Sara Osborne struggled with weight her entire life. When she was in second grade, the school reached out to her mom wanting to order a bigger desk because she didn’t fit standard ones.
“I’ve been up and down all my life,” said Osborne, 43, of Pikeville. “I couldn’t get control of it.”
When her oldest child went to college, she realized she was closer to being a grandparent than a parent raising young children. That hit home for her, as she had lost both grandfathers due to heart disease.
“It clicked with me that I did not want the same thing to happen with my grandchildren and me that happened with me and my grandparents,” she said. “I wanted to be around for them, babysit them if needed, and I realized that wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t do something about my weight.”
She had high blood pressure and an A1C level of 5.8 – pre-diabetic and headed to being diabetic.
So she researched weight loss surgery and the places in Kentucky that offered it. She landed on the Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Saint Joseph East and was pleased that her insurance would cover surgery there. But when it came time for approval, her request was denied; her insurance company suggested she transfer her records and have the surgery at a covered location. Her mind, however, was made up, and with a change in insurance carrier coming, Osborne decided to wait a few extra months to get her first choice provider.
In her first year after surgery in January 2021, Osborne lost 75 pounds. She also lost that connection between her weight and her self-worth. “Always before, my self-worth was tied to that number on the scale,” she said. “Successful was the scale goes down; not successful was that scale stays the same or goes up.”
Now, as the weight loss has slowed, “I’m Ok with that because that’s part of what they teach you through the whole process.”
The physical changes brought with weight loss – a healthier heart, a healthier body – are also accompanied by the mental changes that have health benefits as well.
“I have anxiety,” Osborne said. “I had no idea how it was tied to my weight. My anxiety is so much better now.”
She can now look at pictures of herself and get up in front of a crowd.
“The best thing,” she said, “would be getting my self-confidence back to be able to do things. To have enough self-confidence that I can run a mile. That I can, if I decide I want to, try a new yoga routine. I have self-confidence that I can go to my child’s ballgame and, if there are stairs, it’s not going to be hard on me to get up and down those stairs.”
Osborne freely shares the benefits she has seen through weight loss surgery and stresses how thankful she is that she found this solution. Regular diet and exercise doesn’t work for everyone, and it didn’t for her.
“I think there’s a misconception that this is the easy way out and it’s not,” she said. “The prep for it is not easy. The surgery itself is not easy. You have to be very disciplined and very committed.”
She continues to follow the suggested diet and strives to exercise at least four times a week, on average.
“I’ve learned to listen to my body more,” she said. “It’s OK to stop when you’re full.”