By the time I finished college and started my professional career I weighed about 220 pounds. I went on to have a successful career in banking with constant travel. I spent so much time in the car that fast food, frequent gas station stops and coffee stands became the normal for food and drink choices. I attempted to diet, none of which I fully committed to, led to years of constant yo-yo dieting and more weight gain. By the looks of my pictures, I am sure I weighed well over 300 pounds at one point….I just avoided the scale for a long time and lied about my weight.
The final straw where I realized…THIS IS IT! I was confronted on a business trip by the desk agent for Alaska Airlines. She accused me of not being able to fit in the airplane seat and said she was directed to tell me I would need to purchase another ticket. Now mind you I had flown Alaska dozens of times before and nothing was said to me. It was then I realized I needed to take control of my weight or face the fact I may not be able to do my job any longer. I had taken too many flights before where, I would place my sweater over my lap and hide the fact I could not buckle by belt and would pray the stewardess would turn her head and not offer me a seatbelt extender.
On September 26, 2013, at the age of 36, I decided to undergo bariatric surgery (VSG) in Tijuana, Mexico with Dr. Ortiz at the Obesity Control Center. Why did I ultimately decide to have bariatric surgery? I guess when you really think about it, I lacked the willpower to diet and exercise properly and remain consistent. I wanted instant gratification with some magical diet pill or the next popular fad diet. Let’s face it, I knew with bariatric surgery the weight would fall off by restricting how much I could eat! I never put much thought into the process of a
ctually maintaining the weight loss after I reached goal. I was too focused on just wanting to be a normal girl, fit in normal clothes, shop in the popular clothing stores, be able to travel in an airplane for my job my job and maybe even score a date.
How did I get started in the gym? Around 45-60 days days when I was released from the doctor to exercise, I joined the gym. I was embarrassed to be there, I could not even walk on a treadmill without being short of breath, red faced and drenched in sweat. I wanted to succumb to my excuses of why I could not make it to the gym…… but I kept going back day after day. Cardio was my choice of exercise for the first few months. I was still embarrassed, maybe even ashamed, to move to the weights floor as my biggest fear was being teased and humiliated. I had no idea where to begin, so I walked on the treadmill and observed people. Eventually, I waited until the gym was not busy and I went out onto the weight floor and played with the machines. I looked at the diagram on each machine, adjusted the weight and tried it a few times. I had no set routine and no clue what I was doing but I felt accomplished after. I kept going back , observing people, imitating people, and slowly started getting comfortable to ask people questions. I was busting my ass in the gym, the weight was falling off, my muscles were starting to reveal themselves and I felt so good in my skin. Compliments were coming in left and right, I was gaining confidence again, and even started to feel sexy in my own skin.
I can remember being so proud and posting on Facebook how I walked on the treadmill for 65 minutes and burned 1,016 calories!
Now being a bariatric health and fitness coach I realize how uneducated I was around nutrition and exercise. I was only consuming maybe 1,000 calories a day, lifting weights and doing cardio 5 days a week. This is how I became nutrient deficient and the reason I started Bari-Fit.
“I wanted a place people could trust to get quality information around nutrition and fitness after bariatric surgery. There were way to many Facebook groups out there freely giving bad information.” (Tosha Stafford ~ Founder)