When doctors diagnosed Nancy R. with type 2 diabetes early last year, she decided to take drastic measures. She weighed 304 lbs., had high cholesterol and had high blood pressure. Her husband had many of the same issues, including chest pains.
Nancy admitted that she had been hefty her whole life, but the threat of type 2 diabetes, on top of the other issues, made her step back and look at how it was affecting her loved ones.
“We needed to make a change in order to watch our kids grow older,” she said.
Nancy and her husband decided to have Roux-en-Y anastomosis, also known as gastric bypass surgery. The procedure reduces the size of the stomach and makes food bypass part of the small intestine, limiting the amount of food recipients can consume. It’s been one year since the surgery and Nancy now weighs 160 lbs., went down 20 pants sizes and has made her diabetes a non-issue.
“It’s a complete lifestyle change,” Nancy said. “It’s mental, physical and emotional.”
You’d think that after the surgery, everything else would automatically work itself out. Physically and emotionally, that has been the case. Nancy’s self-esteem is through the roof because she looks great and she’s exercising, so there’s no more panting while going up a flight of stairs. But there is one part of her new lifestyle that she has yet to master.
“It’s the mental aspect that is still lagging behind,” Nancy said. “Now that our stomachs are literally the size of an egg, it can only hold about four ounces of food. Your eyes are still bigger than your stomach a year later.”
She and her husband have to be very mindful of what they eat. They used to go to restaurants and would eat appetizers, salad, entre and a dessert. Now she is eating more protein-packed food such as quinoa instead of carbs and starches such as potatoes. If she has a craving for crunchy foods, she’ll grab a few almonds and cashews.
There’s an alternative to everything, but they also have to test their tolerance to certain foods. It has been a constant learning curve, but they have had each other’s support every step of the way.
But anybody can improve their well-being even without surgery, Nancy said. She encourages others to make better choices in their diets and to do a few simple exercises throughout the day. Just the smallest changes to your daily routine can go a long way in helping you stay healthy.
If you need help on getting into the right mindset, Nancy welcomes anyone to contact her for support. Contrary to what others might think, you can’t change your entire life overnight.
“A lot of people say that we took the easy way out getting the surgery,” Nancy said. “If I’m being honest, the surgery was the easiest part of the whole process.”