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Felicia's story: Juggling life and self-care


In my earlier years as a child, I never struggled with weight. This was a something that didn’t affect me directly, but I was predisposed to the crippling affects it has on someone I love dearly, which is my mother. I watched her struggle with weight and attempt many diets. I knew that I never wanted to be overweight because dieting and eating “healthy” was hard and draining with little to no reward, since this seemed to be her result time after time. Although I was very active, I never played sports, and rarely did any activities that sparked any athleticism. Slowly but surely, my love for food developed through experiencing all that life has to offer. Whether I was happy, sad, or bored, food played a huge part in my life. 

Love for food

As a teenager, I ate whatever I wanted and never gained a pound. I was thin with no worries about my health. I ate junk food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and frequently skipped meals. Vegetables, fruits, water, and other nutritious foods were far from my mind and my mouth. When I did eat, it was an extreme over abundance of food, and the cycle would start again. I soon developed extremely bad eating habits that would be detrimental in my later years.

Once I turned into a young adult, keeping up with cooking and having a strict regiment about food wasn’t easy, but it was rewarding. I saw the results from my healthy eating habits. I looked and felt even better because this was the first time in my life that fruits, vegetables, water, and sleep took priority in my life. But, as my career became more demanding, juggling work, family, and self care became a bit overwhelming. This resulted in my 2 designated nights of takeout to expand to 7 nights. It was easy, and most importantly, it became satisfying. Looking back at this time, this was the product of stress eating and becoming addicted to fast food. I did this for a few years and before I could blink, I would now be considered overweight. This was a place I never could imagine as my reality. 

Love of family

A little over 3 years ago, I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. This pregnancy made me feel as though I could eat whatever I could tolerate because I had extreme nauseousness and a lot of food aversion. My go-to was fast food burgers and Mexican food. I ate everything with all of the fixings because I guess in my mind, I was making up for lost time and pregnancy allowed me to eat without the feeling of regret. 

After having her, I lost all of my baby weight in a month. But, when I returned back to work, I gained it all back within a short time frame. I was spread thin due to the fact that I was a new mom, I was dealing with the fact that I had to leave my daughter to return to work, my new body after pregnancy, and still maintaining a relationship with my husband. I loved my role as a new mother, and loved the fact that my family has grown, but self care was on the back burner. I was fighting hard to feel like myself again by eating right and exercising, but nothing seemed to work. I lost 10 pounds and a few inches, but I didn’t get much further than that. I became saddened and depressed that I would never feel and look like the “old” me. I started to accept that fact that this is how it’s just going to be. This feeling lingered too long. But one day, I started to make some changes that would make me feel better about myself. I switched careers, and I consciously started to become more active. Most importantly, I started to make small strides in bettering myself because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to give my best if I wasn’t a firm believer that I deserve to be happy and healthy.

Love for oneself

I looked into Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy because I have a few co workers who went through the process and they looked phenomenal. Some of them had quite a bit of serious health problems that were finally under control. Some of them were even completely relieved of these medical issues and were granted a new lease on life. This was the change that I needed because I am getting older and I’m predisposed to Diabetes, Cancer, heart disease and a host of other life threatening ailments due to my family’s medical history. I needed to make a change because I need to live a long and healthy life if I want to see all of the upcoming monumental events in my child’s life as she grows into adulthood. This wasn’t going to be my ending because I was mentally prepared to rewrite my story. I couldn’t give up because my family depends on a healthy and happy version of me, just as much as I depend on these things. 
I am now 7 week’s post op, and I can happily say that I am 41 pounds down. I’ve dropped a size in my pants, shirts and dresses. The most exciting thing about this journey is all of the non scale victories. The small things like crossing your legs with ease, fitting into your clothes and shoes comfortably, having more energy, going up flights of stairs without being completely winded, and the list can go on and on. I think the most important non scale victory for me is not feeling like food has this strong hold over me. I eat to nourish my body. The food is still good, but having that control with this tool is priceless. I make better food choices and the results are full circle. I smile more, I’m more confident, and I would go through this process ten fold to have the feeling that I finally have after years of frustration and sadness. This was by far one of the best decisions that I could have ever made for myself.