Sixty-year-old Jodie Meaux struggled with her weight for most of her life, and after having her second child at age 37, she couldn’t get her weight in control. She tried all of the yo-yo diets and would lose the weight, but always gained it back.
In 2014, after doctors found a 90% blockage in Meaux’s aorta and she underwent melanoma surgery later that same year, she knew these were signs that she needed to make some changes in her life.
She looked into bariatric surgery programs, but wanted to join a program where she would also learn about nutrition and weight loss in addition to having a bariatric procedure. She decided to join the program at the Weight Loss and Metabolic Center at Baylor College of Medicine.
“As bariatric surgeons, we recognize that obesity is a chronic disease with multi-factorial causes and impacts,” said Dr. Juliet Holder-Haynes, assistant professor of surgery at the Weight Loss and Metabolic Center and Meaux’s surgeon. “Therefore it’s important to provide a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to patient care that addresses the medical and behavioral needs of the patient. It’s rewarding to be a part of the journey.”
Meaux consulted with Holder-Haynes as well as a dietitian and psychologist at the Center and had the gastric sleeve procedure in November 2018. Since then, she’s lost 97 pounds.
“For me, I need more than myself to keep me on track. The dietitian kept me honest about my food journey. The first couple of months were very hard but once I got the hang of it, I truly did not want to disappoint her,” Meaux said.
She said that the main takeaway from her dietitian was how important it is to be accountable for what you eat – we do not need large portions of food to give us what we need for nutrition.
“It is about eating the right foods in smaller portions to get what we need – more bang for your buck,” Meaux said.
In addition to the consultations, she also took part in online meetings that are available to patients. She found that the camaraderie and the network of people in the program were essential in successfully losing the weight.
“The monthly online meetings are fantastic because everyone has their struggles and we help each other with what works for us,” she said. “You can ask questions and get feedback on what is available for you before and after your surgery.”
Meaux continues to maintain her weight through diet and exercise. She works out no less than three times a week, but aims for five to six times. She tries to walk no less than 10,000 steps per day, but usually averages 16,000. Because she loves to walk, she tries to take 8-mile walks on the weekends when the weather cooperates.
“I am determined to keep my weight off,” Meaux said. “Surgery is just a tool to help you, it’s not a cure-all.”
She plans her meals most days and follows a KETO diet, but always keeps KETO-friendly frozen meals on hand for when things get hectic.
Just like other Americans across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on her stress level and her weight. Because the gym was closed, she wasn’t able to work out as often, but she did make time to go on walks. She gained about 13 pounds since the pandemic, but recently joined a weight loss challenge at her workout studio.
“I got a grip on myself and started going back to what I knew worked for me. I have already lost four of the 13 pounds in one week,” she said.
Meaux has set a goal weight that she is determined to get to by Christmas.
“It’s not a quick-fix – you have to be willing to seriously change your lifestyle,” she said.
-By Dipali Pathak