Her Story: Nichelle

Name: Nichelle (@see_chelles)

Age: 29

Type of procedure: gastric sleeve (No surgery to date)

What prompted you to make the decision to go for wls?

Honestly it was free with my employer and I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time so I thought it would be a good option.

Did/do you feel any pressure by a doctor to make this decision?

Actually, yes. I work for one of the most famous hospitals in the world, and they have health insurance penalties if you’re obese or have 5 other chronic illnesses. So it was my job and insurance that brought on some of the decision.

Did you try other methods to lose weight and what happened?

I’ve done all kinds of diets. My most successful attempts were in 2014 and this year. I gained it all back in 2014 but I’ve lost 75 pounds so far this year.

What has the process been like for you psychologically?

There is a psychological evaluation they make you do to see what your self-esteem is like and whether or not you have any self-destructive tendencies. I scored well, and was told I carry myself well and care for my appearance. I took that with me, no matter my size, I always find the beauty within me. I never did the procedure, but that evaluation changed my mental view quite a bit.

How do you feel emotionally regarding your decision (before and after)?

I feel better about my self and my ability to care for my health no matter what. My weight peaked at 343 in April, and I was told I had to lose 10% in order to qualify for the surgery. But I lost so much that I kept going on the diet, and I feel happy about it. I’ve gotten to 268, and I’m still going. I’m consciously using the techniques taught to me during my screening process and even though I never got the surgery, I still feel successful.

How do you feel when you hear people say “weight loss surgery is the easy way out”?

Honestly, it’s annoying to hear. The surgery is a tool, not a miracle solution. I know people who have had the surgery and have only lost 100 pounds in 4 years, while other people I know lost 100 pounds in 6 months. It’s about what you do with that tool that makes the difference, and many people don’t understand that.

What has been the hardest part of all of this?

The scrutiny. No matter what you do, everyone’s eager to watch or give their feedback. It can get discouraging when you know people are secretly judging you for being a “big girl” etc. Having to shut out the white noise to focus on what you want can be very difficult.

What advice would you give for anyone facing weight loss surgery or who is trying to decide whether surgery is right for them?

At the end of the day, the choice is yours and yours alone. As long as you keep your health at the forefront, you should take the path that feels perfect for you. People’s opinions will always come and go, but you have to think about yourself first!

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