Meet some of our patients and learn about their successes with the Missouri Bariatric Services program at University of Missouri Health Care.
Watch Jesse talk about his decision to have weight-loss surgery at Missouri Bariatric Services
Read Julie's Story
Restricted lifestyle I could no longer go to the movie theater because I couldn't fit in the seats. I couldn't go to any event for fear that I wouldn't fit in the seats. I love amusement park thrill rides and could no longer enjoy this activity due to the weight limitations of the rides. I couldn't find clothes, especially pants and skirts, in plus size retail shops that would fit me so I learned how to sew and sewed my own skirts. It's a horrible humiliation to be invited on a trip whether by car or by plane and realize that the seat belt won't fit you. Finally, what really convinced me that food was not my best friend but instead the one thing that was killing me was when I started experiencing health issues that people thirty plus years older than me were typically faced with. I knew that if I didn't lose the weight that I would die a lot sooner than what I was wanting and the life I was leading was miserable and very limited. I have a five- year-old daughter who I wanted to be able to play with, go bike riding with, take her to the movies, sporting events, etc. I desperately wanted to have the energy to do those things but bearing the weight as I was exhausted all the energy I had just to walk and move around. I was sick and tired of being held back from enjoying all aspects of life by my weight. I wanted FREEDOM.
Freedom Freedom to go wherever I wanted with no fears of not being able to participate in an activity or being able to fit in a seat. Freedom to enjoy a bike ride or a walk without feeling like I was going to pass out after just five minutes. Freedom to crawl on the floor, romp and play with my daughter. Freedom to shop at any store and find clothes that fit me. Freedom to enjoy life again. Freedom from my health issues that would have cut my life short if I didn't change my lifestyle, my eating habits, etc. I chose gastric bypass surgery to give me the necessary tool to help me break the vicious food cycle. I had my surgery in June of 2008. By surgically making my stomach smaller and "rewiring" my small intestines to reconnect to my smaller stomach, it made it so easy to feel "full" after just a few bites of something. The "rewiring" was also an aversion tool that helped me avoid sugars otherwise I would get nauseated. My new food regime a few months after surgery mainly consisted of high protein foods - chicken, tuna, turkey, beef, eggs - and drinking lots of Splenda sweetened tea and protein drinks.
The challenge I often get asked was it hard giving up junk food or even normal foods right after surgery and my reply is "no, it wasn't hard" because after surgery I wasn't hungry, I no longer had the wild cravings for food. It was like my "food" switch had been turned off. Then I started to lose weight. The previous overwhelming task of losing weight no longer seemed impossible. I finally had what I needed to help me lose the weight and each week as I saw more and more weight loss the more I got excited and motivated to continue. After a short while, I was able to climb up a steep hill without stopping to catch my breath. The first time going to the movie theater and being able to comfortably sit in the seat was a thrill. The first time I tried on a blouse that wasn't from the plus size section and needed a smaller size than what I tried on was such a fantastic feeling. Being able to take my daughter to the zoo and not feeling exhausted after just a few minutes was so joyful. This past summer I bought a season pass to Six Flags and had a blast going there several times throughout the summer. I remember at a bariatric support group meeting someone saying "Nothing tastes as good as what it feels like to be healthy!" I absolutely agree with this statement and repeat it to myself often. I'm no longer obsessed by food and view food no longer as a comfort or reward but can now treat it as just a means to refuel so I can have the energy and health needed to keep enjoying all the other more fun things in life. I finally have the freedom I always wanted.
All my life I have been overweight. Food was my comfort when I was depressed and my reward when I wanted to celebrate. My life was centered around what I would eat next. Normal dieting didn't work because I was depriving myself of my best friend - food. I would diet, get depressed, want to be comforted but couldn't find an alternative to food so I would end up failing at the diet. Not only failing but gaining all the weight I lost but also gaining additional weight. The more I dieted, the more obsessed I was with food and the stronger my cravings for it. It was a vicious cycle of feeling depressed, so I ate to make me feel better, which made me even more depressed because my self-esteem/self-image suffered by feeling fat and ugly, which would cause me to want to eat some more so I could get that temporary comforted feeling that food gave me. I could eat a whole large pizza and still not feel full or satisfied. I realize now that I was feeding my feelings more than actually satiating my hunger. Moreover, with all the overeating my stomach had been stretched out so it took more food to trigger that "full" feeling.