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The Taste of Success

Sharing real stories


If you would like to share your story, send it to vitaguy@vitalady.com

Charles & I (Leah) 

began looking into weight loss surgery separately and with out telling the other. I had reached the point where I just knew this was what I needed and wanted to do in order to get my life back. I was 302lbs and 5’6” tall and was just existing, not living my life – and I was only 32 years old. I sat down with Charles one night (September 2003) and told him that I wanted to see about having gastric bypass surgery. Charles response was not only supportive, but he indicated that he had been thinking about the same thing and wanted to have the surgery also. His weight had crept up to 332lbs on his 6’0” frame. Our journey with weight loss surgery began together.

Through many resources on the web and the local support group, we wound our way through the maze of getting approved, completing the necessary paperwork, educating ourselves about the required protein and supplements, and dealing with the myriad of emotions that go hand-in-hand with choosing to have this surgery. We choose Dr. Oh (Federal Way, WA) as our surgeon. Finally our surgery dates were set; mine for March 30, 2004 and Charles’ for April 6, 2004. I was having my surgery first by design. I was terrified for Charles to have this surgery – and if something were to happen to him – I was afraid that I wouldn’t follow through. We are very thankful that surgery and recovery went very smoothly.

To date (February 2005) I’ve lost 135lbs. I’ve gone from a tight 24W to size 10 pants. My shirts were 2x-3x and I’m now wearing a size Large. My energy level is fantastic – no longer feel the need to collapse after a day at work. The constant back and knee pain I experienced before surgery is virtually gone. I also no longer suffer from migraine headaches.

Charles has lost 145lbs and has just about stabilized. He went from a 56” waist pant to a 36”. His shirts were size 3x – now he is in Mediums. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea prior to surgery – now there are no issues for him and he is thankfully sleeping well each night. He too has amazing levels of energy and his constant aches and pains have subsided.

We’ve never once hit a true plateau. I know this because we not only tracked our weight, but also our measurements. During months that I may not have had as big of a weight loss as I would have liked, my inches would show me that I was still shrinking overall. We faithfully take our vitamin supplements and the protein shakes each day. Once cleared by our surgeon, we joined the local health club and have made it part of our routine. We workout at least 3 days a week with some form of cardio exercise and do weight training 2 days a week. Variety has been key in keeping us motivated (swimming, walking, elliptical, rock climbing) – basically whatever gets us moving.

We attribute our great success to the supplements coupled with the exercise. We also believe we have been successful due to being a couple. Food temptations are always around us – but never at home since we are on the same eating plan. We are able to motivate and encourage each other while doing our best to not become the food police. We made sure from the start to share in the other’s victories as we knew our weight loss would happen at different rates. Finally, one of the best rewards has been the confidence to know that this is not temporary for us – but rather the complete lifestyle change we were seeking.


was at the end of my rope last May 2002. That is when my journey with WLS started. I started to became familiar with protein supplements and vitamins while waiting for my Open Proximal RNY approval. My surgery took place October 7, 2002.

Up until that point a daily multi vitamin was all I took with no real knowledge of what it did for me and my blood work was all over the place. Four months pre-op I started protein supplements and a good vitamin regimen to prepare myself for my new life which I was committed to forever and to be the best I could be.

I also became educated about what the benefits these vitamins and protein supplements had for me in nutrition pre-op and why they are so vital to good health and success as a post-op long term. My goal was to look healthy and not ashy, have good health, glowing skin, healthy hair, energy and good labs. I knew this could only be accomplished through good nutrition, appropriate for us post-ops.

I am very proud that today I am down 105lbs in 7 months. I have gone from a woman’s 26/28W jeans into a woman’s size 12. An XXXL top into a junior’s medium. I still have about 30 more pounds to lose but know that honestly in my heart that without proper protein supplements to help me through my liquid phase, munchie cravings, and to be my physical best, they are absolutely necessary, now and forever.

I still eat 4-5 small meals a day and have 3-4 ProScore 100 shakes with water daily. I take in over 64 oz of water, weight lift 3 times a week and do cardio 4 times a week and take all my vitamins faithfully. I have never, yet hit a plateau. I have a ton of energy and excellent blood work results again.

People, both Non-WLS patients and those who are, stop me all the time and ask me what I am doing because I look so healthy, have glowing skin and shiny hair. It is pretty simple, protein supplements and a good vitamin regimen with lots of water. The next question from people is, “How did you lose that amount of weigh so fast, since you are considered a lightweight?” Again good protein supplements, having a good post-op plan, shaped by those who are successful and reached goal before me. Also by staying committed and responsible to and for myself and to my goals.

