BB&W Exclusive: Cher Smith’s Weight Loss Transformation

When Cher shared her “before” pictures, I could hardly recognize her. Of course there was a wisp of the Cher I’d come to know over the last 2.5 years, but the difference was clear.

Cher decided to share with us this very personal, very AWESOME life-changing decision to lose the weight…for good.

How did you do it, Cher?

In 2002, I underwent the Roux-en-Y, one of many types of Gastric Bypass procedures.

How has it worked out for you?

Wonderfully! The changes have overall met and exceeded my expectations. I lost around 90lbs in a little over two years. Each situation varies, but I spent four days in the hospital with about two weeks of light-duty recuperation.

Have you kept the weight off?

I’ve “recovered” about 20 of those lost pounds over the last eight years….LOL! Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) patients can expect to gradually regain SOME of their weight over time. Even still I need to periodically check myself to ensure that the weight stays under control. But nevertheless, I am committed to a healthier lifestyle. By the way, I can thank Christelyn for coaching me on losing eight of those recent unwanted pounds thus far!

What made you decide on Gastric Bypass Surgery?

The battle with obesity began in my pre-teen years. I began picking up weight at an alarming rate. Like many Black women in the same situation, poverty, a negative environment, abuse/neglect and a lack of resources were all catalysts. As many have discovered…The longer we’ve been obese and the higher our weight is, the more difficult it is to lose.

So what was your highest weight?

Around 240…And at 5’2 that’s no joke. I’m about 160 now, but my goal is 145-150. That sounds high, but anything less than 140 and they’ll be checking my purse for illegal substances.

What would you advise those who are considering Gastric Bypass Surgery?

First and Foremost: DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE! Readers have heard this statement from me on numerous occasions. Although WLS is more common nowadays, please remember that it is still SURGERY. I am not trying to frighten anyone, but realize that patients do occasionally have complications, or even die afterwards. This is not for everyone. Certain criteria must be met before Gastric Bypass Surgery is even considered.

But speaking for myself, I would have rather died then have spent the rest of my life in that condition…The individual has to ultimately decide what its worth to them!

Gastric bypass is a TOOL (think of using a nail gun as opposed to a hammer and nails). One must still adequately prepare and take proper precautions. Please utilize the professional resources provided below and consult with qualified physicians who SPECIALIZE in bariatric surgery –Not those who perform this delicate procedure as a side venture or a novice.

What options are out there?

There are a few variations of Weightloss Surgery. The list includes Sleeve Gastrectomy, Adjustable Gastric Band, Proximal Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Medial Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, and the Duodenal Switch.

Some would say you took the easy way out…Any thoughts?

The patient who opts for weight loss surgery is not off the hook, free to move about life as they were. After losing a certain amount of weight determined by diet, exercise, genetics, other lifestyle factors and overall health, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN! This procedure merely gives the patient enough time to get their act together –physically and mentally. I implore anyone considering this to begin working on inner healing ASAP. Your life will change immensely. Possessing the tools to deal with both you and “THEM” is essential.

What was/is your biggest challenge? How did you overcome?

The way people reacted to an obese Cher vs. a thinner one. Some whom I considered friends did not want to be around me as much (if at all). This is another unexpected (although common) occurrence which can greatly affect our psyche if not prepared. Over the years, I’ve come to understand this ugly side to human nature. It is more about the other person’s internal “junk,” than it is about us. However, reasons do not matter when it comes to betrayal or the failure to support someone we call a friend. I’ve had so-called “friends” who would take advantage of my expertise and resources, only to turn around and pull a Judas. They would swipe at my victories and question my motives for having the surgery. When that wasn’t enough, these “friends” would then try and have me isolated from our peer-group. Thankfully, my resolve was strong and I did not cave to such pressure!

Weight is a HIGHLY sensitive topic with many Black women…What’s your take Cher?

The Black women bloggers/mentors are not placing emphasis on our weight simply to be hurtful. Those too close to the problem often react with indignation and anger because of their personal situations appearing to be hopeless. It is psychologically taxing to learn that certain elements of our basic upbringing were inherently wrong…So now when we’re looking at a 50, 75, 100lb mountain sitting before us, it is indeed overwhelming. Clearing this hurdle, in my opinion, is one of the biggest challenges for Black Women Interest bloggers. However I implore Black women (on either side)not to get all butt-hurt whenever this topic arises. Many who have been obese for a great portion of their lives just can’t see a way out. And I’m here to assure our readers that being overweight is not insurmountable. YES, it will take dedication and perseverance, but is very much feasible.

Look ladies…The “You Go Gurl” crew is determined to co-sign us right into a life of loneliness, despair and early grave. Black women…I want you to be at your prime, in tip-top shape. Someone who doesn’t care would not take the time out to share these things. Please examine the spirit behind “You Go Gurl” factions. This notorious group is interchangeable and can be comprised of any gender, sex, political affiliation or religious background. These are the people who have an interest in maintaining a certain hierarchy. We make a grave tactical error when going by what everyone else says without considering their actions. The dysfunctional cheer leading squad doesn’t want to deal with their “stuff” either. Some “You Go Gurl” crew mates do not want to see us as legitimate candidates for “face time” –if you get my drift. The expiration date has long since passed to slaughter this ‘sacred cow’.

A MESSAGE FOR MENTORS WHO COME UP AGAINST “BONDAGE RESPONSES”:

• “Not everyone can be a size 2… ”
• “If a man is superficial and doesn’t look past things like weight & appearance, then he’s not worth my time…”

Sounds familiar?

Don’t worry, there’s nothing further you could have said or done that would have made any difference. Some are just determined not to progress any further than where they are. People are often distracted by the miniscule grains of truth contained in such statements. Most are shamed into silence when “stuck” folk begin tossing around inflammatory retorts. Anything remotely hinting at a speaker being “judgmental” is often enough to silence the discussion. PC versions of “Treasure Your Health” often fall on deaf ears.

Do not outsmart yourselves and stop the pretend game!

Anyone who is “stuck” needs to realize true and lasting change will only come when proactive measures are taken. Progress is not changing the caliber of gun with which we shoot ourselves in the foot with. Contemplate short and long term goals honestly. Develop a gameplan with assistance from those with proven track records.

Do you have any final thoughts for “Beyond Black & White” readers?

I felt it was important to share my story with hopes of motivating other Black women. Do not allow anyone to talk you out of going for BEST, as opposed to “just fine” & “good enough.” Weight loss surgery may not be in the cards for some, but I’m still holding the reader accountable to take charge of their lives. There are a plethora of resources out there. If you’re overweight or obese, get help and participate in one or more programs TODAY…Just do what needs to be done!

Gastric Bypass Resources:

ObesityHelp

NLM/NIH

Center For Weightloss Surgery

WLSHelp

WeightLossSurgeryChannel

 

About Cher

Cher is a life coach and author of the book “Black Women Deserve Better™”. She is also founder and admin of several forums by the same name (AKA BWDB™). The BWDB mission and focus is guiding Black women to increased mental emancipation, awareness and abundance; expanding their options in every facet of life. Our members provide invaluable tools to educate on maximizing areas of opportunity.

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