Losing more than weight with bariatric surgery

06.12.2019

The road to weight loss transformation is rarely a direct path. It’s filled with many starting points and stops, unforeseen hurdles and plenty of changes in direction.

Sunshine Stambaugh’s journey had been no different. She had set out on her own to lose weight several times and succeeded. She just couldn't keep it off.

“I would always gain back what I had lost and more,” said Sunshine.

Daily pain, lack of energy, high blood pressure and signs of diabetes drove Sunshine to look for a different path. She chose bariatric surgery at Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction.

“I wanted to become healthy and have a better quality of life,” she said. “And I needed to find a way to keep the weight off long-term.”

When weight holds you back from life’s enjoyments

Sunshine has struggled with her weight since she was about 6 years old. By the time she was 42, she weighed over 325 pounds.

“I had pain pretty much from head to toe, all day, every day,” she said. She had little to no energy and took medication for high blood pressure. With a family history of diabetes and blood sugar levels edging toward the danger zone, she wasn’t surprised when her doctor was ready to put her on more medication.

Preparing for life-changing surgery

Bariatric surgery offers a long-term solution for patients who have been unsuccessful with traditional methods of weight loss. It’s also a big decision. That’s why experts at Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction take time to prepare patients mentally, emotionally and physically for life after surgery.

“We want to make sure patients are fully educated about their options before they commit to surgery,” said Kathy Meier, Nurse Practitioner Bariatrics Program Coordinator. “It’s truly life-changing, and they need to understand what that means.”

Counselors helped Sunshine understand how surgery alters many aspects of life. A dietitian introduced her to healthy eating habits she would need to control intake and help her body better process food. Personal trainers talked with Sunshine about realistic exercise goals to help her regain energy, strength and stamina. Her doctor explained how laparoscopic surgery works and what to expect during recovery.

“Each member of the team has played a different yet significant role in my journey,” she said. “I look forward to my visits there and always leave feeling encouraged and empowered. They want you to succeed!”

Sunshine also praises her family and friends, especially ones who have known how much she’s struggled for years.

“They have prayed over me, checked on me, called me. They are always there for me,” she said.

Turning the corner on a lifelong journey with weight loss

A year and a half into her new life, Stambaugh met her goal weight, losing 175 pounds. Skin removal surgery has helped reduce some of the lingering effects of her sizable weight loss. Sunshine also is off blood pressure medicine. Her blood sugar is normal. And she does not have the pain she once had.

“I feel amazing and can do so much more,” Sunshine explained. “My energy level is great.”

Taking an open and honest approach to transformation

When Sunshine started her journey at Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction, she decided she needed to be completely open and honest about her journey.

When Sunshine started her journey at Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction, she decided she needed to be completely open and honest about her journey.

“If I'm honest with others about all I'm going through, it's going to hold me accountable for my actions, habits and attitude,” she said.

She also hopes she can help others by being open about the ups and downs of her journey.

“It’s a hard road,” she said. “But it’s so worth it!”

Tips for lifelong weight loss journey

Sunshine is traveling through life faster, stronger, healthier and happier. Now she wants to pass on some of what she has learned during her journey. Top on her list: Never give up.

Remind yourself why you decided to start the journey. “You will become frustrated at times,” she says. “Press on and stay the course.”

Ask questions. This is your life and your health. Know what to expect, how it will affect you, and how to handle changes in the best way possible.

Reach out to those who support you. Never be afraid to lean on them for advice, encouragement, prayer – whatever you need to get you through the tough
moments.