Weight Loss Surgery Leaves Heather Padgett Shy…of 135 Pounds

Weight loss surgery was a game-changer for Heather Padgett, who was depressed at 300 pounds before undergoing an operation that’s left her 165 pounds lighter.

When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I began to realize that I was bigger than most of the girls in my class. I was never teased by other children. However, I felt that my weight issues stem from emotional problems that I had – even as a child.

And as an adult, I was tired of trying diets and I wanted a quick fix. I didn’t have the work ethic to stick with a diet for the duration of it. I would start them, but a few weeks into the plan, I would stop them. To make things worse, I was depressed when I was obese and was also beginning to show signs of fatty liver disease.

Heather Padgett beforeAt the time of my surgery on March 31, 2004, I weighed 300 pounds. I didn’t realize how heavy I really was until I was on the operating room table and saw the staff getting prepared to perform my surgery. I was so ashamed that I had let my weight get so out of control.

But my own preparation for this surgery was pretty easy, at least. First, they put me on a diet to see if I could lose weight on my own but like every other diet I had ever tried, I didn’t follow it. After I was approved for the surgery, the preparation included just a few breathing exercises, some blood work and a psychological test that I snowballed my way through because I was more determined on having the surgery than I was addressing the root of the problem – my emotional and mental health.

My weight loss was pretty rapid. I was at my target weight within a year. My total weight loss was 165 pounds.  I am glad that I was able to lose my weight and have been able to maintain the weight that I have lost. I’m also grateful that the surgery was successful even though I have had many post-op hurdles to overcome. Another one of the greatest rewards for me was being able to walk into any store to buy clothes, since as an overweight person, I always struggled to find clothes that were in style. Clothing manufacturers often seem to cater to thinner frames.

Heather Padgett afterI should advise that this surgery does have a lot of risks – not only during the surgery, but there are also long-term effects of what you put your body through by compromising your digestive system. Please, take it from me, someone who thought they were well educated about all this going in, but who has had to follow the rules through the entire process.

Finally, I should say I feel that bariatric surgery is not a quick fix and is not the answer to all weight problems, per se. You must first address the emotional reasons why you overeat to really overcome any obstacles that you may have. I highly recommend tackling the root of the problem before ever attempting any form of weight loss, be it diet or surgery. This is because if your mental and emotional health still remain damaged, then this journey will be a long one. I was able to address some of the emotional issues, but just as any other person, I have to deal with this on a daily basis. Having this surgery forces you to face them head on instead of masking the problems with food. I had to find a healthier way to address the problems at hand. Also, if there were something that I would stress with my story, it would be that being thin does not fix emotional problems. I thought that once I was slender, I would be happy with myself, but I have come to find out that no matter what my size is I am only happy when I confront these issues … instead of masking them with food.

Heather Padgett

4 Responses

  1. Lynn B

    Very honest and truthful account Heather, thank you. You’re right, WLS is not easy and will not fix other problems in your life. Congrats on the loss and dealing with the other “issues” that need to be resolved for a healthy, happy life.

  2. Joanne Brown

    Heather, what a wonderful story, one of which I can so relate to. I felt your pain of your early days and I feel in your joy of these current days. I also agree with you that people need to research the root of their problem before rushing into any kind of WLS as this is in no way a quick fix. I have no regrets whatsoever and 4 years later I am as healthy and as happy as I have every been.

    Keep up the good work and by the way, you look amazing.



  3. Michelle Williams

    I had gastric bypass surgery on October 1, 2004. I went from 360lbs. to my current weight of 170lbs. without any post op complications…praise God. My only regeret is that I didnt do it earlier. I understand all of the feelings that you are feeling and have experienced over this 7 year journey. Keep up the good work.

  4. marla

    i am just one week out from my sleeve surgery and hoping for the good days to start coming i have been very unhappy and upset that i had the surgery done i hope it starts to get better for me soon