Life after the gastric sleeve

6 years after surgery, Renee Beard says she’s never been better

When you ask Renee Beard when her issues with weight and emotional eating began, she’ll say, “At birth.” That’s why, after years of dieting and decades of an unhealthy relationship with food, she decided she’d had enough. In 2013, at the age of 42, Renee had the gastric sleeve surgery that changed her life forever. And for the better, she says. She’s maintained a 200-pound weight loss and continues to be an advocate for health and wellness.

“The highest weight I remember was 365 pounds,” she said, but after that, most scales couldn’t accommodate anything higher. She tried diets and fads, including an ear piercing that was supposed to curb her appetite.

“It hurt so bad I went straight to the drive-thru to get a cheeseburger to make myself feel better,” she recalled.

When a job change (and new health insurance) opened the door to bariatric surgery, Renee knew it was time. She attended a free seminar by Norton Weight Management Services and began the journey.

Keeping up with her weight loss has included much more than watching what she eats, although that is a big part of it. She treats her situation like an addiction and remains “sober” by avoiding what she refers to as “recreational sugar” in the forms of sweets and processed foods.

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“Having a bite of a cookie isn’t worth the amazing life I have,” Renee said.

Renee also credits power yoga, mindfulness, intermittent fasting and the ongoing support of her Norton Weight Management Services team for helping her keep the weight off. She stresses the amount of mental and emotional work she’s done.

“If you don’t address what’s going on inside, the outside will only be temporary,” she said.

What’s changed in Renee’s life in the last six years? Besides the weight loss, of course, she has transitioned from a job as a cosmetologist into a full-time yoga instructor, sharing her story and guiding participants through a unique combination of 12-step recovery program and power yoga classes.

“My worst day now is better than my best day at 365 pounds,” Renee said.

With her new attitude and mindset, Renee’s set to have many years’ worth of good days.[templatera id=”690859″]

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