Abigail’s weight loss story: “This journey has been life-changing”

January 18, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes

With a weight loss team that believed in her, Abigail Jones was able to believe in herself. She started at 385 pounds and, with a combination of medical and surgical interventions, Abigail lost a total of 185 pounds. Here, she tells you about her weight loss journey in her own words.

Struggling with obesity is something I have dealt with the majority of my life.

As a child, I was bullied for my size and as a young adult, my weight held me back from doing things I wanted to do. I felt lost, uncomfortable and stuck.

In March 2018, I was getting ready to travel to Thailand with a girlfriend. The night before our flight, I ended up in the emergency room (ER) with kidney stones.

While going through triage, the ER nurse checked my vitals. I weighed in at 385 pounds. While waiting for a room, I remember sitting there and thinking to myself, what has happened to me? This is not good, I have really let myself go.

HD Heroes Abigail Jones beforecrop2

Pictured above: Abigail "before" photo

It was an eye-opening moment, and it was clear I needed to do something about my weight. But I didn’t know how or where to start.

Fast forward four months and in July 2018, I started going to Endeavor Health® Weight Management at Edward-Elmhurst Health. With the help of Dr. Neha Shah and her team, I was able to take a multiple-step approach to address my weight issues and get the help I needed to start losing weight.

Through therapy, I was able to address my emotional issues with food. I learned how to identify my triggers and introduced replacement therapy to redirect my behavior.

By working with Lauren Gustafson, MS, RD, LDN, a dietitian, I learned about portion control, tracking my daily food intake and mindful eating habits.

In working with Dr. Shah, I was able to address my obesity from a medical standpoint like I never had before.

With the help of weight loss medication, lifestyle changes and making better choices, I was able to lose 90 pounds in a year and a half.

Over time, my weight plateaued. I was frustrated that the number on the scale wasn’t moving anymore, even though I was ready and I needed to lose more weight.

However, Dr. Shah and her team made me feel at ease. I felt supported and that each one of them had my back and were going to help me get through this rough patch. They reminded me of how far I’d come and to stay focused on my non-scale victories.

Together, we came up with a new plan of action. Feeling motivated and determined to continue my weight loss journey, I made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery in October 2019.

Before taking this step, I worked diligently with my nutritionist and therapist to address the lifestyle changes that were to come with having this type of surgery. Once I had my surgery, I lost an additional 80 pounds over the next 10 months.

Once my body had stabilized and I had maintained my weight for over a year and a half, with the approval of my doctors, I had one more procedure to remove my excess skin.

The plastic surgeon removed 10 pounds of skin from my stomach. The recovery was painful and long, but I kept my mind focused on the end goal and was excited to once again improve the quality of my life.

This journey has been life-changing, not only physically but mentally. For the first time in my life, I feel mentally strong and able to conquer my fears. Physically, I no longer hold myself back and I find joy in the non-scale victories, like being able to cross my legs for the first time in my life or being able to walk up a flight of stairs and not be out of breath.

Something I have learned through my weight loss journey would be that I can truly accomplish anything I put my mind to. My advice to others in a similar situation would be to focus on what’s important to you, make a conscious effort every day to make better choices, and show yourself grace. Not every day is going to be perfect and that’s okay. Focus on what’s in front of you and what changes you can make to be a better version of yourself.

I am beyond thankful for the support, kindness, acceptance and grace I have received from the Endeavor Health® Weight Management team. They believed in me, and in return, I was able to believe in myself.

Endeavor Health® Weight Management at Edward-Elmhurst Health offers both surgical and non-surgical options to help you achieve permanent weight loss and the healthy, active life you were meant to live.

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