Without Vitalady and her knowledge and passion to help those that follow in her foot steps, I would have not been so successful. She has taken time with me, since I was 4 months pre-op and has never once pushed her products on me. However, I stay true and committed to buying from her because she uses the products herself, has good blood work results from them and sells them at a fair price. Her knowledge to me is worth more than gold and she truly has helped me succeed not only in my weight loss but also in my goal to stay
healthy, look radiant and feel wonderful and have tons of energy.

I truly love my life everyday and will come out a winner against this disease.

UPDATE: December 2003 – Had my plastics and flew through it thanks to the protein shakes and vitamins along with being in good shape physically. It was a breeze compared to the RNY. I made goal and passed it. I am now 136lbs.


 February, 1999, I weighed 288 lbs. I was in constant pain with my back and fibromyalgia, for which I received 5 trigger point injections weekly. My asthma and bronchitis kept me from regular daily activities, let alone exercise. And my whole family has diabetes.As you can probably guess, I tried every diet in the world. Some let me lose, but they all let me gain it back and then some.

After 2 years of prayer, gaining weight while on my last diet, I decided to go to Dr. S Ross Fox and see about this Distal Gastric Bypass. I didn’t have insurance to cover the procedure, but as a hard working single mom, I figured I wouldn’t be around to enjoy my son or do ANY activities with him if I didn’t so something. So, I put my financial affairs in order and paid for it myself. I have not regretted it since.

I lost my weight fairly quickly and had a tummy tuck done November, 2001. Life is good.

I take the vitamins, minerals and faithfully take my protein shakes. My favorite is ProBlend 55 Mocha Cappuccino!

As you can see, I’m healthier. I have more energy and I sleep better. I have no more pain shots and 80% less back pain AND no sign of diabetes, to name a few improvements. I also have LOTS of fun with my son.



April 1, 1997 — That was my big day. The day I went into the hospital in Tacoma to have my open distal gastric bypass.

September 23, 2001 — Here I sit with direct orders to write this and not at all sure what the heck I should write. So I will ramble on a bit and see what happens.
Since the surgery I lost 140 lbs, which took about one year to lose. I weigh about 160 lbs now. I realize Dr. Fox thought I would probably lose more and I would weigh closer to 130, but I am very happy and comfortable with where I am. No, no tummy tuck yet. I will either have to save the money to have one, or hope that the insurance will change their minds and cover the procedure. Needless to say I am saving money.
My asthma medication has been cut by more than half, and it is now allergy related rather than fat related. My back, hips, knees, and feet are nearly pain free now. I still have osteoarthritis in my lower back — I will never be completely rid of that — but I can walk now, and I do, for miles. I always loved to walk, but because of my weight I just couldn’t. In fact, if I so desired, I could run now! Can you believe that?! Me… Running! I even tried it for a while, but found that running is just not my thing. The thing is that I was able to make that choice. I am not running because I don’t want to and not because I can’t! We do the Sound to Narrows walk/run every year now. I walk it while the husband runs it.
My husband and I have been taking trips to the Caribbean the last couple of years and have taken a cruise for the first time. I’ve even bought a two-piece swimsuit! First swimsuit I’ve owned in over twenty years and the first two-piece ever for me. Okay, so I tend to wear a T-shirt over it, but that’s because I sunburn so easily and not because I’m embarrassed. Oh man, I even learned to snorkle! What a blast!
Val, the hubby, and I have taken dance lessons. Swing and ballroom. That is sooo much fun and when I looked at the underwater pic Val took of me all I could think was “I don’t look like a whale!”
Anyway, things are going extremely well. My weight remains stable. I take my protein and vitamins, and drink plenty of liquids. I watch what I eat, try not to snack too much or graze, and I enjoy my meals — though I don’t necessarily enjoy cooking them. It’s funny, but we actually eat out more now than before. We either split a meal or bring home the leftovers. Gives me a couple days worth of lunches that way.
Now I don’t want you to think that I am Miss Perfect here. I still tend to overdo it when it comes to pizza and my biggest vise is having rum punches on Saturday night or a beer on a hot day. I love sugar-free cookies, but I don’t buy them too often because I tend to live on them and nothing else until they are gone. I don’t weigh myself unless I go to the doctor. I seem to obsess over my weight if I weigh myself at home. If I’ve lost a pound I’m on cloud nine, but if I’m up a pound I get depressed and impossible to live with. I find it’s better if I just avoid the scale at home unless there is a really good reason to get on it.
Yep, I’m happy, healthy, and more alive than ever! I love my life now. I must also mention my husband here. We will be married 20 years in October and Val has seen me big and not so big. He has been with me through the ups and downs. He has been the rock that steadies me when I doubt myself. Val was my support team after my WLS and a damn good jell-o maker. I don’t think I could have done this without him and I love him more than ever because of who he is.