Achieve Your Goals
The path to achieving and maintaining healthy weight loss is littered with challenges that can make it difficult for just about anybody. Most people have the willpower to lose weight temporarily, but the truth is that we don’t always have complete control over this in the long run. The physical makeup of each of us different, and our bodies have incredibly powerful mechanisms that might limit weight loss or even cause us to gain weight despite our very best efforts.
Read the real life stories of patients that have tackled these hurdles to achieve their goals.
Judy - Baker, MT
If you’re considering surgery or a weight management program, do it, don’t wait. Use every resource you have available. Do it for you and the ones you love.”
Judy is a quilter, a baker, a lover of fashion, a dedicated wife, and a proud mother of her 37-year-old son, Joe. Judy has also gone through the weight-loss journey of a lifetime thanks to the love and support of her family and the Billings Clinic Metabolic Surgery team.
“I had gastric bypass surgery in December of 2018,” said Judy. “I knew I needed to lose weight but I was so embarrassed about where I was starting and my age. It was my son, Joe, who finally gave me the courage and motivation to start. He said, “Mom you have some serious health problems and at the weight you are and the way you keep going, I’m worried you won’t be here much longer.” Joe was my constant champion; he was by my side through the whole process. He even took time off work to take me to surgery, appointments and meetings.”
Reflecting back on her journey, Judy recognized there were multiple parts of the program that opened her eyes and have continued to stay with her years later, like learning about nutrition, before and after surgery, from Lindsey, a registered dietitian on her comprehensive care team.
“Lindsey was amazing, she took the time to teach me about the food I was eating, and how I could make more conscious decisions and stick to them. There are simple swaps you can make that are even more delicious than the snack foods you find at the store. I’m making these dehydrated tomato chips, that are so delicious.”
There’s a remarkable difference looking at before and after photos, but Judy said the most important thing is she truly feels like she enjoys life again.
“Before surgery I was hiding inside myself. I didn’t like to go places because I felt too big and too fat. Now, I feel like my true self has finally come out. I love clothes shopping; I have a shoe addiction and I actually enjoy going out and doing things with my family. I can walk without pain again!”
Judy says her only regret is she didn’t do it sooner.
Kristen - Clark, WY
I hope in sharing my story, both the hiccups and joys, others can find the courage to take the next step in their healthy lifestyle journey, whatever form that may be.”
Kristen is a business owner, fitness enthusiast, loving wife and caring mother to two sweet daughters under five. Kristen is also a person who tackles challenges head-on and embraces new opportunities, which is exemplified through her weight-loss journey with the Billings Clinic Metabolic Surgery team.
“I had gastric bypass surgery in January of 2019,” said Kristen. “It’s been an incredibly eye-opening journey. There have been plenty of speed bumps along the way, but I hope in sharing my story, both the hiccups and joys, others can find the courage to take the next step in their healthy lifestyle journey, whatever form that may be.”
“When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I started experiencing high blood pressure and had to go on medication. Following pregnancy, I had to stay on medication. At that point in life, I was 365 pounds. I was having health problems, but I was also avoiding doctors because I was too scared to face what could be wrong. I wasn’t living life anymore because I didn’t want to be seen in public. As my daughters grew, I realized I didn’t want to be a mom on the sidelines anymore and reached out to the Billings Clinic Metabolism Center team.”
“I only told four people that I was moving forward with weight-loss surgery. I was scared about not knowing how it would turn out for me. I also think it’s because I fell into the stigma of thinking that I was taking the easy way out. Let me say, it was not easy. My recovery took four weeks, and I had to really work at it, and I continue to work at it today.”
“Looking back, I’m thankful for Dr. Pender. At my first appointment, he gave me some tough love. I remember him asking what I did for exercise. I said, well, I do laundry and chase my kids around and do house chores. My feet hurt, and I’m tired after, so that has to count. He looked at me and said, ‘Kristen, that’s not exercising. It needs to be an intentional 30 minutes of movement. Be consistent and stick with it.’ At that moment he truly prescribed me exercise, and it helped me harness my own strength.”
“I think that’s one of the most impactful parts of this program; it helped me find my strength. I realized that I didn’t need to rely on other people for motivation to do this. I needed to do it myself. The mental strength I’ve gained is incredible and it’s helped in other aspects of my life, like my relationships with family friends and my business. I’ve learned to prioritize what’s important and push through to achieve those goals. I've also found my love for running. I've completed several races; I'm currently training for a half marathon and my husband and I are doing a trail race together soon.”
“My advice for others considering surgery or a weight management program at Billings Clinic would be to take it seriously from the beginning and plan ahead. The pre-op program is no joke. You learn a lot about yourself and how to prepare. You can feel overwhelmed after surgery and at points throughout your journey, but if you make a plan, you can accomplish anything.”