Over the past week I have been talking about transformation(see previous blogs). Transformations in business, entrepreneurship, etc., etc. Im doing this now a lot for my own reflection for the Brobe and what transformation I want to see in 2014. However, transformations come in many different shapes and forms. On a personal level (and my friends and family will attest to this) I am CONSTANTLY trying to "transform" my body.
I come from a family of overeaters. Growing up, everyone in my family was overweight, really overweight. More like morbidly obese. I watched my family struggle with food addiction my whole life. I personally was not overweight growing up and had a hard time understanding this "addiction" everyone around me seem to have. My sister once compared her addiction to an alcoholic. She said if she woke up and the first thing she thought about was a chocolate brownie, she would not be able to function throughout the day until she had that brownie. Both my mom and sister have
had Gastric Bypass
Surgery and I whole-heartily believe this is the ONLY option for some people. People like my sister and mother who combined lost over 350 pounds. This battle I have with body image, my own body image is something I struggle with daily so, I decided to see how others transformed their own bodies and in turn their own life.
Meet Kelly. I was introduced to Kelly by the one and only fabulous image consultants in Austin, Bonnie Balistreri.
Bonnie started working with Kelly after she started feeling completely overwhelmed by the drastic changes in her body after her Vertical Gastric Sleeve procedure. Kelly looks and feels amazing but as she explains below, it's not as easy as one would think.Turns out,
in order to transform your body, you have to makeover your mind first.
What made you want to make a change in your image?
After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and not being successful at getting it under control for about 5 years, it became apparent that I needed to do something drastic to get my head in the game and work to become healthy again. I started researching weight loss surgery about 2 years before finally coming to the realization that I needed to be serious about it and deciding to move forward with the Vertical Gastric Sleeve. At 316 lbs I was morbidly obese and my endocrinologist basically informed me that if I kept traveling down the road I was on, that my life was going to revolve around 8 hour sessions in a dialysis unit. Not a very pretty life-
How were you feeling before the makeover/transformation compared to today?
I was sad, and unmotivated to care about the way I looked. I hated clothes and was limited to shopping in only the plus sized stores such as Lane Bryant and the Avenue and found them to be very expensive and the styles to be either too old and matronly or too young and hip, but this being said, these stores were my only options and therefore my safe place. It took me about 8 months to lose enough weight to no longer be able to shop in these stores and that is when I realized that I was completely overwhelmed with having way too many options and no style and not knowing where to begin to find one. It wasn't unusual for me to go into a store, spend hours looking at things and trying them on only to leave frustrated because everything looked terrible and I hated it. Today I'm loving my new look and feeling much more confident with shopping and finding my style. I attribute a lot of this to hiring Bonnie to be my image consultant. Bonnie helped me to see the changes in a positive way and not to be afraid of stepping outside of the frumpy box I had lived in most of my life.
What has been the biggest hurdle either emotionally or physically?
There have been a number of hurdles that I have had to cross, but the biggest ones have been mental. At my highest weight, I was uncomfortable and not very physically active, but I never saw myself as big as I was. I never felt frumpy and fat. As I began losing the weight, I realized more and more just how big I was and suddenly I didn't like much about me- The excess skin makes me feel like a sharpei dog, all I see is the wrinkles in my skin and the turkey waddle on my neck. The head games were the hardest part of my journey and even today I still see a fabulous counselor to help me see all the positive changes in my life.
What is something you did not expect to happen after your transformation?
Transfer addictions- in the world of weight loss surgery it isn't uncommon for us to develop transfer addictions as we come away from being addicted to food. For me it became shopping. Finding that amazing deal on a great new piece of clothing gave me a real high. I have managed to keep it under control, but for someone that never was interested in fashion I have become quite the wanna be fashionista these days! So much so that with Bonnie's help, I am the chair of the organizing committee for my weight loss surgery support groups first annual fashion show. We are making plans now for "Flourish" - a fashion show of our weight loss surgery patients who are going to rock the runway and show off our new healthy bodies and lifestyles in the latest spring fashions donated by Dillard's this March.