Rebecca Mackey had always been big. She was an “emotional eater” and started gaining the weight after high school. The pounds crept up on her until she weighed 298 pounds, had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 47 and wore a size 26-28.
“I tried to exercise, but exercise physically hurts when you’re that big. I ached all the time. I was tired all the time. I couldn’t walk very far. I had sleep apnea, too, and was well on my way to diabetes.”
Rebecca’s problems were common. More than four million people in the United States are more than 100 pounds overweight – considered “morbidly obese.” Other health problems generally accompany the weight: heart disease, type II diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, gastroesophageal reflux, incontinence, arthritis, infertility and some cancers.
At first, Rebecca researched weight-loss surgery for her husband, who was overweight with type II diabetes. She discovered bariatric surgery, which includes various surgical procedures that restrict the amount of food a person can consume – or reduce the number of calories absorbed. Bariatric surgery isn’t a quick fix, but it is a means to promote and maintain permanent weight loss and reduce weight-related health risks.
Rebecca had gastric bypass surgery and has never looked back. She is down to 137 pounds, with a BMI of 24.6 and wears a size 6. She is starting a new chapter. “I can exercise more – without hurting. I have to eat foods that are low carb, low sugar, low fat – and my diet is helping my husband, too.”
That’s not even the best thing. Before Rebecca’s surgery, she had three miscarriages, which her doctors attributed to obesity. The babies just weren’t getting enough nutrients. She was recently given the go-ahead to start having babies.
“I was so excited,” she says. “I am so happy I gave this gift to myself!”