Desiree Provost: Bariatric's Spring 2021 Shining Star
Desiree Provost is one of Ochsner Lafayette General’s human resources managers and, recently, became a part of Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center’s bariatric program as a patient. The department, which selects from its success stories each year and highlights them as their "shining stars," sat down with her (virtually) to learn more about her motivations, goals and journey of losing 116 pounds of fat and more than 60 inches from her life!
What led you to the Surgical Program?
I decided to follow the surgical plan because I reached a point in my life knowing I could no longer do it alone, and I needed help. I had tried countless diets, exercise plans and quick fix solutions but nothing worked. Once I was diagnosed with hypertension and started taking medication I knew I needed to do something. I needed help making a lifestyle change not a quick fix.
What made you choose our organization?
I chose our Bariatric Program based on its reputation but also its structure. I did a lot of research on the procedure and other similar centers/programs. I appreciated that the program did not offer a quick fix solution. It is set up to prepare the person for the lifestyle change. To truly understand what got me where I was then and what I needed to do to truly maximize the benefits of the procedure. It was not just about losing the weight, but changing those bad habits to go backwards.
What was your biggest issue with being overweight?
Quality of Life. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and we have a six- (almost seven) year-old son. I would get frustrated when I was limited to what I could do or the experiences I could not share with either of them because of my weight. From the physical exhaustion and the rollercoaster of emotions and fear of being judge due to my size, it was something that was CONSTANTLY on my mind. Only those that have been overweight will understand the constant feelings regarding your weight. The anxiety and emotional weight was a lot to bear.
What were some of your goals with Weight Loss?
I had/have so many, LOL. While I had a number on the scale I wanted to reach, that is a common goal. My non-scale goals varied and changed over the timeframe but included: being able to climb a flight of stairs without losing breathe, play outside with my son without being exhausted in 15 minutes, not using a seat belt extender on an airplane, being able to cross my legs, being able to sit Indian style, being able to complete a “burpee”, being able to complete a “box jump”, being able to run/jog consistently and not be in pain and not allowing myself to have to miss out on any activity due to my weight.
Have you reached those goals?
Well I am participating in my first 5k in two days and my goal is to finish in 40 minutes. A year ago, it would have taken me over a year to WALK three miles let alone run/jog three miles. I have reached all goals mentioned and new ones. I was able to participate in a zip-lining course and complete a nature trail/hike. All things I would not have been able to complete a year ago.
Who were your biggest supporters throughout your journey?
I must say my “circle” truly helped me is so many ways. From my husband, my son, my parents, my siblings, my close friends, my coworkers, etc. They offered prayers, support, guidance, helped me through my highs and my lows. Respected my lifestyle change and held and continue to hold me accountable. Its important to have a someone with you through this process. While they cannot do the work for you, they can encourage and get you through the bad days and celebrate your good days!
What problems did you encounter throughout your journey if any?
My biggest challenge is/was emotional eating. Regardless of the emotion, I would choose to satisfy myself with food. What I learned is how to recognize when I am in the moment and how to manage it. I still have struggles but I am now aware of what they are and can use the tools provided to me in the program to help navigate them. THIS IS NOT EASY! THIS IS NOT A QUICK FIX. It takes hard work, determination, a willingness to change, self-awareness of your weaknesses/opportunities. While it takes constant work, it is something I do not regret nor do I plan to ever go back.
Describe your biggest success in your journey.
This is hard. If we define success by the number on the scale then there you go, 123lbs and 60 inches gone FOREVER in 1 year is CRAZY. BUT, when I think about how my LIFE has changed that is unbelievable to me. I run/workout 5 days a week. Now, I chose outdoor activities not avoid them. My attitude is different, my perspective on all aspects of my life is different. How I am raising my son is different, I am to ensure I do not pass on those bad habits to him. I am learning the new me, someone I never engaged with because I allowed my weight to hold me back. My biggest success is just my perspective…my outlook…my viewpoint…
What now?....Where are you headed and what are your plans, hopes, goals?
Obviously, I want the scale to continue to go down 😊 I have about 20lbs left that I would like to lose but that is not the end game. I hope to help/encourage others that are struggling with similar issues to know they are not defined by their weight, I want to continue to challenge myself physically. I just want to be better than I was yesterday.
February is Heart Health Month, a nationally recognized time for raising awareness on healthier choices that can lead to real, positive changes in your life. Want to learn more about our Bariatric program? Our dedicated, multi-disciplinary department is always open to answer questions and help guide you to making the right choice for a better, healthier you! Visit OchsnerLG.org/bariatrics for more information and to get started today.