“Be consistent, be faithful.”
Renée tried just about everything to lose weight— from meetings and tracking food with a points system, to significant calorie restriction, intense exercise, even prescription diet pills—and nothing seemed to work. But it was her consistency and faithfulness that also inspired her to make a decision that would change her life forever.
The Life-Changing Decision
After meeting with a weight-loss physician at Augusta University Digestive Health Center who determined that she’d be a good candidate for weight-loss surgery, Renée opted for gastric sleeve surgery. This procedure is named for the shape of the stomach after a portion is removed.
“I made up my mind,” she said. “I like this about my personality. I’m very stubborn and resolute.” Despite her confidence and determination, Renée admits that she was worried about what people would think about her decision: “A lot of people don’t understand that certain factors can make weight loss hard or impossible, like insulin resistance from a hormone disorder like PCOS,” she pointed out. ” Nor do they understand what goes into the process,” noting that there is a six-month preparation period.
The process begins with seeing a weight-loss physician to determine whether or not weight-loss surgery is a viable option. Participants then attend an online seminar, followed by six months of monthly appointments with the weight-loss physician, dietitian and psychologist—and this is all before surgery even takes place.
Unlike her critics, Renée went into the process very informed.
“It’s not a magic pill,” she emphasized. “It’s a tool that when used properly can cure your obesity problem. If it were cancer, I’d have it cut out of me. My weight was threatening me just like a malignancy would threaten me and my ability to continue to be a mom to my kids.”
‘This surgery resurrected my life’
“I was on the brink of death,” said Renée, whose diabetes and high blood pressure immediately resolved to the point that she stopped taking medication immediately after surgery.
Renée’ key to achieving long-term success? “I had to change everything,” she said, which included using tools like food journals and smartphone apps that helped her be accountable. “I had to make my health my highest priority. I had too much in my life vying for my time, and I couldn’t keep up.”
Making her own health the highest priority was a tall order for someone who has always prioritized others’ needs above her own—both inside the home as a mother and wife and outside the home as a teacher and missionary to the homeless.
Renée also found some tactics that were unrelated to food, such as making her bed daily, that contributed to her success: “If I make my bed, then I’m more successful, because it’s reinforcing the consistency that I needed to establish in all areas of my life,” she explained.
But it’s not about being perfect, said Renée, who found that this process has also allowed her to let go of perfectionism. “Again, it’s about being consistent.”
The Little Things
For Renée, her weight loss is more than skin-deep. “I appreciate the way I look, but it’s more about how I feel,” she said. “My house is very clean, because I have the stamina to stay consistent and do what I have to do. That’s the biggest reward. It’s also the little things like being able to cross your legs under a table. I don’t ever want to give that up.”
Weight-loss surgery also challenged Renée to think about what’s truly important to her: being a good wife and a good mom and what’s needed to do both of those things effectively: being healthy.
For those who are struggling with maintaining a healthy weight, Renée has some advice to share: “Get educated on your weight-loss options,” she said. “Figure out what you need to consistently work toward your goals, and be faithful to that every day.”