Like most of us, Terri Wehling struggled for years to lose weight. She tried every diet known. And like most of us, she’d take off some weight only to gain it back. Like some of us, Terri found her health failing so fast that she opted for an adjustable gastric band bariatric surgery. And like some of us, Terri finally achieved permanent weight loss.
**My Bariatric Life: What was the tipping point that led you to undergo bariatric weight loss surgery? **
Terri Wehling: I was struggling with high blood pressure and pre-diabetic classification, low energy, depression and high cholesterol. I was frustrated with the direction my health was going, and was tired of losing and gaining my weight on a consistent basis. Of course the weight gain was always more than the weight loss, so my overall weight crept up to 100 pounds more than I should weigh.
MBL: How has that changed your life?
Terri: My blood pressure is under control with minimal medication. I am no longer pre-diabetic; my glucose level and triglycerides are under control without medication and within a healthy range. I have great energy, feel mentally healthy and capable of most any task, including physical challenges of moving and lifting heavy items most women of my age would shy away from doing. I also LOVE to shop for clothes in my new size: 10/12. I haven’t worn clothing items in this size range since I was in my 30s!
MBL: Please give me an idea of what you eat during the course of a day.
Terri: I usually start my day with a cup of coffee and a bit of fat-free half & half cream. A half hour later I eat a half of a cup of greek yogurt, usually with a serving of seed or nuts (I like a little crunch)! At lunch I try to eat something with a good protein count: lunch meat with crackers, cottage cheese, maybe some soup. Lately I’ve been eating the smoked sockeye salmon found in the deli section of the grocery store with some crackers. I occasionally have a piece of toasted bread with butter or peanut butter. I have been able to tolerate that better than I did when I first had my surgery. At dinner I do best with foods that chew up to the consistency of applesauce. I enjoy fish, chicken, or pork. I eat hamburgers occasionally, and a really tender steak, but I can only eat a small portion. I don’t tolerate pasta very well, or crunchy vegetables. Veggies are much easier to eat if they are well-cooked. My main goal is to consume 55-60 grams of protein a day. I try to do that on a regular basis, which means that I am more successful with maintaining my current weight.
**MBL: Please tell me about your exercise routine and activity level. **
Terri: Right after my surgery I didn’t do much exercise at all. Then after I got the hang of my new eating routine I began doing yoga once a week. That really helped my attitude with moving my body. I began walking, and wanted to do more activity. I did some horseback riding, biking and swimming. My yoga class moved into a Pilates studio, and so I began trying that type of exercise. It was life changing! I LOVE doing Pilates, and now I do Pilates at least twice a week. I am now in an intermediate class; I have become very strong and aware of my core. The other activities are more intermittent, but my Pilates activity is consistent. It’s great! I can imagine myself doing this until I am elderly. In fact, there are several women in the studio that are in their 70s. That is very encouraging. I am busy the rest of the day moving around, not just sitting. However, I would like to be more engaged in a regular walking routine. I purchased a device to monitor how many steps I take a day, but haven’t actually hooked it up to my computer yet. Some bad habits die hard (procrastination). But I’m very pleased with my success.
MBL: Is there anything else that helped you to be successful?
Terri: My regular visits to my PA (Physicians assistant) and the people that I do Pilates with; they have been a big support! My family my husband and kids are very proud of my accomplishments and encourage me to continue with my healthy eating and exercise habits. My six grandkids don’t know the previous me they only know the active Grandma that likes to move! I consistently get positive feedback from friends and acquaintances regarding my fit and leaner look, which also keeps me motivated to continue on this path.
Terri did achieve permanent weight loss with the help of LAP-Band adjustable gastric band surgery and lifestyle changes. But with her bariatric weight loss surgery came a set of obstacles. Read "Tolerating Vitamins after Bariatric Surgery" to learn the amazing lengths that Terri went to in order to regain her health and her life.
I grew from fit to fat and became a processed food junkie and couch potato with diabetes, celiac disease, depression, acid reflux, asthma, and hypertension. I was in my 30s, morbidly obese and on ~10 prescription medications. Since 2003 I’ve maintained massive weight loss from gastric bypass surgery and remain free from 9 of the 10 prescriptions. Then in 2013 I underwent body contouring and facial plastic surgeries to remove the last traces of my former obesity. Nowadays I am committed to supporting the online patient community with outstanding resources and by sharing my long-term success in defeating obesity and obesity-related illnesses. Today, I’m a size small (down from a size 24W) and living larger than ever!