Don’t Tell Neva No! 100 pound Success Story
Don’t Tell Neva No! 100 pound Success Story
Age : 40
Highest weight: 342 lbs. – size: 28
Sleeve, surgery date: 2/22/18
Current weight: 241 lbs. – size: 16
Goal weight: 210 lbs.
When being heavy is a lifelong struggle, it does more than affect one’s self-esteem. Over time, it is likely that health related diseases and complications will develop for an obese individual. This was the case for Neva, a forty year old mom of two.
Neva’s struggle with her weight began when she was young. Being a long time emotional eater and over-eater was the major contributor to Neva’s weight. Always on the heavy side, Neva never knew what life was at a healthy weight. What sticks out in her mind is not being able to go on rides at amusement parks because she was too large.
Eventually, Neva became pre-diabetic, and had to be medicated for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. As a result from carrying so much excess weight, Neva needed a hip replacement. Two and a half years ago, Neva saw an orthopedic surgeon who told her that he would not perform the surgery until she lost substantial weight. His reasoning made sense. People who have hip placement surgery that carry significant excess weight have lower success rates, experience a longer recovery period (over three years), and are at risk for a big one: infections.
“You should look into weight loss surgery,” the orthopedic surgeon told her. That was the aha moment. Between being pre-diabetic and being denied a surgical procedure to alleviate joint pain, Neva knew it was time to be serious about weight loss. She discussed options with her primary care physician, who referred her to Dr. Nguyen.
When she met Dr. Nguyen, Neva’s first impression was that he was young, cute, and energetic (not bad for the person who would be saving her life). Together, they decided the gastric sleeve procedure was the best option for her. Because Dr. Nguyen only performs minimally invasive procedures with laparoscopic techniques, Neva felt minimal pain after the surgery.
Months after the surgery, doctors discovered a lesion in her spinal cord when Neva saw a neurologist due to numbness in her back and check. The only way it was detectable was due to her weight loss- Neva would have ignored the symptoms when she was heavy. Left untreated, lesions can cause blindness or paralysis. By being more in tune with her body because of having weight loss surgery, Neva essentially saved herself from developing devastating health issues.
Once Neva made the decision to undergo weight loss surgery, she had to commit to a new lifestyle. As a result of her commitment, not only has Neva lost 100 pounds, she is also no longer at risk for diabetes and is off medications for her high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
As a lifelong overeater and emotional eater, Neva learned the practice of mindful eating and portion control to help rewrite her negative behaviors and thought process into new healthy eating habits.
While many patients feel constrained to eating chicken and broccoli florets, Neva has embraced a keto-ish lifestyle. Below are examples of what she will eat for each meal:
Breakfast: string cheese, yogurt, or egg bites that were inspired from the ones served at Starbucks
Smoothie: protein powder, strawberry banana, spinach, almond milk
Lunch: chicken breast with brussel sprouts, hernandez guacamole salsa , topped with melted cheese (similar to an enchilada but no tortilla) spaghetti squash with tomato sauce / cheese
Dinner: pork fried rice with cauliflower
Snack: On occasion, Neva will share the small bag of potato chips with her son or sometimes have air-popped popcorn.
Since having weight loss surgery, Neva is very careful not to eat and drink liquid at the same time. Although she can not tolerate carbonated beverages, Neva does enjoy low-calorie beverages such as the Diet Ocean Spray flavors. She also recommends investing in the portion-control containers from the Dollar Store which come labeled with the measurements.
Neva works with children with autism at a school, which keeps her very active as she runs around with them all day. After work, her four year old son keeps Neva on her feet as well. She does have a plan to shed the last 30 pounds in addition to maintaining her healthy diet: investing in an elliptical.
Technology plays a role in Neva’s success as well. She is a fan of using MyFitnessPal, an app that has features such as being able to scan food barcodes to keep track of calories, and counting your steps (gotta hit that 10,000 a day!).
The amusement park story has a happy ending. Neva is able to go on all the rides with her four year old son. “Now I’m not worried that he’ll fall off the ride from me pushing into him!” Neva has embraced her femininity and now wears make-up. She is even looking to pursue plus-size modeling!
Words of wisdom for prospective patients?
Some of Neva’s Favorite Things: