Weighing Down: She’s On Her Way

July 26, 2017

Five months ago, under the guidance of the staff at IU Health Bariatric & Medical Weight Loss, Tiara Jenkins, 25, began taking steps to better health. Doctors determined she was a good candidate for bariatric surgery but first she needed to complete a series of workshops to prepare for the procedure. She also needed to lose weight that would help in her post surgery recovery.

When she started the process in February she weighed 445 pounds. As part of the pre-surgery process, Jenkins meets monthly with various weight-loss experts including a psychologist and nutritionist. She practices a daily routine of taking vitamins, keeping a food journal and maintaining exercising.

On a recent visit to the IU Health Bariatric offices, she heard the news she had hoped for – she had lost 12 pounds since her previous visit. This visit marked more than a halfway point through the pre-op visits. In all, she has lost 30.7 pounds.

It hasn’t been easy.

She’s picked up a second retail job but still manages to get in 30 minutes of exercise daily. She packs her lunch and includes extra vitamins in case she forgets. On this day, she drove 45 minutes from her Avon home in an early morning downpour.

“I’m determined to reach my goal and nothing is going to get in my way,” said Jenkins. She preps meals the night before her workday and weighs herself about once a week. She also attends support groups.

“It’s gotten to the point now where it almost makes me sick to think of the bad foods,” said Jenkins referring to fast-food meals she once ate on the go. What does she miss the most? Lots of coffee. Caffeine intake is limited during the pre-surgery stage.

During her recent visit, Jenkins received a “high five” from registered dietician Katie Hake. Jenkins beamed but she also talked about her concerns. She felt like her weight loss had stalled.

“As you start to lose more weight your body may seem like it is stalling. Our bodies are smart like that,” said Hake. “When you build muscle, you may notice your clothes are looser and your body composition changes.”

Hake also offers tips on meal prepping.

“If you start to get tired of some foods or they start to make you feel sick then take notes. My focus is to identify any barriers to helping you meet your weight loss goal,” said Hake.

Jenkins also met with physician assistant Paula Haffley who explained the process leading up to surgery – just three more visits and then surgery can be scheduled – probably around December or January.

Haffley asked Jenkins about her support system and they talked about life at home.

“You really only get one shot at this so I say do it the right way,” said Haffley. “And whatever you’re doing, keep it up. You are well on your way.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at
T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.

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