Put me in coach. I'm ready to play!
Jenah Bellamy's life as a "sideline mom" has ended. That's how she described herself back in the summer of 2009. "My kids would want me to ride bikes, chase them around the yard, and play with them at the pool," she recalls. But the reality was, "I'd get out of breath just trying to tie my shoes." It wasn't like she didn't try to shed some of her 276 pounds. "I was friends with Jenny, Weight Watchers, HerbalLife, Dexatrim and a psychotherapist," she laughs. Each effort resulted in weight loss, but it always came back - and then some. "I just couldn't shake it once and for all," says Jenah.
When husband Brad gave his full support, the two attended a seminar at TriHealth Weight Management. "I knew I wanted gastric bypass even before the seminar," says Jenah, overweight most of her adult life. In October 2009 she walked into surgery a size 24. Sixteen months later she's a size six, weighing just 145 pounds. She's lost an astonishing 131 pounds. My four-year-old looks at old pictures of me and says, "Who's that? She doesn't even recognize me!"
It's not just Jenah's weight that has changed. Her lifestyle has too. During lunch breaks at work she tries to walk at least a mile, more if the weather permits, dragging coworkers along with her. "We need a break from sitting at our desks all day." At home she gets the entire family moving. "We walk or ride bikes almost every night. And in the summer we spend lots of time swimming at East Fork Lake." Jenah recognizes that even shopping can be good exercise, "especially at big flea markets. We walk and people-watch. It's fun!"
Thanks to Jenah's healthier home-cooked meals, Brad has shed 30 pounds; Jenah's mother-in-law has lost 20. "Everyone eats what I eat, and we're eating smaller portions than before." She's happy to be instilling her children with healthy eating habits.
In her mother's memory, Jenah celebrated the one-year anniversary of her gastric bypass at the Susan G. Komen 5K Walk to cure breast cancer. "Because my mom died of breast cancer, and my grandmother is a survivor, my risk of getting it is high. Being overweight increased my risk even more. Participating in this walk was very rewarding; a year earlier I would have never been able to make it."