Big Budah’s blog: Husband and wife both Losing for Life

The holiday season is definitely upon us. This Thanksgiving allowed me to remember the things that are important to me and what helps me continue to want to do better with my health and well-being for me and my family.

The holidays can be tough if you are apart from your family. This year I had to say goodbye to my sister Violet and her husband Lafu and their kids as they moved to Idaho. Saying goodbye to my namesake was emotional.

There are many examples of good people in my life who make me want to be better, like my daughter Sister Jaelyn Te’o serving in the Australia, Sydney North Mission as a missionary doing good and sharing of her good nature.

Holidays for me are about family. I was able to attend the production of “Elf” at the Eccles Theater. OH MY GOODNESS!! What an amazing theater and what a show. It was my quote-unquote “first Broadway show” (Well, not Broadway exactly, but you know what I mean).

Speaking of serving, I had the honor of helping out family friend Andria Tupola, who is going to be running for Governor for the state of Hawaii. I reunited with some family in the process: my Aunty Vida and cousins Janel & David.

I am truly blessed and never find it difficult to link everything back to the ability to have the energy and enthusiasm to fulfill and complete tasks, both in my professional world as well as my personal life.

The start of the holiday season this year has a little extra reason for me to be grateful. My wife Jennifer has undergone some changes recently that have affected her for the better. I will let her tell her story from time to time here on my blog:

My name is Jennifer, and I am a 44-year-old wife and mother of five children who has struggled with my weight my entire life. Growing up in high school I remember always being a little overweight, and it just continued after I was married and had my children.

After each pregnancy I would put on an extra 20 pounds and felt older than I was. In the year 2006 I was at my heaviest weight of 298 pounds. I started a journey to lose the weight by myself, and in one year I lost 100 pounds through diet and exercise.

I felt amazing and was able to maintain this weight loss for 10 years. In 2016, I noticed that my drive and will to go to the gym was going away and I stopped eating right. I started to develop Osteoarthritis in both of my knees, and the extra weight was not helping.

In April 2016 I had a total right knee replacement, and then in August 2016 I had a total left knee replacement. My hope was that by having the knee replacements done I would be able to get back to my exercise level and get the weight off, but that is not what happened.

Instead I found myself working out one day and having to wait 2-3days before I felt good enough to go back to the gym. My weight began to creep back up on me and ended up at 255 pounds. I was sick!! I had promised myself after all of my hard work from before that I would not let myself get heavy again, and here I was packing on the pounds once again.

So now what to do? I have tried everything: Weight Watchers, HCG, Keto Diet, etc. So many attempts and so many failures. I was so tired of dealing with this issue. I feel young inside and want to feel young on the outside.

After my knee surgeries I was not able to get back to the gym on a regular basis, because every time I tried my knees would swell up, so I started to look into gastric sleeve surgery as a last hope to change my life for the better. I wanted to get weight off so that my knee replacements would last longer and I knew the only way to do that was to lose the extra weight.

I had my consultation with Dr. Cottam in July of 2017. While meeting with him we both agreed that my best and only option was to have the surgery. I began the process of preparing paperwork and myself for this life-changing event. After many questions and researching, I scheduled my surgery for October 2, 2017. I had one week of an all liquid pre-op diet, which helped to prepare me for the transition into this lifestyle.

During that week I dropped 13 pounds. I was already starting to feel better and I hadn’t even had the surgery yet. My surgery went great. I was in the hospital for one night and felt ready to go home the next day.

I have found the diet plan that was given to me by Dr. Cottam has been easy to follow. It has been eight weeks since my surgery, and I am down 41 pounds!! I feel amazing, I have more energy, my knees feel great, and the best thing is my clothes that didn’t fit before the surgery are too big on me now.

Before the surgery I was a size 18W/20W and now I am a size 14/16. I have lost a total of 15 inches on my body.

Looking to the future I still have a lot more weight to lose and a lot more to learn about this new lifestyle with nutrition and exercise.

This procedure may not be the best fit for everyone, and I recommend doing research and checking with your health care provider to see what your best option is. But one thing I do know is that this is the best decision I could have made for myself and for my future.

Thanks to everyone for the ongoing support! Click here to follow my Losing for Life journey.