"I was afraid my son would fly out of the amusement park ride."
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Starting weight: 360 lbs.
Current weight: 177 lbs.
Goal weight: 165 lbs.
Surgery: gastric bypass
Surgery date: June 24, 2008 (age 27)
Donna made her entrance into the world weighing 10 lbs. And 12 oz. (the average weight for a newborn is 7.5 pounds). Her entire life, Donna was never the size of her peers. She only knew life as being overweight. When asked if any particular memories relating to her weight from her childhood remained vivid, Donna clearly remembers her mother placing her on a very strict diet while in fifth grade. At ten years old, Donna was already 220 lbs. Only being allowed to eat lettuce and lemon, Donna did lose 15 lbs. However, this wasn’t good enough for her mom.
As a result, Donna began sneaking food which made her regain the 15 pounds she originally lost, plus gain extra weight. Throughout her teens and most of her 20s, Donna would yo-yo diet based on her doctor’s diet recommendations. She tried appetite suppressants, which didn’t work. Ironically, although Donna was severely overweight, she was no couch potato. As a young girl growing up in rural Texas, she did a lot of physical labor, ran a lot, and always worked full time. Energy was not a resource Donna lacked.
When Donna was 22, she discovered that her birth father died at age 55 due to heart related issues, which are caused by obesity. He was almost 7ft. tall and almost 800 lbs.
When Donna met her now husband, she weighed 330 lbs. He was 5’8”, weighed 125 lbs. and came with washboard abs. He loved Donna because she was a cute girl, just in a “fat body.”
However, even as an adult, Donna’s mother wasn’t a source of support. Donna and her husband visited her mother who was still in Texas, and happened to have just purchased a new couch and loveseat. Donna’s mother asked her to sit on the floor so that she didn’t sink the new seat covers.
Not only was an unhealthy diet the reason for Donna’s weight, her eating schedule was also a large contributor. Although she worked a 9-5 schedule and would eat a dinner after coming home from work, Donna’s husband worked at night. She would go to sleep but then wake up to have dinner with him when he got home in the middle of the night.
When Donna and her husband were married in 2007, she wanted to start a family immediately. However, due to her weight, Donna's doctor warned her that trying to become pregnant and have a child would be dangerous to both she and the baby. Her husband started to research the gastric bypass procedure, and decided to meet with Dr. Korman. Donna loved him immediately. As she went through the pre-op process, Donna learned through psychotherapy and her support group that in order to be successful in long-term weight loss, she needed to change her thoughts about food. She became so close with three of the other girls from the support group that they all arranged to have their surgeries the same day!
Once Donna was down to 250 lbs., she was able to conceive. During her entire pregnancy, Donna only gained 8 lbs! When her daughter was born, she was keratin deficient. This means her daughter wasn’t able to break down the fat that causes fatty liver. This is hereditary, which explains why Donna was always overweight. She was tested as well for the keratin deficiency.
Learning how to eat correctly was a learning experience. Sometimes Donna would eat a meat that wasn’t quite lean enough and it would make her sick. Having Dr. Korman’s support and the office staff as a resource for questions made it much easier and more comforting to overcome obstacles such as these. Today, Donna tries to follow a paleo diet to stay in line with bariatric guidelines. Below is a "typical" day of Donna's diet: