I want to offer Tammy
Richards a special thanks. She has contributed her story twice.
Here is her latest.
I wrote to you about a year or so after my weight loss surgery. I was
doing well and have continued my success.
I can eat anything I want
to, just in moderation. I had to learn my limits, set new limits, and
live by them. We have to remember that surgery is a tool not a cure. I
see so many people who have surgery go back to poor eating habits or not
follow the rules, and they wonder why they aren't losing or they are
even gaining. I admit, I have the occasional Nutty Bar or Reece Cup,
what girl doesn't want her chocolate fix? But I don't make a practice of
sitting down and eating an entire bag of chocolate. I use my tool.
For the first few months
I didn't do much exercising. I didn't feel well for awhile. I have
fibromyalgia and I heal very slowly. After the first three months, and
when I was totally healed, I started walking more. Then I got a
membership to an all-woman's gym. I felt a lot less self conscious there
than competing with some beautiful skinny girl for an adorable weight
trainer's attention at a gym. As if the skinny girl needs it!
I started working out
three times a week. I did this for about a year. This helped a ton with
the extra skin. I have had no additional surgeries or tucks. I haven't
had to. I'm not perfect, but I am happy with me.
I admit I have slacked
off to just normal living. I'm not as active as I should be, but I try
to boogie around the house when cooking or doing chores to get a little
extra in. I'm not a good example to follow with exercise.
I have stayed with my
plan, and keep a close watch on my weight. If I start gaining too much,
I panic and slow down on what I'm eating and start being careful again.
Like everyone, I gain in the winter and lose in the summer. I am five
foot five, weigh 135 lbs., and I'm holding strong.
I had my surgery February
11th, 2005. That was my new birthday, or the day I was reborn into
control as I see it. With the tool of not feeling obsessively hungry and
empty, I have kept to eating in moderation. I avoid eating at buffets
that won't let me take a to-go bag. In my experience, Chinese
restaurants are good about letting you take a to-go bag, fill it one
time, then sit and eat with your family so that you can take what you
don't eat with you as long as you don't take advantage and refill it.
Other places that don't let you do that, I avoid because I always try
to eat my money's worth, and end up going home sick or in serious pain.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to stretch this pouch that I
paid $20,000 to get control over!
I lost ten years of my
life hiding away from people. I was 287 lbs, I was unhealthy, and I
hated myself. I hid from the world. I think back to living like I did;
high cholesterol, high blood pressure, winded just going up a few steps,
having to use the bathroom 15 minutes after I ate because food went
right through me, and God help me if I sneezed.
I have seen people I knew
pretend they didn't know me. I have seen strangers look away or down
like I might do something to rub off on them. I have heard people make
comments like they needed to tell me I was fat. As if I didn't know
already. As if I didn't see it every time I looked in the mirror.
Gastric bypass surgery
gave me my life back. I have two boys who are 21 and 19, and I run at
their pace now. I'm healthy except for the fibromyalgia. I have normal,
even low blood pressure and cholesterol, and my levels in everything
else are good.
But what is most
important is that I am happy. I like me. I like taking pictures, and I
like having my picture taken now. I enjoy life to the fullest. If we
remember always that our surgery has provided us with a tool, not a cure
and treat it as such, then success is in our pocket.
Weight loss surgery was
the best thing I ever did. After six years, I would have to say it's
been successful for me, and the best money I ever spent. Good luck
everyone, and God bless!
To read Tammy's story two
years after her surgery, go to
love good news. If you have good news, a success story to share, or
inspiration, please send it to me at
Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can include it in future issues.