A simple conversation with her mom tipped the scales for Bev Barney, a house cleaner from Flat Rock, who decided to have bariatric surgery after decades of battling her weight. “Weight is going to be a constant struggle in your life, isn’t it?” Barney remembers her mom asking a simple question that seemed to linger.
Barney was heavier than other children, and over the years, her weight fluctuated. Yet at her heaviest of 287 pounds, she never developed conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
“In my mind everything was okay, because I could still clean houses and go to Jazzercise five days a week,” said Barney. But sinking into the sofa and then not being able to get up without fighting the arm rest began to weigh her down physically and mentally.
“Not being able to get up from sitting or crouching was scary, but mentally scary was the fact that I was doing this to myself,” said Barney, whose joints were feeling the strain of the extra weight.
“I couldn’t wait to have the surgery,” she said. “This was going to be the thing that helped me.” In truth, Barney tried nearly every diet out there without success. Before attending Mission Weight Management’s information session, she researched the sleeve gastrectomy procedure and read patient success stories that piqued her interest.
“This idea gave me new hope to get down to a weight that I could work to maintain. I’d never really gotten down below 200 pounds before and needed something to kick-start my progress,” said Barney.
Prior to surgery, Barney followed the advice of her new Mission Weight Management team of nutritionists, surgeons, counselors and more. Early successes motivated her to make more serious goals.
Barney’s surgery was in August 2016, and she had a plan. Looking ahead, her mind was set on achieving her goal weight of 155 pounds before reaching the 18-month marker, when weight loss typically slows for patients.
In just 10 months, Barney reached her goal weight by losing 132 pounds. Jazzercise is still a significant part of Barney’s success, and so is her mindset. “I’ve been successful, because I really wanted this and thought things through,” she said.
The Honeymoon’s Over
“It’s still a battle,” Barney said. But she’s not in it alone. Having the support of an entire team at Mission Weight Management has made all the difference.
“Being part of the Honeymoon’s Over support group has been the best thing for me,” said Barney. “Everyone in this group is more than a year past surgery, and they easily share their concerns, motivations and experiences in a judgment-free setting.” Barney added that she learns something new at every meeting. The support doesn’t stop there.
Mission Weight Management has a full complement of other resources available for medical or surgical weight loss, setting it apart from a lot of other programs, according to Peeter Soosaar, MD, a bariatric and a general surgeon with Mission Surgery and Mission Weight Management.
“We want our patients to make long-term improvements using the tools and resources they need to make lasting changes. By improving eating and activity levels and curbing old habits, our patients can, in turn, improve the lives of their families,” said Dr. Soosaar.
Nicole Martinez, a nutritionist, especially helped Barney as she switched to an all-plant-based diet. Nicole answered questions and helped with portion control while suggesting foods Barney needed to eat more of. Even Barney’s husband lost 45 pounds in the process.
Barney knows this is a life-long commitment. She’s targeting lasting results, and while it’s easy to backslide, she continues to follow and tweak her plan. For anyone thinking about this option, Barney has one suggestion, “Put your full energy and your full mental happiness into it, and you should be successful.”
Bev Barney’s Tips for Keeping the Weight Off
– Rely on your team. The Mission team is full of experts who can answer questions and want to help. “Nicole Martinez, my nutritionist, has been so supportive of my switch to the plant-based diet, teaching me portion control and which foods I needed to have more of in my diet,” said Barney.
– Go to support group meetings. “We all go through the same challenges, and you’ll learn so from others’ experiences,” said Barney.
– Ask questions. This is a new way of eating, and there’s so much to learn. “Don’t be afraid to seek answers,” said Barney.
– After doing your research, follow the program. Talk with the experts about which meal plan to follow. Some make it so easy by including grocery lists for the week. “Put your full energy into it, and you will be successful,” said Barney.
Peeter Soosaar, MD, is a bariatric and a general surgeon with Mission Surgery and Mission Weight Management.