Taking Control - Tanya's Story

Tanya Darling’s struggles with weight date back to her childhood; she was always the biggest kid in the class, even as a kindergartener.

As an adult, she had an even harder time, continuously gaining about ten pounds each year once she reached the age of 40. Social activities centered around food, and she typically avoided any events or activities that involved physical activity of any kind. Her weight, it seemed, was controlling her life.

At 344 pounds, Tanya scheduled an initial consultation with Andrew Averbach, MD, a well-known and respected bariatric surgeon at Saint Agnes Hospital. Based on the amount of weight she hoped to lose, Dr. Averbach recommended gastric bypass surgery. Surgery went well, and within the first month, Tanya saw her weight drop by 25 pounds. Fully committed to the nutritional and exercise guidelines outlined by Dr. Averbach and her bariatric care team, she was ecstatic when the time came to document her progress at the two-month, three-month, six-month, and 12-month marks; each and every time, she exceeded her weight loss goal.

Today, Tanya weighs 169 pounds and is officially in "maintenance mode." The woman who once preferred to park herself on the couch now has an abundance of energy, and it shows. She walks her dogs every day, enjoys traveling, and recently completed the 10K Across the Bay.

"Six point two miles across the Bay Bridge, and I didn't bat an eye," said Tanya. "I've learned that the decision to have surgery is about so much more than just an operation on your stomach. It's about embracing a new lifestyle, changing your mindset, and believing in yourself."

It still catches her off guard, however, when family members, friends, and even strangers on the street mention how "skinny" Tanya is. It's not a word that she ever associated with herself, until recently.

"A few years ago, I was so heavy that I had to buy two seats on an airplane, so its safe to say I look completely different these days," said Tanya, age 47. "Sometimes I still surprise myself when I look in the mirror."

In 2019, Tanya plans to go on a hot air balloon ride. It's something she always longed to do, but couldn't due to maximum weight limitations. It's a bucket list item that she's beyond excited to experience.

"It will be another milestone to make me feel proud of how far I've come," said Tanya. "I am going up in a hot air balloon because I can."