Transformation of the Day: Zel lost 179 pounds. This proud mom just wanted to be healthy and active. She learned that this journey is not only about physical change, but mental change as well. VSG weight loss surgery and the Keto diet are the tools she used to release the weight and keep it off. Check out her journey.
I was always “Big” growing up, and so were most of the family member’s who surrounded me. It wasn’t until I realized that I could not be as active as I wanted to be that I knew a change needed to be made. Honestly, my motivation was my son.
I worked at stores like Torrid and Lane Bryant, and that made me feel like, “Hey, it’s ok to be Plus sized & beautiful.” It was not just a question of my self-esteem. If I am being transparent, my self-esteem wasn’t the highest, but my decision to change was all about being healthy. I wanted to be able to breathe while walking up a flight of stairs. I wanted to be able to run and jump around with my son. I wanted to be able to drop down and get my eagle on girl, lol.
When I started my weight loss journey, I started with Herbalife. I did that consistently for 3 months, and I lost 60 pounds, which was amazing. I was feeling better and had more energy. I even ran my first 5K. Not too long after that, I had an accident and sprained my ankle. This injury kept me from working out. The re-gain started, and I was depressed about gaining the weight back. It was just a downward spiral from there.
By this time I was working for Lane Bryant and customer came in who was celebrating her 100lb weight loss. I asked her how she did it and she said she had Lap-Band surgery. At the time, I had no idea what that was so I asked more questions. She gave me her provider’s information. I took the webinar that same night and made my consultation appointment. I had Vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery on February 4, 2016.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight when I had weight loss surgery was 377 pounds, and my highest weight was around 389 pounds. I just round up to 400lbs most of the time. I currently weigh 210 pounds (going a few lbs. up or down, here or there). I am 5’7.5” I have a lot of loose skin, so I retain a lot of water, which can be discouraging. At the end of the day, nothing should be discouraging about massive weight loss and coming from a size 28 to a size 12/14.
How have you changed your eating habits?
I am still losing weight, but I’m also trying to get to a place of maintenance mode. Right around the 2-3 year mark is when weight loss surgery patients start to regain. I am fearful of that happening, so I have transitioned to eating Keto, and I absolutely love it. Its low carb, high fat (healthy fats), and moderate protein. I have the most fun making my own recipes, like Keto fried chicken, pizza, and baked mac and cheese, just to name a few. I work from home, so I try to make sure that I am putting healthy food in my body.
What did your workout routine look like? How often did you work out?
I did not have a workout routine, and I still do not.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I would say it has always been a journey with my weight going up and down. Crash Dieting. Being Inconsistent. I am still transitioning after having weight loss surgery. I don’t think the transition ever stops because growth does not stop. I like Keto, and I love what it is doing for my body, so I do not see myself making any foreseeable changes in the future.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
The biggest lesson I learned is that weight loss is not about your physical appearance, but your mental state of mind. You can’t do anything unless you put your mind to it. Weight loss surgery is just a tool, and there is a huge misconception about that in the weight loss community. It is not the easy way out. It caused me to use portion control. That is all. I still determine what I put in my body. If it is unhealthy, then it’s going to show.
There are plenty of people who have risked it all (literally their lives), and they’ve regained some or all of the weight back. There is no bulletproof way to lose weight. You have to recognize that it is a lifestyle change. There will be setbacks, but at the end of the day, you have to have the strength to come back, re-align, and be consistent.
What advice do you have for other people who want to lose weight?
Make sure you’re mentally prepared to do so. Do not try to quick fix the weight off. Make sure you create a meal plan. Meal prep, if that works for you. Eat what you want, but use portion control. Also, you do not have to kill yourself in the gym. Dance around your house for 30 minutes three times a day. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Make it fun. Don’t limit yourself because that is the easiest way to fall off track. You did not gain the weight in a day so please don’t expect to lose it in one day.
Personally, the scale is not my friend. I do not know if it is a friend to anyone I know, lol. I would say focus on your non-scale victories, like being more active or fitting in a smaller sized shirt or pants. DO NOT reward yourself with food. We eat to live, not live to eat. A cheat here and there is not going to kill you, but remember that for anything you want to eat there is a healthy version. Google is a useful tool for finding options.