Juana Lisboa is a rockstar. She’s a power lifter who’s a ball of energy. Frankly, she makes me tired and she inspires me. This social worker with a heart of gold is a member of my Bariatric Badass group on Facebook. More importantly, she’s also a friend. Let’s see what she’s willing to share with us, shall we?
Please provide a brief introduction to yourself – name, any stats you want to include and a bit about what you do and how the surgery has impacted you so far.
Hi! My name is Juana and I am 38 years old. My family is from Spain and I spent many summers there as a child. I currently speak 4 languages and I’m looking forward to adding more to my list. I have been married to my amazing husband for 8 years. I work as a Social Worker at a preschool, and I also have a second job at a hospital. I got the sleeve on 4/30/2018. I’m 5’6 and my starting weight was 300 lbs. I have lost 70 lbs so far. I still haven’t decided what my goal weight will be, but I’m trying to get to 200 and see how I feel before deciding on a goal. Surgery has changed my life for the better. I was always afraid to speak up and advocate for myself because my anxiety was so bad. Since surgery, I stand up for myself a little more and I don’t back down as much as before.
Juana, why did you choose to have Weight Loss surgery?
Weight loss surgery was something that was always in the back of my mind, but not something I ever thought I would do. I have many friends and some family members who have undergone surgery and have been very successful, but it just wasn’t an option for me. I started my weight loss journey 11 years ago but wasn’t successful despite all the dieting and exercise I did. I’m a stubborn person by nature and I would always turn the idea of surgery down because I was convinced it would be the easy way out for me and I needed to do it on my own. I felt having surgery meant I was giving up on myself and I would grow to resent it. All that changed at the beginning of this year when my husband and I saw a fertility specialist. The doctor spent the majority of our appointment focused on my weight and let us knows that there was nothing she could do for us unless my BMI was under 42. I walked out of there feeling defeated and angry that I would have to do something I was adamant I would never get done. But I knew that I wanted to be a mom more than anything, so I had already set my mind on surgery by the time I got to my car. The next day I called the first doctor that came up on my Google search, and had surgery 2 months later. I’ve been lucky. I have an amazing support system that rallied behind me once I decided to go for it.
Can you tell us a little bit about your surgery journey?
Once I decided I would have the surgery, there was no turning back. Whenever I set my mind on something, there’s nothing that can be said or done to change it. The timeframe from initial consultation to surgery was 2 months, and everything seemed to fall into place as soon as I made my decision. Although I had decided to have surgery, I still dealt with an internal battle. Part of me was excited because this surgery would lead to the end goal of being a mom, but the other part of me was angry with myself because I “failed”. I don’t handle failure well (or feeling like a failure) and I felt myself spiraling back into my depression. I didn’t struggle with the physical part of the journey. The surgery itself and the plan my doctor and nutritionist have me on weren’t difficult. It’s basically the same plan I had myself on over the years. The struggle for me came with the mental aspect, with coming to terms with the fact that I permanently altered my body…that I didn’t lose the weight on my own terms. I don’t regret it at all, but a small part of me is stuck on the “what ifs”.
When did you have your surgery? What type of surgery did you have?
I got the sleeve on 4/30/2018.
What advice would you give to folks contemplating the surgery? What have you learned as a result of being a WLS survivor?
My advice would be to work on their relationship with food before having surgery. I feel the process was a bit easier for me because I started to work on my issues with food and to learn healthier coping mechanisms years ago. There’s no way I would have been able to successfully go through this process 5 years ago.
What are some of your non-scale victories? How much weight have you lost? How much weight do you hope to lose?
Some of my non-scale victories are feeling confident about myself and my abilities at work. I’m not afraid to advocate for myself now. And of course buying cute clothes. I lost 70 lbs so far and I’m hoping to at least lose another 30.
What makes you a badass? I’ve got some ideas, but I want to hear yours.
I never shy away from a challenge, no matter how much it terrifies me. I don’t allow fear to hold me back from anything I want to do. When I decided to work on my relationship with food a few years back, I jumped in feet first and tackled every single one of those issues. I also work 2 jobs, care for my parents, supporting my husband with his education, I’m currently helping a friend with their business, and no matter how busy I am I always make time for friends and family…and I do all this with a smile on my face and no complaints lol.
What’s next up for you? (feel free to talk about your career, future goals etc.)
I’m currently working on starting a blog, but I haven’t decided which direction I want it to go. My mind is constantly going in a million different directions and it’s hard for me to settle on just one thing. I’ve also been thinking about going back to school for a PhD or second Masters, so hopefully I can make that happen in the next few years. My amazing trainer introduced me to powerlifting a few years back, and getting back to it has been my main focus. Who knows, maybe I’ll compete soon 😉
But becoming a mom is definitely at the top of the list!
Juana, thank you for your time and your badassery. Love you.