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FROM THE COUCH TO 5K ENTHUSIAST: HOW NANTICOKE CHANGED MY LIFE

My name is Deborah Long and last year, I made the life-changing decision to have weight loss surgery through Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery.

At 56 years old and 373 pounds, I was tired and struggled with health complications and low self-esteem. My journey to better health – and a better me – started with the decision to eat better, exercise, and attend one of Nanticoke’s free monthly seminars to learn more about weight loss surgery. After the seminar, I scheduled a consultation with Dr. Tarek Waked, bariatric surgeon at Nanticoke Weight Loss. Dr. Waked was so positive that I would weigh under 200 pounds in my first year after surgery (and I do!), so I discussed it with my husband and decided to have gastric bypass surgery.

Weight loss surgery gave me my health and my life back. To date, I’ve lost almost 180 pounds. I love the way I feel and who I am now. I have more energy and confidence, I feel stronger and calmer, and I no longer have to take daily naps or use a sleep apnea machine. I can now keep up with my six dogs and I enjoy the rejuvenating feeling that I get from exercise. I look at myself in the mirror now and sometimes catch myself thinking “Who are you?” because I’m a whole new person. I am grateful every day for the staff at Nanticoke Weight Loss and everyone I’ve met through their support group. I try to use my success and positivity to pay it forward and inspire other weight loss patients.

Just a month after surgery, I participated in my first 5k and now 5ks are one of my passions. Before my surgery, I wouldn’t have even known what a 5k was! Dr. Waked got me addicted to 5ks at last year’s Believe to Achieve 5k. It’s not about the time for me – sometimes I’m the last one across the finish line – but I’ve gotten faster each time. I even beat my personal best time at this year’s Believe to Achieve 5k!

The journey is not easy, but it is worth it. We’re only human and we all make mistakes and get cravings, but I can’t stress enough the importance of utilizing all of your tools – surgery, exercise, proper nutrition, personal motivation and support groups. My success has come from using them all. Recently, I’ve noticed the belly fat start to shrink and I think of the loose skin as a trophy for all my hard work. It’s more than a lifestyle change – it’s the REST OF YOUR LIFE.

If I could give advice to anyone considering weight loss surgery, it would be to make the decision to change your life because you’re worth it. If you’re ready to change your life, attend one of Dr. Waked’s free weight loss seminars. The journey is hard work, but if you always look for the joy in your journey, you’re guaranteed to succeed.

For more information about weight loss surgery, support groups and other services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery, visit www.nanticokeweightloss.org or call 302-536-5395.

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