At a recent introductory weight loss workshop hosted by Dr. Keith McEwen, Community bariatric surgeon, Mimi proudly displayed her 100 pound pin. Gold and shiny, it recognizes her hard work to meet that goal – 100 pounds lost after 13 months. Everything is easier says Mimi. She works for an Indianapolis realtor and showing model homes, walking flights of stairs, was just too difficult.
Now Mimi has a new found energy. “I’m so thrilled, I feel like anew person.” There was a time when she was a competitive race walker. “I enjoyed exercise, but food seems to take over.” Then there were years when she was a self-described competitive dieter. She would lose the pounds but gain them all back plus more. “I remember when the builder I was working for hosted a weight loss team event. Our team won – they called it the “Thinspiration” award."
Left: Mimi in July 2012. Right: Mimi in March 2014
Mimi felt successful for a time, but it didn’t last. She is also a Weight Watcher Gold Member twice over. That weight loss didn’t last either. It all came to a head nearly two years ago. “I couldn’t walk the steps to show a model home. I couldn’t walk from my car to the grocery. I felt miserable and tired. I was wearing Arizona boots on my feet to brace my ankles. Standing was a chore. I just couldn’t support my weight on my own.” “My overall health was not good. I took blood pressure medicine, I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and my cholesterol was high.”
Today, Mimi is on minimal medication and credits the lap band as a tool to discovering a healthier lifestyle. “The instruction and support I continue to receive from the office really help me prioritize what I need to do to reach my goals.” Mimi recalls, "I’m so glad I came to one of Dr. McEwen’s workshops 15 months ago and listened to Lynn (a former patient) talk about her 5-year experience with lap band. She was my inspiration.” Now Mimi pays it forward by speaking to others to offer a glimmer of hope:
- Even if I am having a bad day with the band, that day is good compared to how I felt before I had the band.
- Food is fuel, so now I look for protein first but balance all the food groups.
- If I am out, I can eat the meat, but avoid the bread - usually a meaty soup like chili.
- One joy realized: I can play with my grandchildren instead of watching them play. (Mimi recently made a trip to Walt Disney World in the spring with her daughter and grandchildren and could walk throughout the parks.)
- Today I’m not as self-conscious of my weight because I feel good about my journey and what I have accomplished.
- Before lap band, I would always plan what my next meal would be. My life was focused around food. Now food is not the center of my attention.
- People say, you lost the weight so are you going to get the band taken off? No, I’m comfortable with the band. It’s the tool that seems to shut down those feelings that I am hungry and never satisfied. I do not want to slip back into old habits.
- I used to keep a food journal when I did those other diets and I journal now. The difference is I meet with Gina (Goodwin, the dietitian in Dr. McEwen’s office) and she points out progress beyond good food choices like, "See how your portion sizes are getting smaller?" Or reminders about balancing the nutrients and taking vitamins and supplements.
Mimi says she’s learned a lot about how she eats and what she eats. It really is a journey and she’s looking forward to all that life offers!