Diana Renee Bibbs, 56, of East Lansing, was depressed and unhealthy. Tipping the scale at 279 pounds, she knew she needed to make changes if she wanted to see her son graduate from high school. Now at 145 pounds, Bibbs is healthier and more energetic. Here is her story.
What made you decide to have bariatric surgery?
Several years ago, my sister and brother died within a seven month time span. I became depressed, gained over 100 pounds that year and unfortunately found myself weighing 279 pounds. My diabetes became unmanageable. I was taking over 100 units of insulin per day, and also suffering from an under-active thyroid condition. My diabetes specialist recommended bariatric surgery. I thought if I didn’t have the surgery, I would be another fatality of poor health. All I could think was I wanted to see my son graduate from high school, so I agreed to have the surgery.
What happened following the surgery?
I began swimming almost a few weeks later. I was so motivated and would dream about swimming. My regimen included swimming five to six days per week for at least one hour. I also changed my eating habits, consuming smaller meals and I lost 74 pounds. I felt so empowered and my family nick-named me “Nemo” because I spent so much time in the pool.
Were there any set-backs following your substantial weight loss?
The surgery was not a cure-all for me. I stopped exercising and my weight leveled out at 200 pounds. Eventually, I gained an additional 11 pounds and remained at 211 pounds for several years. One day, I decided enough was enough and I clung to the scripture, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and changed my lifestyle. I recalled watching the eating habits of Europeans during my time studying abroad and decided to follow their example and eat smaller meals. I started practicing portion control, fasting once a week. Every Wednesday I would only eat fruits and vegetables. I also increased my water intake and began walking a little more. The weight began to drop-off and I lost 50 pounds!
What have you changed or incorporated recently?
A year ago I decided to get really serious, so I signed up for a group fitness class and lost an additional 15 pounds. I currently weigh 145 pounds! I love the classes and now have more energy. I remember when I started the classes, I could barely do one jumping jack. Now, I am so excited when the instructor says “we’re going to do jumping jacks.” The classes have helped me to maintain my fitness and health goals, maintain a healthy weight and I’m still losing weight and inches. My doctor has taken me completely off insulin and my acne has cleared up!
Any advice for others?
As my father would always say, “never, never quit. Life’s challenges are tough, but if we preserve and don’t quit— with God— all things are possible.”
Kimberly Whitfield is the owner of Kimberly Inspiring Beauty in Strength, a fitness instructor at Go Workout Fitness Center and Trinity A.M.E. Church; a bodybuilder, and a public speaker. Visit her on the web at kwinspires.com for a list of her classes.