Janika's Weight Loss Journey
Surgery: Vertical Weight Loss Gastrectomy
Date of Surgery: May 1, 2012
Weight Loss Since Surgery: 94 pounds
Janika's Personal Success Story
What was life like before your surgery?
My entire life I have always been the biggest one amongst all of my friends. I often felt out of place and didn’t want anybody to look at me so I would hide behind bigger clothes. If I tried to wear cute clothes or a dress, I always received more attention than I wanted as if I was too big to try and dress cute. I tried several weight loss programs but nothing seemed to work because portion control was still my biggest battle. If the food tasted good to me, I didn't have any problem with going back to get extra servings. The day that I was told that I was border line to becoming diabetic really scared me. But it was still too hard to go cold turkey on the foods I really loved. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at a very young age and my weight contributed to this. I was told that because of my weight and this syndrome, I wouldn't be able to get pregnant and have a child. I think every woman wants to have a child and knowing that my weight contributed to the possibility of being a mom, played on my emotions big time!
How did your obesity affect your daily life?
I would turn down invitations to go places with friends or family. I never purchased what I considered to be “cute” clothes because I felt uncomfortable in them so as a result I would stay home. I ran track in high school, but I lost interest in a lot of activities I used to enjoy simply because I couldn’t physically do them anymore.
What made you decide to have surgery?
The most important factor was that I wanted to someday be able to have a child and I just wanted to be healthier for myself. I wanted to be a better role model for my nieces and nephews and get to enjoy activities with them as they grow up.
What is life like after your surgery?
MUCH BETTER!!! I am able to comfortably run again and I much more active. I signed up for my first “Official” 5K Pajama run on September 22, 2012. I have been able to run up to two miles recently without stopping. I never thought I would be able to do that again. Everything is much better!
What have you liked about your results?
I like the fact that I am able to do things now that I couldn’t as a 238-pound woman. I am enjoying learning more about foods: proteins, carbs, fats and sugars and how they contribute to my diet and overall health. I am getting good at reading labels too!
How long did it take before you noticed progress?
I started to see results about 3-6 weeks after my procedure. My clothes were definitely baggier than before.
What have you enjoyed about your experience with the Georgia Regents Weight Loss Center team?
The overall experience has been wonderful. The stay in the hospital was BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS! The entire staff was very attentive and really took good care of me. I love the fact that I can call the Bariatric nurse coordinator at any time if I have questions. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
How has losing weight affected your life?
I get so many more compliments and I don't feel like they are just trying to make me feel good. The compliments are sincere. My husband has always been an affectionate person, but now he is even more personal and I really like what it has done for us and the way I feel about myself. I feel so much better and I have really noticed the impact that this has made on my sleeping. I try to make better food choices and more educated decisions on my meals. I still occasionally have bad days, but I don’t beat myself up because now I know what needs to be done to get back on track.
How has weight loss success improved the quality of your life?
I am more active! I began exercising a few months before surgery and was able to lose 30 pounds with the help of my mom! She is a huge supporter. She also lost weight while motivating me. I completed a 5-week bootcamp course at the gym that netted me a 10 pound weight loss result right before my surgery. I continue to exercise regularly. I workout 5-6 days a week with activities like walking around my neighborhood, step aerobics, circuit training classes, and even jogging! I recently completed my second round of 5-week bootcamp and it felt great. I was able to challenge myself even more since I have had the surgery. As far as my diet goes, I try to focus on meeting my protein goals first and then adding in my carbs. I am a carb junky but now since I log my food on a daily basis, I am able to see where my problem is and try to make better choices.
When you see other people struggling with weight issues, what do you want to tell them?
Prior to my weight loss surgery I received comments about my weight, but I convinced myself not to care what others thought. My weight became my security blanket and my barrier. It wasn’t until I really wanted to make a change that I got serious about my weight and health. So when I see others struggling with their weight loss, I want to share my story. It's not going to work to pressure someone into doing this because in the end, it's their decision to make and they have to have the commitment to make a change. I think if anyone struggling with their weight could experience what I have since my weight loss surgery, they would make the commitment to do it. It was my lifesaver and has given me the possibility to finally conceive one day. This was more than enough for me, no matter how much weight I end up losing. This surgery wasn't out of vanity for myself, but because I love my husband and my family unconditionally and I owed it to them to be a healthier person and take care of myself. I did this for a healthier me and I feel great!