It’s a Brand New Day… Arla’s Story

My journey began on Dec. 24. 2012. I was getting ready for work (I am a nurse working nightshift). While I was getting ready I saw my “TRUE” reflection in the mirror for the first time in a long time. This was something I had not paid any attention to for years, but something was different this night. I saw the truth staring back at me and it was a jolt to reality. I was going to turn 50 next June and I knew my metabolism was going to take another hit.

I was extremely overweight and very unhealthy as well. I had been diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic in 2010 and was on medication to control it. Instead of seeing improvement in my HgbA1C numbers they kept creeping up. I was the reason for this. I started off taking my medication as prescribed and following the diet recommendations set forth by the nutritionist at my Primary doctor’s office, but then I found myself slipping back into my old ways of eating and “thinking.” I would be the one that would stop and get 4 cupcakes on my way home, all the while rationalizing that I can eat this and just take my medication to cover it. My mind controlled what my body did. I started eating the wrong foods again, using food as a means of comfort. I turned to food for everything. Whether I was stressed, sad, happy or just plain bored, food was there as my constant companion. I was in a constant state of what I now know is called “mindless eating.”

I slowly gained up to 285 lbs and continued to buy clothing one size larger without batting an eye. It was the norm for me. My highest clothing size was a tight 24. No one around me ever said anything about my weight gain as it was gradual, but once I made my decision to do something about it for good, I started hearing the support for the journey I was about to embark on. My family always supported me no matter what, but they were quietly concerned as they watched me gain over 100 lbs and saw my unhappiness rise. When I discussed with them that I had decided to seek out information on Weight loss surgery through Rex Surgical Specialists, they were so excited for me.

I signed up for the first information seminar I could get into on Jan 8, 2013 and I was on my way. As I listened to Dr Sharp and Dr Ng discussed the different options, I knew, based on the amount of weight I needed to lose that Gastric Bypass was the route for me. I also knew I that I was going to be their “Poster Child” for compliance and told them so at my first Doctor visit. I was so motivated for the first time in my life. It’s hard to explain, but I was finally doing this for ME. Not some “event” I was planning on attending for someone else, but for ME! I also knew that the surgery was not the Be All to End All. It was only a tool to help me in my weight loss journey. I still had to put in the time and effort and all the hard work to make it successful. I knew this was a lifetime change decision, and for the first time in my life…I was READY!

I attended all the nutrition classes, preoperative support groups, counseling sessions and required procedures needed for my upcoming surgery. I was prepared both mentally and physically. This is what impressed me the most about Rex Surgical Specialists. Even though they have a very busy practice, they make you feel as if you are the only patient they have. The time and attention they give to ensure you have a successful outcome is beyond amazing. They are gifted individuals whom I consider my extended family. I took every piece of advice and ran with it…literally. I decided that while I was preparing for my surgery I needed to get my exercise level up to speed so that I could carry on into the post-operative phase. I started walking (hard as it was in the beginning) a little at a time. I would advance my sessions each time. Do a little more. I would pick something to focus on in my route and say to myself, I can make it to that fence post, or next big rock. And each time I would progress a little further.

I started to read Jeff Galloway’s book on introduction to running. I followed his advice and training and still do. It made the transition from walking to running easy for me. I love to run and found this was the best form of exercise for me. On my day of surgery I had already lost 32 lbs and was so motivated to keep it going. Through the nutritional classes, my eating habits had changed for the better. I felt completely different on the inside, both mentally and physically. I was ready to see what was in store on the other side for me. My recovery time from surgery was a breeze. They instilled that the healthier you are going into surgery, the easier the recovery. I was all about getting up and moving on. It started in the hospital soon after the surgery, as I was walking the halls as often as they would let me. I had no issues with my fluid/food intake in the days and months that followed because I followed their instructions to a “T”. I did not want to rush the eating part because food was not the important factor here. I was!

I was in control for the first time in my life and it is paying off each and every day. My Type 2 Diabetes disappeared and medication was a thing of the past. All my lab levels were headed in the right direction and for the first time in my life I literally FELT healthy! I ran my first race in October 2013, the Color Me Rad 5K. It was awesome! The best experience of my life to date. The sense of accomplishment that I had compared to no other! I knew from there it was on to more adventures. I am signed up to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon and I cannot wait for that! This life changing experience has made me the person I am today. The person with a future full of wonder and excitement. I strive to help anyone I come in contact with who is looking for encouragement and motivation in their weight loss struggles. I can literally say “I have been there and done that” and so can you!