Keeping up with my kids through weight loss

Bariatric surgery success story with Whitney

Whitney Paul with her childrenWhitney Paul already knew that obesity had taken much of the fun out of her life. Still, when she stepped on the scale during an appointment with her doctor in August 2014, she had a shock that affected her deeply.

“It was terrifying,” says Whitney, 28, of Washington, Iowa. “After I saw that number 316, I walked around feeling like I had a black cloud over my head and that I was slowly dying.”

A single mother of two, Whitney had avoided volunteering for activities at her daughters’ school because, being overweight, she didn’t feel capable of keeping up with the kids.

“My weight was holding me down, making me slow and inactive,” she says. “I knew I had to act quickly or I could lose my life and leave my children alone.”

Whitney turned to University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, where she underwent bariatric surgery in January 2015.

“My main reason for having surgery was to get my life back,” she says.

Whitney has since lost 182 pounds and is enjoying life with her daughters like never before.

“I was class Mom at their dance recital, running around backstage to dress the kids and line them up,” she says. “I would have never considered that had I not lost the weight.”

The UI bariatric surgery program requires a firm commitment, but when Whitney tries to describe the benefits of sticking with the plan, she is almost at a loss for words.

“There have been challenges, and I expect to have them the rest of my life. But I can’t even begin to explain how much confidence I have gained that I never had before. My house is even in better order. The motivation I have gained in every aspect of my life is incredible.”

Now she’s helping others, sharing her experiences with two women from her hometown who are considering weight-loss surgery.

“I’ve given them tips and advice on what to expect and how much healthier and active they will be afterward,” Whitney says. “I tell them that as long as their mind and heart are ready, it is absolutely worth it.”