Archive of the week! Why I do what I do…

In December of 2010, I wrote about a very special friend of mine named Gina.

Many times I reference this blog post when someone asks for help with regain.  I cannot even begin to count the times I’ve shared it and so often I wonder if it ever makes a difference.  Maybe it does and I don’t find out. Yesterday someone told me it made a difference and I want to share what she said.  Of course if you go to the post linked in the first sentence you will find all of the comments.

It’s lengthy but I think it’s worth the read because you see the light bulb come on.  Oh….and then there’s the part where this helps both Gina and I in ways I can’t possibly explain.  I hope you’ll read the original post and in particular I hope you’ll watch the video.  Gina is a trip and she’ll make you laugh out loud!

From Denise:

“WOW!!! This was just what I needed!!! Thank you so much for directing me to your site and your friend Gina! I watched that video and read her story and saw myself! I was 300 lbs. before my surgery June 29, 2004. I lost 120 lbs that first year and another 20lbs the second year post op. I worked that program perfectly for 2 years and was like a new person… 140lbs down and wearing a size 10 from a 24/26! The attention I was getting from men was amazing! I actually had men holding the door for me and pouring coffee for me at the local 7-11! WHAT! At 300lbs I had been invisable! How you can be so large yet see through, unbelievable, but at 160lbs, all eyes were on me when I went out and the attention I was getting felt awesome for the first time in my life. The more confident I got, the more I slowly started to test the waters of my pouch. Hmmm, I can eat the cheese & sauce off the izza, lets see if I can handle the crust. WOW, it causes some discomfort, but not too bad. I just ate crust and cheese for a few months and then thought I’d test again! Lets add the rest of the slice. Not bad! Kept it down! Gradually testing for 3 years eventually led to being able to eat 2 full slices. I continued to play the “Lets see” game which resulted in a 42 pound weight gain and feeling inside me that were worse than before I had surgery. I did maintain a 100 lb loss, but I slowly watched that 42 pounds creep back on. I went from size 10 slowly back to buying 12s and now 14s which are tight!!! I refuse to buy a 16! Well, feeling totally out of control, addicted to carbs, snacking and grazing nonstop, and an emotional basket case, I felt it was too late. I had life threatening surgery & took advantage of that gift! I lost 140 pounds and took it for granted! I THOUGHT it was too late! A surgeon told me I needed another surgery… lap band over my gastric bypass pouch!! WHAT!!! No!!! I know in my heart & this is a quote from Gina that rang so true to me, “The only revision I need was revision of my mind!!!” With that said, last weekend I spent reaching out to anyone and everyone online who had experience with WLS weight regain. I spent the weekend preparing my house & fridge with everything I needed to get back on track. Well, I am happy to report that after only 5 days back on track, I have regained control and lost 6.2 pounds over the past 5 days! I know this is the beginning, but after reading about Gina and watching that interview, I KNOW it is possible to lose the weight I regained plus more to get to my goal! I am 8 years post-op, but thats ok. I CAN DO IT!!! With your support. Thanks so much!”

My response to her:

Denise I don’t know how I can thank you enough. There are days that aren’t pretty when I put all this information out there. I knew it would happen but the entire reason I do it is right here….today. You made me cry. I’m going to tell Gina to make sure and read your response too. I have used her quote so many times. Actually I use two of them. The other one is “a trained monkey can do the first year”. Do you realize that 6.2 pounds is getting close to 1/4 of your regain and you did that in a week! Keep your carbs under 100 grams a day and it will come off faster. Eat veggies and fruit too. Oh and the reason you weren’t invisible anymore is not because of your size. I’ll let you in a little secret. When we lose the weight and start feeling better about ourselves we become more approachable. When we feel badly about ourselves we give off an air of “leave me alone”. It’s not that you were invisible….it’s just that every cell in your body felt worthless and you didn’t want to be bothered or noticed by anyone you considered worthy. I’m so proud of you because you won’t buy an 18!! You’ve drawn your line in the sand. Welcome to Gina’s world!

Gina’s response:

“ I’M crying!!! I got a text from YVONNE, this morning, telling me to check my e-mail, but I am out of town, visiting our friends’ support group, 3 hrs away, and just now home, to the computer..and I am just blown away, that someone is getting something out the interviews Y and I did so long ago. To update you, I am now a little over a month shy of 10 year post op, and DID reach “goal” by my 9th surgiversary, and DID complete another half-marathon. Every day is a new struggle-adventure, but I am 200% HEALTHIER than I was 10 years ago. I am more impressed by YOUR efforts, and what you have described, in your post, than I can begin to tell you. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep in touch. You can find me on Facebook, thru Yvonne’s friends-or just look me up-Gina Derr Robinson–You CAN do this!!!!”

Denise’s response:

“OK, now you BOTH have me crying!!! I don’t even know you and you have both given me more than you can imagine… the hope and reassurance I desperately needed. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Congratulations Gina on reaching your goal!!! I can’t believe you have been running 1/2 marathons too. WOW YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION! I will be 8 years post op in June, so I hope that I can follow in your footsteps and be at my goal by my 9 year post op anniversary as well! My first goal is to lose the remaining 36 pounds I regained by my 45th birthday in September. I will keep you posted. Yvonne really made me feel a sense of relief with her statement that I have lost almost 1/4 of my regain in a week. Looking at it that way makes my first goal definately seem reachable! Thank you both again!”

