“I was really looking forward to living life again. To be able to do activities with my kids and not worry about if I would be able to do something like ride a rollercoaster or going to the skating rink.”
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Wanting to Fully Enjoy Life
Amanda M., 37, of Elyria, is a licensed practical nurse who works nights, which can make maintaining a healthy diet extremely challenging because food options are limited during off hours. She is also raising three children, leaving her even less time to focus on healthy eating habits and exercise. In 2017, she reached her highest weight, more than 300 pounds.
She had tried many different diets over the years and would always lose weight, but then put it right back on. “It made it very discouraging and I would just give up,” said Amanda.
She had looked into weight loss surgery in the past, but said it wasn’t until she hit her highest weight that she really started to consider it as a realistic option. Previously, she hesitated to move forward because weight loss surgery was not covered by her insurance at the time. Taking time off of work and being able to care for her children also presented obstacles.
Having exhausted non-surgical options and with her health insurance now covering the operation, as well as having the backing of her family, friends and employer, Amanda decided to move forward. An inability to enjoy life fully also gave her the motivation she needed.
“I was depressed and angry at myself for letting myself get to the weight I was,” she said. “I was really looking forward to living life again. To be able to do activities with my kids and not worry about if I would be able to do something like ride a rollercoaster or going to the skating rink.”
Working in the health care field, she had heard great things about the Center for Bariatric Surgery at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. After a consultation with Leslie L. Pristas D.O., medical director and lead surgeon of the Center for Bariatric Surgery, they decided the gastric sleeve was the best option.
“I hated the thought that I would go through all of this and it wouldn’t work. Everyone was very friendly and took the time to listen to all of my concerns.”
— Amanda Martin
Backed by an Entire Team
A few months prior to surgery, Amanda began preparing by working with a team of doctors and specialists at St. Vincent Charity to know what to expect, work on losing weight before surgery and lay a foundation for long-term success by practicing healthy habits. They also helped ease her concerns about the process.
“I hated the thought that I would go through all of this and it wouldn’t work. Everyone was very friendly and took the time to listen to all of my concerns,” she said.
Surgery was a success and only two months post-op she had lost more than 50 pounds, reaching her pre-child weight, which was the smallest she had been in nearly 15 years.
“If I feel like I’m stalling, I know tomorrow is a new day and I’ll get back on track. I’ve also learned to not watch the scale because it will drive me crazy.”
— Amanda Martin
Non-Scale Victories are Just as Important
A little more than a month after surgery she was able to celebrate an important “non-scale victory” (NSV) on the Center for Bariatric Surgery’s support group Facebook page—being able to go on all the rides at Cedar Point.
“NSV!!! Was able to ride all the rides in Cedar Point. We are platinum pass holders and go very often and I was the official bag holder. Not today. Rode everything with my kids,” she posted on Facebook.
While Amanda continues to lose weight, she gets just as excited about the non-scale victories as the measurable digits she can see on the scale. That’s evident on the St. Vincent Bariatric Community Group Facebook page, where she regularly posts about her weight loss accomplishments.
“Was able to take my blood pressure with a regular cuff. Sometimes when the scale doesn’t move, I need that reminder that progress is still being made,” she recently posted. Her left bicep was 16.33 inches. It’s now 12.5 inches.
Looking for those little victories keeps her motivated to stick with the program and not fall back into bad habits. “If I feel like I’m stalling, I know tomorrow is a new day and I’ll get back on track. I’ve also learned to not watch the scale because it will drive me crazy,” she explained.
Amanda knows the process is more than just a surgical procedure. She has changed her daily habits by cutting out pop, white bread, sweets and more. She also said she has become more aware of what she eats and drinks. She reads the labels for everything and also measures and logs all of her food, as well as working out three or four days a week. That doesn’t mean she’s completely eliminated foods she used to love.
“I have learned to do things in moderation,” she said. “I have a bite or two of cake for a special occasion, and doing that I find that I don’t crave things like I used to.”
Amanda has taken up jogging, which she said is very relaxing. On her bucket list once she reaches her goal weight: going skydiving and running a marathon.
Today, she said she is most proud of her kids seeing her progress and “telling me that they are proud of me.” She added, “No longer hearing them say ‘mom can’t’ is my biggest accomplishment.”
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