While serving as the primary caregiver for someone with debilitating diabetes, Tamara “Tam” Joyner subjected herself to a whirlwind of mindless fast food consumption, sodas, and very limited movement that was mainly within the house. After several months of neglecting her own body, for the sake of someone else, her weight skyrocketed to more than 300 pounds. Along with this weight gain, came her own diabetes diagnosis – along with hypertension and high cholesterol.
“I let my health get out of control,” Tam confessed. “I was taking more than 10 pills a day just to maintain. It was obvious that my weight, mixed with my sedentary lifestyle, was leading me down a seriously destructive path toward irreparable damage.”
Tam decided to take her health and destiny into her own hands and came up with a plan of care with her primary physician. This included preparing for and undergoing gastric sleeve surgery. Tam believes this initial tool was instrumental in saving her life.
Tam explained, “When I decided to have gastric sleeve surgery, I quickly lost more than 75 pounds and within months, my doctor took me off half of my pills.”
While gastric sleeve surgery is often seen as “cheating” or a “quick fix,” the procedure requires a serious commitment to drastically removing a variety of bad nutritional habits.
“That surgery forces you to change a lot about your life,” Tam said. “Two years later and I am still learning my food triggers and proper intake levels.” In addition to significant dietary changes, Tam is also taking control of how her body moves as well as what she eats.
“I’ve hired a personal trainer and am in nutrition counseling that’s starting to help me learn more about emotional eating and creating new habits,” she continued.
Being a caregiver was the beginning of Tamara learning how to care for herself. She believes her new decisions will not only give her longevity, but better quality of life and she moves towards healthier decision-making.