My response:

I’m so glad you got that Denise! (about losing almost 1/4 of your regain). I constantly tell people to put it in perspective. Don’t make the regain into a monster you can’t fight. You just chopped off 1/4 of that monster in a week! Stay motivated and when you come up against a wall or slip down DO NOT FEEL SHAME! Shame sucks the life out of us. Put that in perspective too. I’ve done great for 30 days and I mess up one day. What can you do? You can beat yourself up about something that’s happened in the past (something you cannot change) or you can get back on the horse and start riding toward that place you want in life. No one is perfect.

I am told by some that I am an inspiration. I believe the people like Gina and you and the ones that turn around the regain are the inspiration. I’d love for you to read some other parts of my blog. I’ll send you a list of some. I’m so impressed you watched the video of Gina and I. She’s so smart and so funny and we’ve known each other for 7 years. I love her so much and I can’t thank her enough for putting her story out there so that people like you can be helped.

Gina’s response:

“DENISE-your additional comment could have been written by yesterday I was telling peeps, at a support group, about when I FINALLY made up up my mind to get a handle on my “brain revision”. I had “kept off” over maybe 60 lbs, and needed to give myself POSITVIE CREDIT for that< so I put on my “surgery day” clothes, and had my sister take a pic of it. I used it as my screen saver, for a long time. Pictures can’t lie, the way our mirrors can. It helped to understand I was not a TOTAL FAILURE, and that all was not lost (pardon the pun!)..Also–I never want to misrepresent myself–so to calrify–I did not RUN all those miles–I walked/lurched/almost CRAWLED a few..but I did FINISH..I have a shirt that says “The winners are not only are at the FINISH line-they are also at the STARTING line”. I love that!!”

So thank you Denise.

Thank you Gina.

You both made my day and you reminded me of why I do what I do…

Leave a Comment on Facebook
9 Comments on “Archive of the week! Why I do what I do…”

Special thanks to for connecting Denise and I.

Thank you so much for sharing this– really needed it MYSELF today–DENISE’s words inspired me, and kept me from eating everything in sight. We are most definently all in this TOGETHER, wherever in our journeys we may be. Keep on “doing what you do”, my precious Sister

Thank you for posting this story, it could be my story. I’ll be 5 years out RNY in April, had a 116 lb loss and over the past year half I have gained about 75-80 lbs back. I’ve become the emotional eater I was before the surgery. Have totally lost focus and am desperately trying to get back on track. After reading this post I know I can do it, just got to get the brain in focus and stop the emotional eating, snacking/grazing and get totally off the sugar and diet soda’s. I. am focusing on making “ME” my number one priority. Again, thanks for sharing.

You are very welcome. Please don’t feel shame. I know it’s very hard not to. We throw around the term emotional eater and don’t give any solution. We eat to cope with feeling and pain we want to numb. We have to find a process to work through those feelings and we cannot do it alone. I am a food addict. Actually to put it simply, I am an addict and food is my drug of choice. Many of us switch to another drug of choice when our first one is taken away. There should be NO shame associated with that. We can not fix something we don’t acknowledge. If therapy is available use it. There are many ways to tackle this and my way is mostly giving back and being involved with the WLS community. I also continue to educate myself on my disease. We are no different than someone with any other disease.

If you are a drug addict you know not to keep drugs in the house. Why do we think we can function with sugar and junk in the house. I am so fortunate I don’t have to live with a family or a husband that eats that poison. Deep down I don’t think it’s good for them either. I consider it poison because if I start to eat it again it will kill me. Even at 11 years out I cannot keep that junk in my house because I WILL eat it at night. You have to find what works for you and that’s always the case. The most important part is losing that feeling of shame and knowing you have a disease. We are worthy, we are lovable and we are unique and wonderful. When you start to love yourself and stop beating yourself up this will come easier for you.

Yvonne, My Gastric Bypass Guardian Angel! thank you so much for “doing what you do!” You were like an angel coming to me when I desperately needed support and guidance. You gave me the hope I felt I was lacking. You and Gina inspired me and as a result, I am now back in control and eating the foods my body deserves (protein, fruits and vegetables), and I have now lost 10 pounds and have confidence and control back in my life. I hope one day I can reach out and help someone the way you have helped me. xo

Hey Denise, sorry it took so long to approve your comment. Had minor surgery. Will reply soon. Hugs, Y

Thank you I too have gained 40 lbs. back it was so easy but now it is so difficult to get started to get that 40 plus some more off. You have been an inspiration to me I will start again today.

Lea Ann

Lea Ann it’s so cool that you replied one day after Gina’s surgiversary. Thank you so much for your comment. If there’s anything I can do please let me know. Hugs, Y

I just like the helpful info you supply for your articles.
I’ll bookmark your blog and take a look at once more right here regularly.

I’m quite sure I’ll be told many new stuff proper here!

Good luck for the following!

Leave a Comment on
Guidelines: I reserve the right to delete off-topic, inflammatory, or anonymous comments. XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>