In the following interview, Melanie, grand prize winner of our Weight Loss Success Story Contest, shares her personal weight loss tips, what keeps her motivated and inspired, as well as advice for others considering bariatric and plastic surgery in Mexico.
What advice do you have for others considering Weight Loss Surgeries?
Do your homework. Get involved in websites like ObesityHelp.com or LapBandTalk.com. Seeing before and after pictures, asking questions… No matter what surgery you chose, or where you decide to go…Come to your own conclusions about what is right for you.
Best advice I can give… Surgery is NOT a quick fix. The Lap-Band is a TOOL to help you to achieve the weight loss needed in order to make great changes in your life. If you don’t make the changes in your eating habits, or exercise habits, nothing is going to change for you… you have to WANT this to make it work for you…I can’t say enough about how much love I have for Dr. Gonzalez. He gave my life back to me. He gave me the TOOL that I needed to help me to be where I am today.
What is your favorite way to exercise?
My favorite thing to do now is Yoga. I feel so great & strong afterwards. But, My new passion has become running. I used to tell my hubby that I wish that I could be “one of those people that just RUNS!” And he would say, YOU CAN BE! Now I am proud to say that I AM!
Do you have any special “Tips” or recommendations to help others “keep the weight off”?
Persistence. Perseverance. Support. These things I cannot stress enough. If you want it bad enough- DO IT!
Put tips on your Fridge, like the “OLD” you pics, and “NEW” you pics. It helps to see where you were before, and how far you have come. Then it reminds you of where you want to be.
Drink lots of water. Often we mistake hunger for thirst. I drink a big glass of water water while I am preparing food, then I wont be so tempted to TASTE everything… also, once you start eating, DON’T drink anything. You will FEEL fuller.
Can you describe your plastic surgery experience in Mexico? Were you scared?
Well, I have been Going to Mexico since 2006. I had my Lap-Band surgery in January 2007, (at CosMed, in Mexico). I was very timid about going. My first surgery, I didn’t tell my family, because I didn’t want them to worry. A few friends knew, but none had discouraged me from going. I think they knew that I needed this. I told everyone afterwards.
For my second surgery I was PROUD to say that I was going! And they all know that my Lower Body Lift will be there as well!! At first we never drove in always parked, walked across, & took a Taxi, we did all the things we were SUPPOSED to when going to Mexico. Going to a different country is always a bit scary, and with the media portraying all the horror stories, it can be unnerving… but I have not ONCE witnessed ANYTHING that would scare me away from going again. Things happen in the US as well as all over the world! If we live our lives scared we will never accomplish anything. We now drive into Mexico & stay in the Hotels there, sightsee… it has been so WONDERFUL to see the beauty that Mexico has to offer! AND I can’t wait to wear a BIKINI, while I am lying in the sun on a sandy beach in Mexico (someday soon)!
My Lap-Band surgery was so great. Dr. Gonzalez was THE BEST! I had to go to the restroom, and I asked for a nurse, and he said “we don’t need I nurse when I am right here!” he proceeded to walk me to the bathroom, wait outside, and walk be back to bed & got me settled. Now I have had other surgeries in the U.S., and I have worked with many doctors, but I have NEVER, EVER experienced bed side manors like that from a doctor! My second surgery at CosMed, was with Dr. Quiroz, and AGAIN, BY FAR the BEST DOCTOR! He took his time to answer any questions that we had, patiently explained everything in “layman terms” so that we felt comfortable with proceeding. After my surgery I had a concern, and Dr. Quiroz HIMSELF called me!! I was FLOORED! I have so much respect & admiration for someone, as busy as a surgeon, who takes the time to call his patients PERSONALLY!
My husband & I have no real desire to go anywhere but Mexico for surgery. The doctors here in the US often dismiss your concerns, or just quickly see you, medicate you, & send you on your way. It is often controlled by insurance, instead of actually caring for the patients.
Who has been your biggest inspiration or motivator and why?
My husband and my kids have been HUGE in my success. If it weren’t for them always saying YOU CAN DO IT, BABE, or I BELIEVE IN YOU,MOM, or I AM SO PROUD OF YOU, It would have been a lot harder. I would have made it, but it would have taken longer! Also, More recently, The wonderful friends that I have made thru CosMed (who have become like family to me), have been SUCH a wonderful source of inspiration! We encourage each other, listen to each other, motivate each other. We need a good support system, whether it is in the form of family, friends, or sometimes strangers… we need them to keep pushing us.
Do you have a funny or inspiration story you’d like to share about your transformation? (for example, was there a friend who didn’t recognize you? Or a new activity you started recently that you couldn’t have done before?)
Oh my gosh! I am ALWAYS getting that these days! But most recently I was taking my dog for a run, and as I was walking to warm up, I said HI to my NEIGHBOR (who I have known since I was in high school & I even BABYSAT HER KIDS!!) she looked at me funny, And I was like, whats wrong? She said OH MY! I didn’t know who you were- YOU LOOK AMAZING!!!!! lol!
There have been so many times that people don’t recognize me.
But as for inspiration, I was at the gym one day, and a trainer walked up to me, and said, I see you in here almost every day. I thought I would talk to you, but I don’t want to disrupt your workout. I said, Ok, so we talk while I am working out…. He asked me what got me to the gym… I pulled out my phone and showed him the OLD me… he was stunned, to say the least, I proceeded to tell him my story… he said, stay right there… went to get his client that he had been working with, and said to me… show her your picture, & tell her what you told me. The woman started crying, I got off the machine & hugged her… and told her… you can DO this… it is the FIRST STEP to a new you! She said she has a renewed faith that she can do this…
If I can help only one person with my story, then it is WORTH IT!
Most recently I started Running. My new GOAL is to RUN a half MARATHON before I am 40.
I. WILL. MAKE. IT. Without a doubt in my mind.
Is there anything else you’d like to share at this time?
I have overcome many obstacles , if I can do this, so can you! You’re life is what you make of it. I am going to make mine a success. I invite everyone to join me on my journey. Like I said, If my story helps, even just one person… then it is all worth it!
Make the change that you want to be! Take the first step. Clean out the fridge and start eating clean. Become knowledgeable about nutrition. Exercise…
But MOST IMPORTANTLY,When we are overweight, by far, the hardest lesson that we all have to learn, is to LOVE YOURSELF. And I have learned to do JUST that! It is ok, if you mess up, every day is a new day. START OVER, don’t beat yourself up over it. Get up, dust yourself off, and start over again!
*Stay tuned as Melanie continues her journey with the help of COSMED Plastic Surgery Center and VIDA Wellness & Beauty Institute.