Transformation of the Day: Gata lost 67 pounds. When she realized that her mobility was being impacted and routine daily tasks left her in pain, she knew something had to change. She had VSG surgery, changed her habits, and now she’s living a more pain-free life.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
My motivation was the fact that I was miserable. I felt my movement was restricted – which is not good when you are a stage performer. I think the last straw was when…
a) I looked at a picture of myself that was taken at a pop culture convention.
b) I couldn’t make it even the equivalent of three or four blocks from my house without my back seizing up and needing to sit down and rest before continuing.
Seriously—I couldn’t even pick up my daughter from her afterschool program without pain. Something had to be done.
My motivation was literally seeing the numbers on the scale and tape measure dropping every week. It was being able to walk longer distances and go shopping without pain or having to sit down. It was the freedom of a pain-free back. And it was the fact that I was fitting into clothes I hadn’t worn in over ten years.
I had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (bariatric sleeve) and joined The Order Of The Sleeve in August 2020. I have no regrets.
How did you change your eating habits?
I had the gastric sleeve procedure, so my eating habits radically changed. At first, it was nothing but protein shakes and water, then pureed foods. I chose the cleanest foods possible, even with protein shakes. I didn’t want anything with artificial sweetener or too many ingredients I couldn’t pronounce.
Also, when I began eating solid food again, I tried to ensure my meals were protein first, as is the mantra for anyone who has had this surgery. I avoided bread and pasta. If I did indulge, it was in very small portions. I bought toddler plates and forks and used them to help me eat slower and be mindful about enjoying what I eat. I also used chopsticks to help me with this as those literally force you to eat less and slower than usual–and I used them already, anyway. Chopsticks give you time to realize that you’re full and satiated, and you can leave what you didn’t finish.
In addition, I used Baritastic’s neat little timer, but in reverse: I used it to count the space between each bite instead of how long I needed to chew. It also had a timer for waiting in between drinking and eating.
It was important to me that I get over the leaving-food-on-the-plate thing. That habit is ingrained in our culture and tied in with so much guilt from our caretakers. I had to change my thinking around that.
What is your workout routine? (Cardio, weight training, Zumba, etc.)
I am currently easing back into using the recumbent bicycle and a Scoop lateral trainer because I have osteoarthritis in one knee. I am also hoping to weight train again soon. I have fallen off, even though I still try to walk as much as I can. I’m revisiting dancing—hip-hop, belly dance, things like that.
How often did you work out?
At first, it was five days a week on the recumbent bike. Now it’s way less, but I’m changing that now. I hate that I’ve slacked off, but every time I do something ungodly to my osteoarthritic knee, I freak out and do less than I want to.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 252 pounds. My current weight fluctuates between 185-193 pounds. For some reason, I look a lot smaller than I actually am.
What is your height?
I am 5’4″.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started my journey, really, in October 2019. We had to take six months of nutrition classes and counseling on what kind of life we’d have after the procedure. When the six months were up, we were full into Corona Year, and elective surgeries had been discontinued. I didn’t have the surgery until August 26, 2020, two days after my birthday. I lost nearly 70 lbs (66) in just under a year.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
The biggest takeaway was that I needed to be gentler with myself. I struggled for a long time with the fact that other women who had done the procedure at the same time or after me were dropping like 80 lbs in six months. I called them “Bariatric Rockstars”, LOL. Not everyone can be a rockstar. So I learned to accept that my journey is MY journey for a reason. I’m still glad I lost what I did. I feel better. And I’m not done.
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
I’ll say the same thing for any woman on her weight loss journey: BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. You are not always going to have good days. Your journey is just that—YOUR JOURNEY. Focus on your NSV—Non=Scale Victories—when the scale isn’t doing what you want. You’re still losing. You are not your scale.