Family is on a roll after mom's weight-loss surgery
She felt a little guilty. Her daughter was 8-years-old, but hadn't yet learned to ride a bike. The child was fearful and needed someone to run alongside her, but Amber Hall hadn't been able to do it when she was weighed down at her top weight of 249 pounds.
But one spring day, a few months after her gastric bypass surgery at Legacy Weight and Diabetes Institute, Amber found herself running alongside her daughter, and at that special moment when the girl took off pedaling on her own for the first time, Amber found herself still running and still keeping up. Both Amber and her daughter were so excited about their double accomplishment, they both began crying for joy.
Amber has lost 70 pounds in about six months after surgery. She's taken up bicycling and bike commutes to work. She's planning some high-mileage rides, and she's got a personal trainer now working with her on her daily trips to the gym.
Amber is an energy counselor for Clark Public Utilities and found it increasingly difficult, and sometimes embarrassing, to stuff herself into crawl spaces and attics to give homeowners advice about making their homes energy-efficient.
Now she's finding herself going up and down ladders without knee pain, and she's more comfortable squeezing into tight spaces.
She says that overweight people can sometimes be dismissed and sometimes hide, staying out of social environments or playing the "joker." But now she feels like she's coming into her own and says the staff at the Legacy Weight and Diabetes Institute were so encouraging. Amber says it is as though they always knew she'd emerge from her shell. She says they "genuinely show they really care about you" and "treat you as a person." Amber says they gave her so much hope.
She regularly attends support groups and loves the connections she has with others from those who are "pre-op" to those who had surgery 10 years ago.
Amber began her journey six months before the surgery and worked with the Legacy Weight and Diabetes Institute's nutritionist and other staff to begin "preparing her mind" and recognizing the patterns and habits she needed to change.
She held a few "food funerals," realizing that sweets, ice cream and popcorn had to go permanently. She ate slowly as she said goodbye and really tasted the food, a new habit that she's working on. She says she's grateful for what she learned while she prepared for this major change in her body.
Amber says after being on countless diets, she chose the surgery because she knew it would be a catalyst for change and she would begin a new chapter in her story. She says she is enough of a "wannabe athlete" that she knew she'd be inspired by the rapid weight loss. And she says she knew that going "through the hoops" necessary to have the surgery would keep her on track.
She says "life is a process" and she knows that changing her life is work. She's not set a number for her final goal weight, instead focusing on being strong and healthy, whether that is at 150 or 130. She's aiming instead for "eating for health" and she's not worried about looking like she "belongs in a magazine."
Now, she's making her date nights with her husband less food-focused and she's excited about having more ability to play with her kids. "It's a victory for me," she says.
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1. Amber waits for a shuttle at Disneyland. "It is crazy to think how much effort I put into limiting my steps when now I am trying to figure out how to get more each day," she said.
2 - 4: Amber rides her bike to work and has more energy for hobbies.
5. - 6. A hike to Mt. Hamilton left Amber with knee pain and she wanted to take a nap. But fast forward to May, and she and a friend conquered Dog Mountain and was capable of keeping up.
7. Another family hike at Lewis River. "The kids and our lab Buddy loved it because the river is gorgeous but I honestly can’t remember pleasure from this hike. I was hurting, uncomfortable in my clothing and skin."