Since surgery, I have lost 85 pounds. Yet, I have gained more in my life. I have a new lease on life, kids that love to play with me but most importantly, self-confidence.

As a child I was pudgy. All my life I have known no other way to be other than a little overweight. You know the fat kid that always gets picked last, laughed at, and made fun of. I certainly had friends. I was funny. I had a great family. People liked me if they knew me. I could always be funny even if I was fat.

Welcome, High School. It didn't help that my height (6 feet) added to my problem. I was overweight AND tall. Geez. Never had a boyfriend, and people told me that If I could just lose weight, I would be so pretty. I never quite understood that.

Welcome, Senior Year. Guess what. I figured out how to starve myself. This lasted into college. Guess what. I was pretty, pretty hungry ALL the time. Boyfriends, yes, but I couldn't eat around them! I just stopped eating. Or better yet, took laxatives to get rid of what I did eat. I didn't have the understanding or the "tool" to help me fight back. Once in college, I did take many nutrition courses for my degree. This did help in my understanding of how to control my weight and learn to eat healthily. I even gave out advice when asked about how to eat healthily. I thought with my new found knowledge of nutrition I had the "tool" to fight back.

Welcome Married Life. Well, I looked good for a while. Tried hard to eat right. I gained a few pounds, joined a gym. I had lots of friends, a new life, a new home.

Welcome Pregnancy! Guess what. I was hungry! I decided it was best for the baby to eat. So I did. Then I got pregnant again, and again. After 3 babies and raising 3 babies as a stay at home mom I was fat... again. I had somewhere in the midst of the chaos lost my knowledge of how to eat healthily and my "tool" to dieting was anything and everything out there. Fad diets, diet pills, trying to walk while pushing a stroller and 75 extra pounds on me.

Welcome, Wake Up Call. I can't do this on my own. Every day was a new way, a new diet. And every night was going to bed crying and believing that I'd start over in the morning. I'd lost my motivation, my way, and my direction. I had 3 beautiful kids I adored, but the most I wanted to do was direct them from a chair and forget playing on the floor with them, that was too much work. GO outside? No way. I'll watch from the window. My kids are so super active. I wanted to be a part of the fun. I wanted to be "pretty" and "college skinny" again.

Welcome, Lap-Band. Finally, a "tool" to allow me to try again.  My sister went through the process and I decided I was too. On my own, I went to meetings, doctor appointments, nutritional support, and support groups. I waited on the edge of my seat for months to get the call that my surgery was scheduled. I did everything the doctor said, followed the low carb diet and prepared my mind for what was to come. A new life and a new way- a new ME! I was so ready!  A one track mind on how wonderful life was going to be from here on out!!

Welcome BACK! After surgery, I have felt so amazing. I have the power to stop eating. Finally, a "tool" to support my knowledge, to support me and remind me why I love life. Everyday It is with me. I take it everywhere I go. Most people don't even know it is there. If they know me well, they do. If they don't know me, they'll never know.

Since surgery, I have lost 85 pounds.  Yet, I have gained more in my life. I have a new lease on life, kids that love to play with me but most importantly, self-confidence. I can walk into any room today and feel good about myself and be proud of who I am. I finally have the "tool" in life that allows me to be free of restrictions on who I want to be. My band is the best thing that has happened to me. I can say without hesitation that it can do the same for others. Food once controlled who and what I was as a person. 

Now, I am in control.
joanne wuneburger

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