“I went back and forth for six years before deciding to have gastric sleeve surgery,” says Luz DeJesus, on staff in the Behavioral Health department of Hackensack Meridian Healthcare in Old Bridge. The day after her 37th birthday in 2020, Luz took a few weeks off work and changed her health and life.
The married professional with a six and sixteen-year-old, Luz had not lost the 60 pounds she gained after her first pregnancy in 2005 and added more after her daughter’s birth in 2014.
“You know how it is once you have kids, every minute of your day is devoted to them,” Liz notes. But Luz knew that as she got older, the health risks of carrying too much weight would eventually catch up. So she took action.
“I had heard about Dr. Adeyeri and several of his patients came into our office for care as part of their bariatric program,” the Middlesex County resident explains. “I could not help but notice the weight loss transformation his patients experienced—they looked amazing and felt even better!”
Dr. Adeyeri recaps Luz’s weight loss success
“Luz is petite but she carries her weight well and you would not suspect that she weighed more than 250 pounds before her bariatric operation,” Adeyeri, a board-certified and fellowship-trained bariatric, advanced laparoscopic and general surgeon.
“Luz is someone who is very goal-oriented and does not give up.
The fact that she will reach her goal weight this year comes as no surprise to me.”
Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri
Months before choosing weight loss surgery, Luz took another health matter into her own hands—she successfully quit smoking.
“I knew from talking with other people who had the surgery that smoking is a risk factor for complications.”
She also began meeting with Lori Skurbe, Sterling Surgicare’s bariatric dietitian, to get her nutrition on track. In fact, she lost 10 pounds even before her sleeve gastrectomy.
Even so, Luz, who didn’t have any chronic medical conditions prior to bariatric surgery, said she felt too uncomfortable to work-out and felt like it was hard to breathe, due to the stress of the extra weight on her petite 5-foot 2-inch frame. She said the extra weight made her feel ‘off balance’, like her body was out of alignment.
A cardiology work-up for health palpitations showed no abnormalities other than ‘excess weight.’
In February 2020, Luz had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, also called a VSG, with no complications.
Losing weight during Covid-19 lockdown
After her gastric sleeve weight loss operation, Luz was motivated to do whatever was necessary to see results. She followed the nutrition plan, drank as much water as possible, and finally felt comfortable enough to start working out by watching YouTube fitness videos.
“Covid-19 had arrived, so I was stuck at home anyway, and I found so many fitness pros on YouTube who made working out fast and fun.” Luz prefers these popular brief bursts of exercise, often using light weights, lasting from seven to 10 minutes, called HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
She takes breaks throughout the day to complete these mini-workouts.
One year since her bariatric surgery,
Luz has seen the scale plummet from 241-pounds on surgery day to 168 pounds,
a 73-pound weight loss.
Bariatric warrior offers words of experience and advice
Luz has become a bariatric weight loss expert during the past year. She advises people not to keep thinking they will lose 75 pounds or more on their own.
“Speak to a bariatric surgeon, get information and ask questions,” she recommends. “Find out all the pros and cons, and then think about where you could be a year from now.”
She also reminds people to listen to their body, doesn’t skip the daily vitamins and stay consistent.
“Get yourself into a routine, so you have your protein shakes and your foods on-hand when you need them,” she notes. “The more you work out, the faster you are going to the weight, so make it happen.”
Luz’s son is a big fan of running 5K races, and he may want to watch out because his mother is starting to train to run one with him in 2021.
“It’s been a goal of mine from the beginning that I run and complete a 5K race with my son and that time is coming very soon!”
Is Your Weight Affecting Your Health and Quality of Life?
If you have tried more diet and exercise program than you can count, a surgical weight loss solution may be the choice to get your weight under control.
Call Sterling Surgicare’s team of weight loss surgery specialists at (732) 217-3897 to schedule your telehealth appointment–as soon as the next week!
You will speak privately with our medical director, Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri and find out if you qualify for a bariatric weight loss solution.
If you’re ready to change your life and your health, we’re ready to support you every step of the way!