I’ve got a secret. Five years ago, I entered a hospital and risked my life in a way that would forever change it.
I underwent bariatric surgery, specifically for the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. It’s done as an outpatient, minimally invasive procedure meaning if everything goes well I’d be in the comfort of my own home within 24 hours of recovery.
I complied with all the requirements. I met with the nutritionist, once a month for three months. I met with my cardiologist for pulmonary function tests. I kept in constant contact with my surgeon, which led to infinite questions and lists. I even had a mental evaluation done, which reminded me of how much we all need therapy.
I was ready.
I was also terrified. The fear wasn’t relating specifically to the procedure until surgery day. I was fearful of what waited for me on the other side of bariatric surgery.
The day of surgery, I was 22 years old. A time when my priorities should’ve included exploring bars and nightclubs in the electric Miami playground in which I resided. My weekends to many people should’ve been filled with sun-kissed beach days, colorful umbrella drinks and carefree thoughts. But they weren’t.
I weighed in at 280 pounds.
Let that sink in….280 pounds and a size 18 at 22 years old.
My sun-kissed beach days came with major anxiety about being in a bathing suit although all my bathing suits had built in “body support” which was just a way to say faja included, to support my protruding tummy.
Like many people in my situation, I couldn't tell you how I got there. I wasn’t big on junk food, but I loved and still love food. What can you expect from an Afro-Latina?
Our food is our passion. We share most of our memories over a meal. The kitchen is the focal point of the home. Preparing food and feeding loved ones is the ultimate way to show your love because so much goes into nourishing a family. The kitchen is one of the only places where everyone can participate and learn in a patient way.
My relationship with food wasn’t healthy. I built a detrimental dependency on food, it may sound like I was lacking discipline – I was – but food gave me comfort in a way I hadn’t felt. The cycle was incessant. I loved fashion but shopping for youthful clothes that fit was a nightmare.
As a result, I would fuss when it was time to get ready for a night out. I always managed to find something to wear, but there was almost always a guaranteed storm of emotions before finding something I felt I looked “presentable” in. Although, I hated the hysteria of finding clothes that allowed me to look how I wanted to feel, it never stopped me from finding relief from my anxieties in food.
I tried diets. All of them from Slim-Fast products, to Weight Watchers, to Alli supplements and they worked....at least for a couple of months. Thus, the Queen of Yo-Yo dieting was born. The decision to bariatric surgery was not an easy one but it was one of the best decisions of my life.
I'm Macielle, (Mah-see-el) most people call me Macie. I'll be taking you through my journey to a healthier me and the problems I faced during that time. My story will be continued here for the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Keep up with Macielle and her WLS on Instagram.