Patient Spotlight: Marie Leyva

March 12th, 2018 - Posted to Weight Loss

Marie Leyva is now, 4 years later after her weight loss surgery, a totally different person who no longer has to worry about excess weight. Although she was never sure whether to have the surgery or not, she took a tragic loss in her life as a sign that it's high time she made a change to improve her health. Therefore, in 2014, Marie underwent a sleeve gastrectomy with Dr. Korman and since then, she has lost 114 pounds, maintaining today a normal weight of 170 pounds.

Tell us about your biggest success thus far

Being overweight led to other weight-related diseases, like diabetes and hypertension. Not needing so much medication anymore for all these health problems and losing over 100 pounds are definitely my greatest achievements since the surgery.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Drinking water instead of coffee. I am a coffee lover and I would prefer to replace my daily 64 ounces of water with coffee. However, I try to make my life easy while reaching my goal so I switched to powder vitamins which require dissolving in a 40-ounce mug. After that, I just drink three more glasses of water to complete my target.

What is your motivation for continued change?

The loss of my friend is what made me decide to have the surgery and what keeps me motivated to constantly improve my health. She struggled to keep her diabetes under control and suffered many complications because of the medication she was taking, which finally led to her death. Even though I had debated having weight loss surgery for eight years, this heartbreaking event made me realize that I need to make a change before it’s not too late.

Also, small details of daily life that most people take for granted, like being able to wear regular sized clothes and to keep up with my grandchildren when we go out for a walk, always bring a smile on my face and keep me motivated.

What is your favorite quick, go-to healthy meal?

I like simple meals and try to eat as natural as possible. Having diabetes has made me more creative when it comes to preparing healthy meals, since I had to cut certain foods, like rice and potatoes, off my diet. Also, I have learned to consider the nourishing properties of the foods I eat so I usually have a salad along with some cooked vegetables and proteins. However, when I need a quick meal, I go for Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, which I always keep in my refrigerator, with some fresh fruits and various nuts sprinkled on top.

What advice would you give to those considering weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery changes your life a lot. It helps you adopt healthier eating habits like eating less and slower and drinking more water. Therefore, I would advise those who consider this kind of surgery to make sure they are mentally prepared for the changes to come. You cannot expect great results if you continue living the way you did before.

What is the craziest diet you tried prior to surgery?

There was this crazy weight loss plan that I have tried where I was being wrapped and then shaken by a weird machine. In the end, you could find out how many inches you have lost by comparing the before and after measurements. I have also tried Fen-Phen pills and weight loss shots but they would always make me feel nervous and, moreover, I even gained some extra pounds after I stopped using them; totally useless. 

What was the best/worst advice you ever received about dieting?

I cannot think of any bad pieces of advice but one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received while I was struggling to lose weight was to drink a lot of water, even when I feel hungry. This is how I have learned that sometimes my body just needs hydration, not necessarily nutrients. There is also this thing that someone told me once which motivates me to eat healthy: “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!”

What would you tell your former self now if you could?

I would tell myself to stop debating so much and just have the surgery already because it is truly life-changing. I feel like a whole new person now that I am no longer constrained by the limitations that being overweight imposed.