I had originally planned this interview as a look into bariatric surgery in Canada. It’s a different and very interesting process. However, as this interview went on we discovered one of the most inspirational weight loss surgery stories out there.
Ingrid grew up and lives in the Yukon. If you haven’t seen any of the TV shows about the Yukon, you should know that the Yukon is a territory very Northwest Canada, next to Alaska. Small provinces of 100 or less people are scattered throughout a very rough landscape. It’s cold and desolate.
Doctors don’t live where Ingrid lives. They ship in doctors every two weeks. So how do you have bariatric surgery and change your entire life when you live in the Yukon?
Ingrid is from the Wolf Clan. She grew up in a small province in the Yukon. At age 8 or 9 she knew she was the ‘big girl.’ It’s not common to see joggers, gym rats, and exercise nuts in small towns outside of Alaska. People live. People work. Ingrid’s town was no different.
Ingrid accepted that life was tough. Ingrid accepted that she was the big girl. She didn’t complain. In fact, she never shared most of the difficulties that she experienced. She internalized them. She carried them with her.
After the birth of her son, she battled with postpartum depression. But 20 years ago in a place where new doctors were shipped in every two weeks, postpartum wasn’t a ‘thing.’ Ingrid gained weight. She was depressed and she ate.
She was tired. All the time. When she would ask doctors for help, they would tell her to lose weight. It wasn’t until a doctor was stationed in her province for 2 months did they decide to draw and test her blood. She had severe hypothyroidism.
Her immune system was depressed and she got chicken pox. And then a skin disease kept her from being able to go outside. She gained more weight.
She didn’t know it at the time, but her boyfriend was hiding the fact that he was a drug addict. Ingrid, accepted it. This was her life.
‘I was literally packing on so much hurt and pain. It was there for everyone to see, only I didn’t see it.’
The medication for her thyroid disease helped her regain energy but the weight wouldn’t come off. Her friend told her about a program called Weight Wise.
When you listen to Ingrid speak, you’ll hear how soft and sweet her soul is. You can hear her pain when she recounts her story. You can hear her spirit when she talks about her decision to choose the Weight Wise Adult Weight Management Progam (Now called the Edmonton Adult Bariatric Specialty Clinic).
The Weight Wise Program
Medicine is socialized in Canada. Everyone has access to care. The weight wise program is a free program for adults that need to lose more than 100 lbs. The program addresses both the psychological and phsyical aspects of obesity. Members of the program are required to take part in 3 hour monthly calls where they learn how to get healthy.
Members are then given a month to implement what they’ve learned and report back. Weekly weigh-ins and psychological support is offered in the member’s local area.
Ingrid put her heart and soul into the program. The psychological counseling taught Ingrid that she had to share her trauma. She had to get it off of her chest before she could love herself.
At the end of the Weight Wise program, surgery is an option. After losing over 70 lbs from the Weight Wise program, Ingrid signed up for surgery.
Bariatric surgery takes place in Edmonton. Ingrid got the call 2 months prior to her scheduled date. She made travel arrangements and brought a friend for support.
In recovery the doctors noticed that Ingrid’s heart rate was out of control. She had a blood clot and was rushed back for another surgery.
Nine days later Ingrid was released. The blood clot had moved dangerously close to her heart and had to be surgically removed. But she survived. And she didn’t look back.
Life is a blessing. Ingrid never thought she would enjoy life. She never thought she was supposed to enjoy life. She never thought she would be able to sit in a chair comfortably.
She’s lost another 113 lbs since surgery. She chooses to exercise daily. She eats fruits, vegetables and chicken.
“My entire life, my entire being, my entire soul has changed.”
The weekend after the interview, Ingrid was supporting a team in a long distance road race. She chooses to surround herself with healthy, active people. She reads positive books. She is thankful for her life. She started a bible study as a way to show her thanks.
Advice For Newbies
Ingrid gives us some good advice. But listen to the interview.
- Make sure you’re mentally ready.
- Don’t just do it because you need to do it. Do it because you want to do it.
- If you do it just to lose weight you won’t have much success.
- Do it because you need to do it. Because you want to be happier, healthier and truly live.
- Talk about all aspects of your life before surgery. It’s amazing how much everything changes after surgery.
Ingrid’s story comes to life when you hear about the hardships, the process, and the transformation. Thank you Ingrid for sharing your story. I know you’ll inspire many others to make a change.