I read a letter from a woman today that was waiting anxiously on an ok to have Bariatric surgery. I felt the urge to tell her that surgery is not always the answer. I once weighed 528 pounds. I had the weight loss surgery 15 years ago…before it was proven and popular. Back then, it was a life saving measure and you had to be 150 pounds overweight to even be considered for the procedure. I literally begged my insurance company to cover it. Bed ridden and miserable I wrote letter after letter to my insurance company. I finally convinced my own personal doctor to compose a letter to them as well, insuring them that I would not survive another year at my present weight. Her letter seemed to work and in fact, I believe that I was the first patient approved by the WELLNESS plan for that surgery. At 528 pounds the operation gave me a new lease on life and I lost 200 pounds in a year. Basically I starved myself to death. No one taught me anything about nutrition, exercise or eating healthy. Eventually, the momentum slowed and I stopped losing. It was about that time that I figured out that if I “grazed” on food all day long, I could get my “fix”, despite the surgery. My addiction also took on another dimension. I began to drink and drink a lot. Needless to say that fast forward 7 years later and you find me miserable again, having gained back 150 of those misplaced pounds. There I was, lonely, fat and despondent.
Then one evening, I found myself laying drunk in my driveway after haven fallen getting out of a friend’s car. I sat there in the blowing snow for more than an hour, while my friend tried diligently to get me up and in the house. Apparently she succeeded. I awoke the next morning lying on my living room floor with a severe hangover and a shattered wrist. And there you have it. My absolute rock bottom. It was at that very moment that I had an epiphany! A light went off in my head and I made up my mind to do something drastic that afternoon. I quit drinking right then and there (it’s been over 3 years now). I walked into my first Weight Watchers meeting that night and eventually, went on to lose all the weight I had regained, only this time doing it the healthy way. Realizing that my overeating and drinking issues had to be the result of other underlying problems, I went for some counseling to help me get to the root of my addictions. That woman literally saved my life.
This Tuesday, my leader presented me with a bouquet of flowers and the class applauded me for the new blog and the honesty of my writing. I weighed in at 297 pounds that day…the smallest I have been in 25 years. Some may laugh at me for being proud of that number. I am probably still bigger still than most of you will ever be. However, walking out of that weight watchers meeting carrying those flowers, I felt like a Miss America as I sauntered down that sidewalk. The difference was not just the weight loss but the hope and confidence I felt at that moment. I knew that I would one day reach my destination. Your weight is a frame of mind. Dwelling on a single weigh-in can make or break your program. Appreciate the little losses because believe me, in time…they add up! It will be a while before I reach my “Goal Weight”. It won’t be today and it won’t be tomorrow. I realize this, I accept it and that’s ok. I will get there and get healthy in the process. Surgery is only a short term solution to a lifelong problem. Take it from me. I know.
Fondly, Alana Marie




  1. Donna says:

    Your determination and your outlook on life are incredible. You have your life back! 528 to 297 wow! You are Miss America! Congratulations. The flowers and surprise are as beautiful as you are.

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