Many people experience improvements in their sexual life satisfaction after surgery, including in desire, activity, and physical health limitations. Surgery also improves fertility among women. We’ve had dozens of healthy “bariatric babies” born into the NWWC family!
Enhanced Quality of Life: Beyond the number on the scale, you are able to enjoy a new life as a healthier you after surgery. You’ll feel more confident when you are successfully achieving your health goals. You might be wearing clothes that you haven’t worn in years, able to exercise without pain, traveling more comfortably, and having fun keeping up with your kids and grandkids. There are unlimited possibilities that come with an improved quality of life.
Whether you’ve already had surgery or are thinking about it, remember to consider all of the health benefits that come with weight loss. It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about gaining quality of life!