Half the Woman She Used To Be

Lisa Lucchese is 135 pounds. Five years ago, she weighed 285.

She had her weight-loss surgery on Sept. 11, 2007. Last weekend, she went sky-diving. “It was awesome,” she says. She’s been ziplining, too.

Lisa is a nurse. She co-leads a support group for people who have undergone weight-loss surgery. We’re delighted she has agreed to share some of her experiences and tips here:

“My weight had been up and down my whole life. I started my first formal diet in the sixth grade. At first, I would lose and gain 15 pounds. Then, as I got older and had my children, I would gain and lose 50 pounds, then 75, then 100. It was a vicious circle that kept getting worse.

“When I reached 285 pounds, I decided to have the surgery, My husband said it was voluntary. To me. it wasn’t. It had to be done, or I wasn’t going to live a long and happy life.”

It’s been almost five years since your weight-loss surgery, does it get easier to keep the weight off?

“Over time, it’s gets easier, and it gets harder. Some people do put weight on, because over time, your body compensates to the surgery. But I truly feel that if you learn the rules at the beginning and follow them through, you will be successful.

“Yes, there are rules you need to follow after you have the surgery. It’s not like you can have the surgery and just go out there and eat anything you want. You have to adjust.

“There are still a few things I don’t do. I have not had any kind of sugar since my surgery. I don’t eat any kinds of candies, cakes or cookies. I do have carbohydrates. I will eat natural sugar — in a fruit. I feel like sugar is a drug to me. If I have it, I could go off the deep end. I’ve just learned to accept that. To me, it’s well worth it. I don’t miss it.

“It is a bit of an adjustment — always drinking your water, trying to follow the rules, making sure you’re taking your vitamins and supplements. I’m very diligent about this, because I want to be healthy. You just have to be sure you’re working the tools your doctor gave you to the best advantage. I think that’s how I’ve been so successful.

“For me, not eating sugar is not even an issue. It doesn’t faze me at all. Everything is sugar-free now. There are 4 million diabetics in the world. People ask, ‘How do you do that?’ It’s easy. I’m like a diabetic. I do not eat sugar. I will not have it.

“I’m not gaining weight, because I try to do what I learned. I think that’s key.

“I would tell anyone who just had the surgery that the tool is what they gave you with the surgery, and you have to use it and do what’s right and learn how to eat again.

“On a normal day, I eat cheese a lot, because it’s high in protein. For breakfast, I might have cheese and crackers, or scrambled eggs, or a supplement — a high-protein meal always.

“For lunch, some days I’ll eat a sandwich — or chili. I’m a big chili fan, especially since the surgery. It’s high-protein. Today at work, we had Mexican food, so I had a part of a burrito. I saved the rest for tomorrow.

“For dinner, last night we had barbeque, so I had steak, some corn and some salad.

“I try not to obsess over what I’m eating. In between, if I’m hungry, I’ll have a piece of cheese or a handful of almonds. There are a lot of high-protein, low-fat, low-carb snacks out there.

“I try not to graze all day. If I’m going to have a snack, I try to plan it and make it healthy.

“With my support group, we have a book, and people will bring it labels of items that they have come across that provide good ideas of what to eat. Through that, I’ve learned so much.”

Any bits of advice for those considering surgery?

“Listen to your doctor. Follow their rules. Know what they’re talking about. Support is the key to success. Attend your support group meetings. Ask questions. People who have the surgery and have been successful are willing to help — especially new people.

“If people could see my life today, they would know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

* * *

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to see one of our surgeons, call our office at (516) 616-5500 or fill out our contact form to start a conversation now.

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Half the Woman She Used To Be


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