A big first step…

In April of 2015 my family and I went to Boston for the weekend.  I had received tickets to a Boston Bruins game and was excited to take my family down for the game.  We stayed at my mother’s home outside of the big city.  While we were there, I looked through the photo gallery on my mother’s cell phone.  I was so sad to find that out of the seemingly thousands of photos – I could not find a single one of myself that I actually liked.  Not even one that I sort of liked or was satisfied with.

Looking through those photos – which basically had spanned five years – really made me think about myself and where I was going in this life and in this body.  Truthfully, I did not like it at all.  Shortly after getting back from Boston, I really began my journey.  I spent a lot of time talking with family – particularly my husband.  We discussed that I did not feel good about myself, that I wasn’t happy in my body, and that I really needed to make a change so that I could start living.  We evaluated all the dieting methods and options out there and I realized that I had really tried a majority of them.  I know that I can lose weight – I have done it a thousand times in the course of my life.  My problem was keeping my weight off and sticking to my plan.  In the past I would lose upwards of 50 or 60 pounds and then get tired of dieting or denying myself.  At 36, I had had two babies and watched my body completely change.  I was at a point where nothing was really working long term and that is what I needed…..long term change.

Shortly after coming to this realization, I started exploring weight loss surgery as a very viable option for me.  Some people are against it and think that it is only a temporary option.  Some people go through with it, have success, and then simply do not.  I knew that even thinking about weight loss surgery was controversial. But I also knew that I was a breaking point for myself.  I had to make a big change in order to be a healthy contributing member of society again.  I knew that weight loss surgery would be a total dramatic change for me and I was very cautious about it.  After some thought, I decided to really explore it as an option and made my first appointment with the Surgical Weight Loss Team at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.

It was a very long process and actually was filled with ups and downs.  There were many steps that involved monthly meetings and appointments with my own doctor.  Trips up and down Route 9 to consult with nutritionists, dietitians, and surgeons.  Dealing with my insurance company was no walk in the park either.  I held my breath the day that they called me and told me that I had been approved for surgery!  I was very excited and very very nervous.

The hospital called me shortly after and scheduled my surgery for December 15th, 2016.  It was all happening very quickly and I was very nervous about the fast approaching date.  Again, talking to my husband about this huge life change – made it easier for me to accept this dramatic opportunity.  On the morning of December 15th – I was admitted into surgery and about 2 hours later I saw my husband in my hospital room.  The first thing I said to him was,  “Honey, today I changed my life forever.”  That statement has proven to be so very true.

The bariatric or weight loss surgery that I had is called Vertical Gastric Sleeve (VGS).  Basically – the surgeon and their team remove a significant portion of your stomach – creating a sleeve about the length and size of a banana or a football – depending on who your surgeon is.  There is no re-routing of your stomach or intestine like the more popular gastric bypass surgery.  My surgeon recommended that I get the VGS because she felt that it fit better with my lifestyle.

As I am writing this, I am feeling that I may have let some people down or betrayed some people.  I have been documenting my journey since it started back in December on social media platforms – including Facebook and Instagram (dellamaggs33) – and I have not included that I had surgery.  My close family and friends know, of course, but I did not come out and tell the general public.  I must say that having the surgery is a major key to my success and weight loss – however, it is NOT the only key.  Since having surgery I have exercised daily – running, fitness classes, treadmill, etc. I have stuck to a low carb diet and sworn off soda and fried foods.  I have made a goal to move everyday and have been both successful and I have tripped up.  My surgery is only a tool that I have used to help me get this far.  I am so grateful for it because it really did jump start my life changing journey.  I had spent so many years abusing my body – yo yo dieting, eating disorders, laziness, etc.  I am not sure that I would have gotten anywhere if I hadn’t gone ahead with the surgery.

For those of you thinking that I have taken the easy way out – I understand.  If knowing that I had surgery in some way belittles all the other good work and strides that I have made – I understand that too.  If, because you know I had surgery, makes you think differently about my journey – that’s fine.  If you feel that I am less of an inspiration because I had surgery – I totally get it.  I want you know that I have put in so much work to get to where I am today. I promise you that you will find something useful from my journey.  This is not a journey about weight loss surgery.  It is a journey about taking that tool and using it to better my life.  It is a journey about realizing my potential and not minimizing it because I have been trapped and uncomfortable in my own body all these years.

This incredible journey that I’ve been on has made me realize that I am worth it and that I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to.  I am still figuring out my limits and understanding my capabilities.  I have pushed myself and I have truly exceeded my own expectations.  It has been eight months since surgery and I have lost a total of 99 pounds.  From my very first weigh-in with the program – April 2015 – I have lost 119 pounds.  For all that I have lost – I have gained so much: confidence, grace, patience, and the knowledge that I can live this life and be happy with whatever comes my way.  I am moving everyday, I am playing with and keeping up with my kids, I am happy when I get dressed in the mornings, I am making an effort to take care of myself.  I am, finally, after all these years….living.

I hope that you will stick around and read my blog.  My purpose to help others who find themselves on a similar journey.  I have a lot to share and I am so excited to use this platform to help others!!  Feel free to comment or contact me with questions!!




15 thoughts on “A big first step…

  1. Kristin Wright says:

    Man, you have in NO way diminished my respect for your accomplishments (and personally I do NOT understand how anyone could feel less inspired because you jumpstarted your process with a surgery). On top of the hard work you have done (seen you out there running day after day and eating your yogurts) you now ALSO show the strength to tell YOUR story, YOUR truth, naysayers be dammed. No one else has lived IN your body. Well, other than your 2 cherubs! 🙂 Anyway, to me, what you have accomplished in this past year is no less amazing right now than it was 5 minutes ago. You came to a realization, you had a vision, you set goals, you followed-thru. Keep on doing you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mitzi Goldstein says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Mathy. I struggled with an eating disorder as well and I know it’s a huge commitment to learn to love yourself. It does not surprise me that Barry is a great support and I’m imagine he is very proud of his hot wife 😃. I envy your commitment and motivation. You look great and I’m glad to hear you feel better mentally and physically.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dorothy Jones says:

    What a wonderfully written, honest piece! I see you out running sometimes, and I wish I were able to still be out there. My journey has taken a different track. I, too, follow a low carb diet and it works amazingly for me in terms of energy levels, etc. Congratulations on your commitment and successes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HaleSki says:

    Documenting your journey, in itself, is a huge challenge. Thank you for taking the time to share your transformation with us Mathy! You’re an inspiration!!! Keep up the amazing work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bonnie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing something so personal. I’m sure it must make you feel vulnerable to put yourself “out there”, but you are an inspiration to many, including me. You’re an excellent role model, not only for your children, but for all the many kids and adults with whom you come in contact. Anyone who thinks bariatric surgery is “the easy way” is simply ignorant of the facts. Don’t listen to them!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erin Talarico says:

    Go Mathy go!!!! After I had my daughter I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I decided I didn’t want to be the “fat” mom. In a year I lost 126 pounds. Running was definitely key for me. It’s amazing what we can get our bodies to do. Since having my son TWO YEARS ago I can’t seem to find my old motivation. I still have 32 lbs to lose. Your posts are giving me inspiration to get back to where I need to be! You be you Mathy! You have always been an amazing woman! I look forward to more posts! Thanks for the inspiration!!!


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