Unlike most of my classmates, I was attending Weight Watcher meetings when I was 9 years old. I was picked on, called names and had to have clothes made for me by my grandmother because clothes off the rack would not fit. By 6th grade, I began to play sports and lost enough weight to be able to wear “husky” sizes. Even after earning a volleyball scholarship in college, I struggled to keep weight off and maintain a size 14. For these reasons, I HATE to go clothes shopping.
After college and graduate school, I was an Athletic Trainer which required a lot of traveling with the various sports teams. We would eat late at night after games and quite frankly, I was eating like I was still an athlete although I was not working out like I once did. Therefore, my clothing size increased to an 18. I tried every fade diet possible and would lose 20lbs and regain 30lbs.
Then along came my baby and so did more weight. I joined the 200lb club, yet I had a “good” excuse….”it was BABY weight”. It was at this time I did the Atkins Diet and lost 50lbs! Yep…you guessed it, I then put back on 70lbs.
I started having foot pain and low back pain. I was not sleeping well and snored badly. I was tired all the time and couldn’t keep up with my daughter. One of the parents with my daughters’ soccer team had gastric bypass a few years ago and had lost 120lb. She looked healthy and was very happy unlike me who was miserable.
I had no co-morbidities and was overall healthy except for my weight, yet I knew it was just a matter of time before I did develop a weight- related disease. I felt had to do something! By the grace of God, I took a new job and started working in Bariatrics. As I learned more about the surgical options and saw firsthand the patient’s journey from start to finish, I decided that surgery was the right choice for me.
I realize this decision is not for everyone and that I can regain the weight by making poor food choices. For the first time in my life, food does not control me. I am so blessed to be surrounded by the great surgeons and staff at Southern Surgical and believe that through their support, as well as the support of our patients, I will finally have success at weight loss.
Julie Johannes, PA-C, MSS