Pounds Off and Miles On After Bariatric Surgery
After Lori DeMars had bariatric surgery, she named her tiny new stomach Beatrice, for her grandmother. When Lori was adjusting to her post-surgery diet, she’d make note of “Beatrice’s” likes and dislikes.
“My brother had cancer and I had to live with my grandmother while he was in treatment,” Lori recalls. “I was six years old and I would cry for my parents. So my grandma would give me food to make me feel better.”
“She took great care of me and she was doing what she knew how to do,” says Lori, who stresses she doesn’t hold any bad feeling toward her grandmother. “By the time my parents came home, I’d gained seven pounds. I stayed with her multiple times, and patterns were set that were hard to break.”
She struggled with her weight ever since, reaching a one-time peak of more than 350 pounds. Lori had been thinking about bariatric surgery for a while, and last fall she decided she was ready.
“I’ve been on high blood pressure medication for the past few years and my knees had just started to hurt,” says Lori, who’s also been on acid reflux medication for 20+ years. “I didn’t know how much longer I could go on without developing bigger health problems.”
She attended an information seminar with Dr. Daniel McKenna and immediately she knew she was ready.
“I knew. That was it. This is what I needed to do,” she says. “This is what I wanted to do.”
Going the Distance
Lori weighed in at 301 pounds on her surgery day in February. Just six months later, she’s dropped 63 pounds and shaved 11 points off her BMI. (Her target goal is 180.) Everyday tasks like tying her shoes, walking, and even breathing are easier.
“People used to comment about it on the phone. They thought I had just rushed in from somewhere because I sounded out of breath,” she says. “But no, I was just overweight.”
Lori didn’t wait long at all to get active after surgery. Just six weeks later, she partnered with a friend and began training to run a 5K.
“I never was a runner,” she said. “People told me I would be emotional at the finish line, but I still didn’t expect it. I cried. It was such a great moment.”
She had planned to run another 5K, but pulled a ham string. Since then, she’s walked two more and hopes to be running again as soon as she can.
“I can’t wait to get back to running. There’s nothing like it. Going from where I was to being able to move my body—it’s awesome!” she says.
Lighter and Brighter
Lori’s upbeat personality is evident, but she says her mood is even brighter since her weight loss surgery.
“It feels good to feel good,” she says. “Sometimes I actually feel beautiful, and I didn’t know what that felt like before. I’m happier inside and out.”
“Before surgery, people would ask if I was afraid to have the surgery,” she says. “My response was always, ‘Not at all. But I am afraid of my future if I don't.’"
Lori before and after surgery