Dramatic weight loss with no surgery

Published 6:01 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

We keep looking for that magic solution to weight loss, and it seems to always elude us. With all the current research on the brain, neurological patterning may well be the answer to a host of issues for which we seek solutions, but that’s the subject for another column. Today, I want to share a weight -loss success story with you.

Sharon Sisneros was soon to turn 50 and needed to make a real change. She had been overweight all of her adult life. She had no health problems, and her typical day was spent in an office job: Working through lunches, occasionally taking a walk or gardening, and frequently eating out.

For more than 20 years, she followed the Weight Watchers program off and on. Her biggest loss was 50 pounds. For years, her weight fluctuated by 10 pounds, up or down. Sisneros says, “I drive by Weight Watchers every day on my way to my job, and I wonder why that program didn’t work for me. It’s a good program, but for me it was a bit too convenient-mindless-not a lot of effort.”

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At age 50, she knew that being overweight would soon begin to take its toll and thought working with a personal trainer might be a good decision.

How did she locate a personal trainer, and how did that work out for her? On Memorial Day 2014, Sisneros called David Diaz, owner of Fitness Together. He was working and asked, “Why don’t you come in today for a free workout, and we’ll figure this out?”

At that session, she couldn’t do a sit-up or a jumping jack. Afterwards, Diaz asked, “Why are you here?” They talked a while longer, and agreed to train together three times a week, and she committed to at least 20 minutes of cardio on the days she didn’t meet with him. Further, she pledged to stick to 2,500 calories a day, eliminate refined sugars, processed foods and gluten. It took her about six weeks to clean up her diet, and she faithfully kept a food journal and so began a steady weight loss. As of today, she has lost 212 pounds.

Her trainer had her running laps in the gym initially and then running 2.5 miles around a lake close to the gym. At first she found herself “huffing and puffing.” In August of 2016, she completed her first triathlon sprint, consisting of a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride and 5K run. She recently ran her first 10K and plans to complete her first half marathon by the end of 2017.

How and why did she reach 384 pounds? “I don’t know if I’ve figured that out. I didn’t put myself first. I kept busy. I was involved in non-profits, women’s leadership initiatives, and life-long learning. If there’s an emotional connection, I haven’t figured that out.”

Her trainer Diaz says of Sisneros, “There seems to be no emotional baggage holding her back: No bad divorce, no business dilemma, no crazy stuff. The big thing was she intrinsically wanted to change. We have an extraordinarily strong bond. We laugh together; we respect each other.”

Sisneros says of Diaz, “He tells me that he has never had a client as confident with no excuses and excellent follow through.”

What about food intake? “I not only work out harder, I also invest more time in nutrition. This means I spend time in shopping, cooking and planning to make sure I am consuming the right kinds of foods that have the vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats that my body needs.”

With such dramatic weight loss, what are her plans for that excess skin? Sisneros wore 5X pant at her top weight and now wears a size 12. When she consulted with a plastic surgeon about body-reduction surgery to remove excess skin, he asked, “Who did your bariatric surgery?” He was in awe of her as the only patient in his medical career who had not had surgical intervention to lose more than 200 pounds.

The plan is now for the surgeon to remove at least 14 pounds of abdominal skin and additional poundage as he removes excess skin throughout the rest of her body. Insurance pays for nothing.

What has been the reaction to her dramatic weight loss? Family and friends are extremely supportive and quick to commend her accomplishments. Women tell her, “You look great. You inspire and motivate me.” Men are also complimentary but not as quick to say so or as frequently as women.

With her former body, she reports, “There is a lot of prejudice against big people. In public, people would look at my face and then they would scan my body. “

How has the weight loss, the healthy eating and the exercise regime changed her? There is no more worrying about whether a chair will hold her weight, being embarrassed to request a seat belt extender when flying or having to shop plus-size stores. She’s able to shop off the rack and do activities her weight had prohibited before. She sleeps better and her energy level is “through the roof.” Additionally, she loves the social benefits of being a part of the fitness and running communities.

What’s on her bucket list? Skydiving, hiking a 14,000’ summit, learning to ski and possibly running a marathon.

Contact Dr. Vivian Blevins at vbblevins@woh.rr.com.