It was time for a lifestyle change. “I was very very heavy, 367 pounds,” says Toya Mitchell.
In her mid-40’s Toya was experiencing the issues of being “morbidly obese” and her condition was only getting worse. She began having trouble with her mobility, which made it a challenge to even consider the possibility of losing weight.
Growing up, she recalled not having many choices when it came to the food, which affected how her eating habits formed.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is Feb. 25 – March 3, 2019, calling for the intensified attention toward the stories similar to that of Toya.
Photo by Citlaly Carlos/Coyote Chronicle
Bryan Beal, Health and Wellness Coach of Pro Sport: Sports Performance and Therapy Center, was raised opposite of Toya, in that his parents instilled healthy habits in him, “I want to thank my parents for teaching me healthy and mindful eating, if it were not for them, I would not be as health conscious as I am today,” says Bryan.
Nowadays schools are stressing the importance of teaching healthy habits. The Campus of CSUSB has made great strides in promoting health and wellness to its students and staff.
Not only is there a full-service gym on the school grounds, but the school also offers incentives to students to participate in wellness activities about the campus. They are even giving out Fitbits to students and staff for a walking challenge.
As a student ToyaMitchell was not fortunate enough to attend a school that promotes the wellness of its students. Instead as an adult, she resorted to fad diets, “If there was a diet, I tried it, Weight Watchers, low carb, no carb, meal replacements, military diet, I have done them all. They worked but as soon as I stopped, I gained the weight right back and then more.”
After many failed attempts at different diet plans, Toya underwent Verticle Sleeve Gastrectomy and lost over 100 pounds. What was once a taboo procedure, but now has become the popular treatment for obesity, bariatric surgery.
She was desperate to lose the weight and with the procedure, she was guaranteed to drop all if not most of her excess weight. Bariatric patients on average lose 75-150 pounds within the first year post surgery. As high as 50% of those patient’s re-gain a small portion of that weight back.
Although there were side-effects of the procedure, she still went through with it. At that point, the side effects of the procedure out weighted the complications she was already having due to being obese. She was also facing a higher risk of complications on the operating table as well as death because her overall health was so poor.
“I really wanted to do this for my family, but most of all my son. I wanted to be there for him and any possible grandchildren I may have in the future,” said Toya. She wanted to set an example for her son and encourage him to be healthier.
When Johnathan saw his mother struggling to gain back her mobility and change her eating habits. He made a promise to himself to leave the unhealthy snacks alone.
Like Johnathan, CSUSB has done away with a large portion of their unhealthy options and have replaced those with better options for those on the campus. Take a look in the vending machines and there are now better options such as nuts, high protein snacks, sugar-free drinks, and even more flavored water options.
Toya knew in order to change her life, she had to do something life-changing. It was important for her to look at this procedure as not only a means of changing her diet, but she had to change her whole lifestyle, ranging from her food choices down to her mindset.
Although the procedure results in dramatic weight loss, the surgery does not correct the bad habits learned and practiced over time. The change in life habits still must be made in order for it to be long term successful.
Once Toya had the surgery and she began to realize why there was a difference in the use of diet versus lifestyle change. Diets have a beginning and an end, but lifestyles do not, they are continuous.
Toya Mitchell has successfully lost over 150 pounds and continues to keep up with her health. Her son Johnathan Mitchell has also lost a total of 75 pounds and now enjoys being active on a consistent basis.
This mother and son not only regained their health but they also “regained a new life.”