Patient Success: Tanya Dances to 123 Pound Weight Loss

PatientStory350x250By Linda Trainor, RN, BSN, Bariatric Nurse Coordinator

When Tanya turned 38, she made a conscious decision to change her life.

As a licensed practical nurse, Tanya knew that even though she had no critical health issues, she did have a BMI of 49.9 and was at high risk for serious problems such as hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Tanya also realized that she would be happier, physically and emotionally, by losing weight.

And now she is — just one year after undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy in the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Tanya has joyfully danced away 123 pounds.

Prior to her surgery, Tanya hardly exercised — she became easily short of breath and winded while walking or climbing stairs. Now, she revels in moving to the beat.

“I really have a lot of fun dancing now and dance as much as I can,” says Tanya. “Having weight loss surgery was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. I have been overweight since childhood and have had trouble losing and maintaining weight all my life.”

Tanya further acknowledges that being overweight greatly affected her self-esteem.

“I felt quite big, ugly and finding clothing that fit was very difficult,” she says.

Knowing that her weight was a tremendous physiological and psychological liability, Tanya wanted to learn more about bariatric surgery as a viable option for weight loss. She attended a Weight Loss Surgery Information Session at BIDMC with Dr. Daniel Jones, which proved to be enlightening.

“I learned a lot from the information session but I also realized that having surgery was a major decision, as well as a major commitment,” says Tanya. “I remember feeling a little overwhelmed, knowing I had to face my fears about the unknown and fears about successfully managing lifestyle changes.”

Tanya’s husband, Ed, and her 20-year-old daughter, Arianna, who is in her second year of nursing school, provided ample support in Tanya’s decision-making as well as before and after her surgery.

Tanya experienced a few challenges following surgery, as many patients do.

“I remember waking up in the recovery room feeling anxious and questioning if I made the right decision,” she shares. “The first couple of months were awkward, adjusting to my new stomach and new lifestyle. It took time to get acclimated and turn the corner. The weight loss surgery team was very supportive and positive and they all helped me through my recovery.”

Prior to weight loss surgery, Tanya’s diet consisted of large portions of foods high in fat, carbohydrates and sugar. After surgery, she began eating smaller portions of vegetables, fruits, and foods with high protein, low carbohydrates, and low sugar content.

Tanya clearly cherishes how considerably her life has transformed since weight loss surgery.

“My life is now filled with many positive changes,” says Tanya. “Enhanced self-confidence. Boosted energy levels. Increased mobility. And more!”

Once Tanya reached her goal weight, she went shopping and bought something she hadn’t bought in quite some time.

“I bought a bathing suit!” she says. “It was so amazing and I was so at ease with my new body that I bought two!’’

Tanya enjoys feeling healthy and fit, and is frequently amused when she is not recognized by folks who have not seen her in a while.

“My husband and I often dine at a restaurant in our neighborhood,” she explains. “We skipped a few months while I was recovering and adjusting to my new life. When we finally went back, friends thought my husband and I split up and that he was with another woman — but it was the new me!”

Tanya describes her family and friends as being very proud of her accomplishments. And, if someone asks her about weight loss surgery, she gives an honest answer.

“I am very fortunate to have a strong support system of family and friends who endorse my daily efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Tanya emphasizes. “I would recommend anyone suffering from obesity to have weight loss surgery if and ONLY if they are willing to accept a huge personal commitment to lifestyle changes.”

Now that Tanya has reached a healthy weight, her goal is to remain healthy and strong by focusing on her changed lifestyle. She is committed to taking her prescribed vitamins, keeping regular appointments with her surgeon and dietitians, following a healthy diet and having fun dancing for exercise.

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