Many of our life-long habits start in childhood, whether it’s playing soccer or celebrating an achievement by pigging out. On those occasions, most people taper off after a while, then spend some extra time exercising and eating salads as a sort of penance for their gluttony.
Unfortunately, Kimberly Robinette wasn’t one of those people. She came from a happy home where every victory and milestone was celebrated with cakes, pastries and other sweets, which made her associate food with good times and happy memories.
By the time she was 12 years old, her weight was out of control, and she was shopping in the plus-size section. Those days were rough on the adolescent.
And in the 90s, plus size clothes were rather matronly. I remember, eyes full of tears, leaving the store, empty handed because I couldn’t find any fashionable clothes to fit me.
Shopping in the plus-size section continued throughout her adolescence and teenage years. In the high school graduation picture above, taken in 2002, Kimberly estimates she weighed around 250 lbs. By the time she married three years later, she’d gained 25 more pounds, which was dangerously close to the 300 lb. mark that she swore she’d never see.
After having her first child, she jointed a weight loss center and lost 50 lbs. in six months. But soon after gained it all back after slipping back into her old habits. Her second pregnancy brought even more weight gain, but that was nothing compared to the devastating news she received two years later.
Kimberly was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. She was prescribed prednisone to get the condition under control, and only five years later switched to a different medication that finally put the condition into remission.
But by that time, the prednisone had taken its toll on her body: Tipping the scales at 355 lbs., she became depressed and isolated, even shying away from the celebratory gatherings (which, of course, included food) that she’d once so thoroughly enjoyed.
My oldest son once declined my offer to eat lunch at school with him because he was afraid his friends would make fun of me. That hurt. My own children were ashamed of me. I couldn’t imagine what my children’s lives would be like without me. Would I ever see them get married? What if I never get to meet my grandchildren?
There’s nothing like your child’s embarrassment, to make you take a look at your habits.
Up until then, she thought she’d “never take the easy way out by having weight loss surgery,” but after discussing it with her family, she met with a bariatric surgeon in early 2016. Yes, there were risks, he told her, but her risk of dying from morbid obesity was much high than surgery complications.
The procedure, a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, involved removing 80% of her stomach, and despite misgivings, she set up an appointment for June.
In June of 2016 I went under the knife. The day of surgery I weighed 332 pounds. The recovery was a little challenging however I was back at work within two weeks. Learning how to eat all over again was probably the biggest challenge.
As I began to shed the pounds, I began to experience things I had not experienced in years. I could sit in a booth at restaurants. I could comfortably fasten a seatbelt. A pair of pants that wouldn’t fit one month were suddenly too big the next month. I was excited! Filled with hope! Not only was the surgery successful, but the hard work I was putting into my diet and exercise were paying off!
Now, two years post-surgery, Kimberly weighs 193 lbs. Those extra 162 lbs., that life-threatening baggage that had caused so much embarrassment for her children, were gone for good. Not only can she now enjoy time with her children, but she has more energy and confidence.
Many believe gastric surgery is “taking the easy way out”, but the procedure gave this mom a head start toward meeting a goal she attempted but couldn’t achieve on her own.
Kimberly still has to watch what she eats and make sure she doesn’t fall back into her bad habits, and no one else can do that for her: It’s all on Kimberly. By changing her diet to include healthier choices and regularly exercising, she’s keeping her end of the bargain.
If your house was on fire would you take the most difficult way out, or would you also take the easy way out? … If I can do it, so can you. You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.
Kimberly should be commended for making a gutsy decision, one that probably saved her life and ensured many more years of happy family gatherings and cherished memories. Share her story to help inspire someone else today!