Soon after my surgery, I quickly realized that I could find no one that makes food specifically for bariatric patients. In the rare occasion I did find meals, they did not taste very well up to my standards. When I researched for bariatric foods, I just found a lot of powdered and processed foods that would give me the protein that I needed, but this did not meet my requirement to want to eat healthy fresh foods with variety. With my busy schedule, it was hard to find the time to meal prep at home.
For someone that has been in the food business for over 30 years, and now, being a bariatric patient, I was concerned that I was not going to get the proper daily protein that I needed. I also knew I was going to get bored with the offerings available, plus risk putting back on the weight. Before, I was living to eat, now I must eat to live.
I met with my bariatric surgeon and pitched the idea of starting a company focusing on bariatric patients. I told him with the 3-month mandatory nutrition classes that we had to take; I was amazed that quite a few in the class did not know how to cook.
So, I started to form Barimeals and make my own meals. I was amazed at the energy that I had, and the weight came off consistently at a normal pace. I am 52 years old and looked it before the surgery. Now, I eat the same food I will sell through Barimeals, take my vitamins daily, drink a protein shake or two a day, drink plenty of water and exercise at least 3-4 days per week. I have been told I now look like I am in my 40’s. Who wouldn’t want to look 10 years younger!
The Start of My Journey
As a kid, I was very active and enjoyed the outdoors quite a bit. I was fit and trim as a child. When I started high school, that is when my body weight started to become out of proportion. I did not consider me being overweight, but evidently those around me did. During my young adulthood getting ready to graduate high school and start college, I was back to being trim again.
It was not until my early 20’s that I started to put the weight on due to “life” and children coming on the scene. For the next 30 years, my weight literally spiraled out of control. During the course of those 30 years, I experienced two failed marriages. At 25, I found myself as a single dad raising an 8-month-old daughter, a 2-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son for the next 2 ½ years until I remarried.
Then, 11 years later, I was a single dad again, now raising 4 daughters and 1 son, 3 of which were teenagers. It was at that point I began to take a hard look at myself and my life. What happened? What went wrong? What is wrong with me?
I decided to go back to school and get a BS degree in Psychology and then I pursued my master’s degree in human services. During this time, I started a business and tried every diet and exercise trick I could to lose weight, but to no avail. I began to question as to why my life was the way it was.
During this whole process, I came to realize, I was an emotional eater. One day, I came to accept that this weight had control and had affected six areas of my life. My weight affected me emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, physically, and professionally. This was a huge eye opener for me. My businesses began to grow, and I physically could not keep up with the demands of the business due to my weight. I remember losing a very important piece of business because I was not physically able to be involved like I wanted to be. It was as if my weight was holding me prisoner. I began to depend on people to do everything for me that I physically could not, it was sad. I knew I had to change.
By the summer of 2017, I went on a vigorous exercise and eating regimen. I only lost 20 pounds. Then, in October 2017, I went to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack. As I laid in the emergency room, I said to myself, this must stop. I cannot continue to keep carrying this weight. I remember going home and researching Bariatric Surgery.
I made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon and we settled on the sleeve surgery. During the weigh in, I was 499 pounds. I then started the four-month journey to get ready for surgery in February 2018. Knowing I was going to have this surgery done, I put on a little more weight knowing I was going to have 80% of my stomach taken out and I wanted to enjoy all I could, before I could no longer! (though I do not recommend anyone doing this). In January 2018, I weighed in at 514 pounds. Now, it was crunch time to get ready for surgery, and the six-week liquid diet administered by my surgeon began.
In the end, I am the healthiest and strongest that I have ever been in years. Those six areas that the weight had control of, are no longer. I am active, involved and engaged in all that I do. I have lost over 130 pounds since March 2018 which means I am at the half-way mark to where I want to be. Life is once good again, and I am happy!