Surgery date 9/12/2012
Weight lost: 89.8 pounds
Like so many people with weight problems, Gemeli Loney’s life was about limitations – the things she couldn’t do or was afraid to try because of her weight.
“There were so many things I always wanted to do that I didn’t have the confidence to do, whether it was something athletic, for example, or trying something adventurous or traveling. Life before was about limitations, some conscious and some self-conscious.”
Although she had tried losing weight before, it was the possibility of future health problems that finally made her decide to consider weight loss surgery.
“I was just at that point where my doctors were starting to warn me about my sugar levels and the possibility of diabetes. That was a bit of an ‘aha moment’ because the idea of having to take medications for the rest of my life and be concerned about the repercussions of the disease, I was at that point where the inevitable was starting to set in.”
After a colleague underwent bariatric surgery with Dr. Arif Ahmad at Mather Hospital, Gemeli could see the change in her both physically and emotionally. That was first time she heard Dr. Ahmad’s name and she asked for his card because she wanted to feel the way her colleague did. Within a week she was in his office.
“I had a great experience with the staff. It was comforting to know that many of his staff members had gone through one of his procedures, so they could speak from experience, and there was an overwhelming feeling of support.”
As she lost weight following her procedure she found her confidence level growing. “The most significant thing about life now is incorporating fitness into my life – being physically able to do things, working out in the gym. And I surprised myself. Every day I became addicted to weight training. I realize now that the emotional, chemical reaction people talk about, that feeling of euphoria you get when the endorphins start to release, I didn’t know I had those before the surgery and now in the gym I enjoy that.”
“I’ve also pursued other things now that I would have never tried, like Habitat for Humanity. A couple of weeks ago I hung sheetrock for the first time, something I wouldn’t have attempted just for fear that I would have quickly become fatigued. I was right in there covered with drywall dust at the end and felt very much accomplished.”
Another accomplishment was trying a spin class for the first time. “I was able to get through the entire 50-minute class. I was covered in sweat when it was all said and done by the end but I took a selfie to remind myself. I myself would not have believed it. If I had interviewed myself three years ago, I would have said ‘Who’s that?’ It’s just a great example of the things I’m able do now I that I wasn’t able to do before.”
“The most important change is knowing what I’m capable of. I recognize this is a lifetime journey. Now, even if I falter somehow and start to exhibit negative behavior around food and fitness, I know now how to reverse that and be confident that I can get through it. I’m capable of doing it. Seeing the evidence of it makes you more confident in the event you have to call on that again. I look forward to the future.”