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Patient Spotlight: Marie Leyva

marie-minIn 2014, Marie Leyva had the sleeve gastrectomy with Dr. Korman.  Her starting weight was 284 pounds and today, nearly 4 years later, Marie is maintaining a healthy weight of 170 pounds!

Despite taking medications for several weight-related illnesses, including diabetes, Marie debated having weight loss surgery for eight years.  It took a tragic loss to motivate her to finally change her life and today Marie is thriving.

Tell us about your biggest success thus far?

My biggest success thus far is being off all my former medications for diabetes, cholesterol, and hypertension. My other big success is the loss of over 100 pounds.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is drinking my 64 ounces of water daily. I love coffee and would prefer to drink coffee instead of water. I use the powder vitamins so that forces me to drink my Vitamins in a big 40 ounce mug and then I just drink three additional glasses of water. I try to make life easy.

What is your motivation for continued change?

My motivation for continued change is that I don’t want to need medications. I don’t want to have complications from medications or diabetes. My friend suffered many complications by not being able to control her diabetes including kidney failure (dialysis), loss of leg, and then death. That same month of her death was when I finally decided to make a change. I had debated having the surgery for eight years.  Being able to walk again and wear clothes in a regular department always keeps me motivated. Hearing my grandchildren say, “Nana, now you can walk faster than me.” That is what keeps a smile on my face; to be able to walk with them at the park and Disneyland without having to stop every other step.

What is your favorite quick, go-to healthy meal?

I try to eat simple and natural. I think of food as nourishment rather than pleasure. I usually have a salad, a cooked vegetable, and a protein.  When I need  something quick I always keep Fage Greek yogurt and cottage cheese in my refrigerator. So I’ll Make Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh fruit with walnuts sprinkled on top. Having been diabetic, I have eliminated white flour, bread, rice, and potatoes from of my diet. I occasionally have corn or a sweet potato, but I’ve learned to make foods using almond flour and riced cauliflower. I’ve become creative at making healthy meals.

What advice would you give to those considering weight loss surgery?

I would say that this surgery is a tool to help you CHANGE the way you ate before – eating slower, drinking more water, eating more protein, eating less, and making healthy choices. You must be ready to make those changes. The surgery helps you adopt new, good habits. You CANNOT do what you did before and expect positive results.

What is the craziest diet you tried prior to surgery?

I think my craziest was Fen-Phen shots and pills. They made me feel so nervous and once I stopped, I gained all the weight back plus more. Another crazy weight loss plan was being wrapped and shaken by a machine. They would measure you after and actually tell you the number of inches lost. CRAZY!!!

What was the best/worst advice you ever received about dieting?

Best: Drink water. When you feel hungry, drink water first because sometimes your body is craving water. If you’re still hungry, eat something healthy. Another piece of great advice was “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!”

What would you tell your former self now if you could?

You can have a better quality of life with the help of this surgery. Do it for your health. You will feel like a new person. You will be able to do the things you used to do.