PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

‘Determined to Succeed’ – Weight Loss Surgery Leads to New Life

Posted on Sep 19, 2012

Geri Kaialoa lost 100 pounds through weight loss surgery and discovering a love of running.

Three years ago Geri Kaialoa never would have thought of putting on a pair of running shoes. But at 252 pounds she knew she had to do something to change her life.

Kaialoa, now a vibrant 47-year-young mother and grandmother, had started piling on the weight 12 years ago, when her mom became very sick. The stress and worry over her mom’s health had driven Kaialoa to eating – far too much. Over the years she’d tried every possible diet and exercise regime without success. The excess weight was also taking its toll on her health.

“I had sleep apnea, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes and just felt terrible all the time,” says Kaialoa. “At 45 all I had to look forward to was a lifetime of popping pills for all my different health issues. It was time to take charge of my life – and health – and I determined that weight loss surgery was the way to accomplish this.”

In December 2008, after the required nutritional and psychological counseling, Kaialoa had Roux-en Y gastric bypass surgery performed by PAMF weight loss specialists.

This procedure is named after the Swiss surgeon who developed the technique of joining the stomach pouch to the small intestine and creating a “Y” shaped intestinal junction. Roux-en Y gastric bypass surgery reduces the size of the stomach, severely restricting the amount of food you can consume. The procedure is not reversible.

The surgery was only the very beginning of the challenging road to a healthy weight. Kaialoa understood that the only way she’d be successful was by rigorously following a restricted diet and exercising daily.

“I was absolutely determined to succeed,” says Kaialoa. “After surgery you start with liquids, followed by only being able eat the tiniest spoonfuls of food. You have to eat very slowly and think about every single thing you eat. That mindfulness needs to stay with you at every single meal – for the rest of your life. It’s like being a recovering alcoholic.”

Patients like Kaialoa, who undergo bariatric surgery, require life-long, regular follow up care to ensure that healthy vitamin, mineral and hormone levels are maintained.

Exercising regularly is another critical component of successfully losing weight after bariatric surgery. Kaialoa started by taking increasingly longer walks every day. When a colleague suggested she take up running, she was skeptical at first.

“I’d never run in my life but now I love it and run every day,” says Kaialoa. “I’ve also discovered it’s the fastest way to lose weight!”

Kaialoa’s determined efforts paid off. After eight months, she had shed an impressive 100 pounds. Today, Kaialoa is a trim and healthy 147 pounds.

“I feel fantastic now,” says Kaialoa. “I have none of the health issues I had previously, am active and love life. Weight loss surgery has helped me get back my life – and health.”