A brand new year is right around the corner, meaning it's time to start thinking resolutions. One of the most common New Year's goals is weight loss. Jenn Bailey is a North Dakotan with a powerful story. It was in college that she decided that in order to see the results she wanted in her weight loss journey, surgery was her best option.
We took a seat at her kitchen table to find out the do's and don'ts of weight loss surgery.
Jenn Bailey shares, "I was 19. I was very young. I had tried a lot of things as a young teenager, and then throughout my first year of college I gained a lot of weight. You know, the Freshman 20, 30, 40." It was 10 years ago now that Bailey underwent gastric bypass surgery.
She explains, "You know they cut through your entire abdomen, so the muscles that they go through to get to the stomach is intense. So the recovery was very hard for me, just because it was painful and I'd never felt pain like that before."
Not to mention there are lifestyle changes to be made.
Bailey adds, "You kind of go through a baby-phase again where you have to retrain your stomach on what to eat, and what you can and can't put into your body." Bailey says she came to the decision herself. But it's not a decision made in a day, it takes weeks at the least to discuss options with a doctor, and then you have to prepare.
CHI St. Alexius Bariatric Coordinator Jessica Miller says, "From that point on, they will do a psychiatric evaluation, just to make sure they're in a good place to have bariatric surgery. They'll meet with our dietitian to make sure all of our guidelines make sense." There's also a pre-operation diet patients have to adopt to prepare for surgery. Miller adds, "When people make big changes and really adapt their lifestyle to a more healthy and active lifestyle after their weight loss surgeries, we really see the best results."
Miller says the best way to stay the course and get long term results is to join in on a weight loss support group, the one CHI St. Alexius, held to talk about getting through the holidays. The group didn't want to be on camera, but they spent the evening telling their own stories and talking recipes. And Bailey says she would never trade the confidence and health she's gained from the surgery.
She shares, "I'm 20 times healthier than I was when I was 19." She advises anyone considering weight loss surgery to do their own research and attend those group meetings, where you're surrounded by others working to make the same tough decision.
Anyone who’s had or is just considering surgery, can join in on CHI's support group at no cost. All you have to do is pre-register on their website.
Renee Cooper reporting