By Kristi Delbene, Guest Blogger
On January 27, 2014, I lost my mother unexpectedly. It was one day before my 37th birthday.
The loss of my mother propelled me into a tailspin of emotions and feelings. It was then that I decided I was going to make a lifestyle change for the better. I couldn’t bear the thought of my three young children losing their mother due to an unhealthy lifestyle. At the time, I was at my heaviest weight. I was at my deepest low. It was time for me to gain control of my life and my future.
I had been heavy my whole life, yo-yo dieting since I was 11 years old. I needed a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet.
I had researched weight loss surgery previously, but it was never the right time or the right doctor. In March 2014, I made an appointment for a consultation. I met with the surgeon and he gave me the goal to lose 20 pounds prior to surgery.
I signed up for a weight loss program the very next day. After about a month, I had lost 10 pounds. I then decided to change gears and joined a program that really taught me what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat. By my surgery date, I had lost 50 pounds.
On January 27, 2015, exactly one year from my mother’s passing, I received a call stating that I was approved for my sleeve gastrectomy surgery. I was to begin a two week liquid diet within two days.
I checked into the hospital in February to have 80% of my stomach removed and embarked upon the biggest journey of my life. I went into the operating room that afternoon with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, the beginning stages of fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, depression, and anxiety. I woke up feeling like I could accomplish anything.
Over the course of the last year, I have used my surgery as a tool for weight loss. I have changed my life by making healthy food choices and limiting my portions. In addition, I hired a personal trainer and train three days a week. My trainer has shown me that taking care of my body will also aid in taking care of my mind and spirit.
My cholesterol is now within normal limits and my diabetes is now in control without medication. I no longer take any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications. My liver is returning to normal and my blood pressure is at an all-time low.
I work hard every single day to lose my excess weight and to be the best possible version of myself. I do this for me and I do this for my family. I need to be my best in order to be the best for them. Although this journey isn’t easy, it is worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears that I have endured throughout the last two years of this lifestyle change. Although I am not at my personal goal, I am making strides every day to achieve it. To date, I’ve lost 146 pounds. With healthy eating and exercise, there is no limit to my lifestyle change goals.
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.