Transformation of the Day: Latricia lost 95 pounds. In 2016, she realized that it was time to address the things that were negatively contributing to her mental and physical health, like depression and emotional eating. As a result, she had Gastric Sleeve surgery and embraced healthy habits that have allowed her to maintain her results long term.
My weight loss journey began almost five years ago. I went through a terrible breakup during the Winter months of 2016. I was depressed and heartbroken. Every day after work, I would feed my pain with bags of Wildberry Gummy Lifesavers and box after box of Cheez-Its.
I was unaware of the mental damage (much less the physical damage) I was doing to myself until I put on one of my favorite shirts. I could not button the bottom portion of my shirt. I was in utter shock and disbelief, and then the embarrassment hit me. After that, I could not look at myself in the mirror. I knew something had to change because I began to develop health issues that I’d never experienced before as the months went by.
I lost weight before, but it never stayed off. Honestly, I did not have the mindset to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I checked into weight loss surgery years prior, but I let people talk me out of it. They always would say, “You don’t need that.” or “You wear your weight so well.” Someone, please tell me how you wear an excess amount of weight well?! Just because I know what clothes fit my body type and what colors look best on me, does that make weighing 240 pounds at 4’10” acceptable?!?!
I decided to do something for myself as I would be turning 40 the following year. So, I secretly started the process of talking to the bariatric weight loss program at Ohio State University Medical Center in December 2016. I already knew my insurance covered the procedure as long as I had six visits with my PCP to discuss my weight every month. (I already had three visits completed).
Since December had two holidays, my additional three visits and other requirements began in January 2017. In April 2017, I had an appointment with the therapist to ensure I was mentally ready for the lifestyle change. I was so scared. Not only was this my final requirement, but if he felt I was not ready, I would be declined from the program. Well, I passed!! (I knew I would, lol) I met with my surgeon and was given a surgery date for two weeks later. Yikes!! It was really happening.
Next, I was placed on a two-week liquid diet starting that following Monday, and I was allowed one small meal a day. I always at a salad with 1 cup of spinach, lettuce, a hard-boiled egg, cheese, and no dressing for lunch.
My surgery date was May 16, 2017, and my weight that morning was 233 pounds. I lost 7 pounds on the liquid diet. I chose to have the Gastric Sleeve because it had fewer complications, and I did not want to look like a bobblehead. My surgery went well, and I came home after two days in the hospital. I was so excited to start my new journey, but three weeks after surgery, it was like my body was rejecting what I had done. I went through 32 days of severe nausea and dehydration. I had three hospital stays, with my longest being nine days. I was sent home with a PICC line in my arm to hook up this giant bag of nutrients because I could not tolerate the after-surgery liquid diet or my own spit. I wanted the surgeon to put my stomach back, lol. I began to pray and lay hands on myself, and within three days, I was back to normal. I have been fine ever since.
My goal was to lose 90 pounds, and I actually lost 95 pounds. I have maintained my weight loss, even during the pandemic. My current weight is 145 pounds, and I fluctuate between that and 150lbs, which is ok with me. May of this year will be my five-year sleeve anniversary.
What was your motivation?
Not only did I want to live a long time, but I was tired of being “the plus-size friend.” I wanted to have more clothing stores to shop in, not just Lane Bryant and Torrid. I wanted to regain confidence.
How did you change your eating habits?
My eating habits have changed drastically. I have not eaten any type of bread, fried foods, pop, or juice since 2017. If I wanted something fried, I would use my air fryer. I always loved water, and it is all I drink (day in and day out). If I want some flavor, I use Crystal Light.
I love vegetables, especially Brussell sprouts (sautéed). I became vegetarian six months ago, and I love it. I do not miss meat at all. Although, I will not go Vegan because I love eggs and cheese. I eat all my meals off small dessert plates. Also, I still follow the weight loss rule of waiting 30 after eating before drinking water.
Tell us about your workout routine.
I work out four days a week for 30 minutes, and I have done that since 2017. My workouts are intense; cardio, weight-lifting, and exercises for the abs, legs, and arms.
How long did your transformation take?
After all of the hospitalizations, I really began to lose weight two months after surgery. I hit my goal weight seven months later.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I learned that this is my journey and not anyone else’s. I also celebrate everyone’s weight loss, no matter the amount. But, most importantly, I learned to love myself again.
What advice would you like to share with women who want to lose weight?
First, be mentally ready for your new lifestyle. Be committed, and be honest with yourself. Whether you have weight loss surgery or lose on your own, it takes you being ready to change.
Also, keep a journal of everything you eat, the inches you lose, and your weight. I always go back and look at what I was vs. what I am now anytime I feel like I am having an off day. Pictures help too.