Back in the Saddle after Weight Loss Surgery

When she saw her July 2012 vacation picture, Melissa Staud of Harwood knew she had to make a change for the better. She weighed 275 pounds and knew she needed to lose weight to improve her life and her health.

“I honestly tried on my own to lose weight, but I wasn’t successful no matter what I tried, even Weight Watchers and working out at the gym,” says the 34-year-old. “For me, the problem was portion control, and I also made bad food choices. After vacation, I looked into weight loss surgery and decided it was a good option for me.”

In January 2013, Melissa had gastric sleeve surgery, in which a portion of her stomach was removed.

The surgery opened a whole new world for Melissa, who acknowledges that people used to treat her differently. “I don’t get stares anymore, and I like the way I look. Now I can bend over, tie my shoes, actually get boots on, and buy clothes from a store.” She’s thrilled to take longer horseback rides and ride smaller horses. “Horses are my passion,” she says.

She expected to lose about 50 to 60 percent of her excess weight after the surgery and was pleasantly surprised. “Thanks to the surgery, my complete lifestyle change and formation of new habits, I have surpassed those average numbers and have lost nearly 90 percent of the excess weight,” she says. Not only that, she also eliminated her high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

The change required a lifetime commitment to new eating habits. “I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets and restocked with healthy items. I only drink water and decaf unsweetened tea. I’ve learned to snack on fruits and vegetables, use spices to flavor foods [instead of salt], and eat correct portions.”

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