The Number Isn't the Goal
Standing before a room of hopeful hearts, family and the person she believes saved her life, Denise Sessions found herself changing the deal she had made. “I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to speak at group until I hit my goal weight,” she says.
On the heels of the second anniversary of her bariatric surgery, Session was “stuck” around 200 pounds, shy of the magical “168 pounds” she set as her goal weight. She had maintained her weight within a 9-pound range over the last four months and discovered something new.
“I decided to say to myself that my success what not dictated by a number on a scale,” she recalls.
Instead, Sessions took inventory of how she felt, what had changed within her during the last two years and how exercise had become a priority in her life. In fact, the night Sessions spoke at the Bailey Bariatric Support Group was the first night she skipped her regular run with her running group. Fittingly, Sessions wore her running clothes to speak, as both a reminder of one of the biggest changes in her life and to be comfortable to tell her story.
At her highest “known” weight, Sessions weighed 396 pounds January 2010. This was one of the first pictures she shared with the support group.
“I’ve never been afraid to show them,” she says. “It’s a constant reminder that I never want to get to that point again.”
As Sessions clicked through the slides, including this one showing the amount of sugar she consumed drinking 8 to 10 cokes on a daily basis, she noticed the bright and shiny eyes in the audience. Her normally jovial dad sat next to her mom “so serious,” Sessions admits the emotion got to her. “There were tears,” she says.
Sessions posted her weight week by week before the group, but explained it wasn’t those numbers that got her to where she was at that moment. “I don’t look bad, and more importantly I don’t feel bad, at 197,” she told the support group. “The surgery changes more than the number on the scale.”
Sessions credits therapy as the key to her success after surgery. She made a decision to continue therapy after the required initial appointments to help her cope with other people’s reactions to her ongoing change. She also wanted to be successful in life and not only successful with her surgery.
It is one of the reasons she joined a running group in January 2012, two years after weighing nearly 400 pounds. Having completed three 5k runs in 2012, Sessions is setting her sites on the Route 66 half-marathon in 2013.
As she speaks to her bariatric support group, she clicks through slides that show her with her running group, saving the best for last.
“I get very emotional talking about him,” Sessions says of bariatric surgeon Dr. JoeBob Kirk. “He and my father are my heroes. One gave me life and the other saved it.”
Sessions describes speaking before the Bailey Bariatric Support Group as a “magical” experience. While there are still the struggles of daily life and dating, Sessions says, “My quality of life is wonderful.”