Four years after her weight loss surgery, Polly Whalen from Monmouth County is a new person. Her current weight is 101.8 pounds. “Yes, I weigh myself every day,” she says with a smile. On the day of her bariatric surgery in 2012, Polly weighed 175 pounds. “Some people say I’m too thin, but I’m the right BMI for my size,” says the petite 4’11” busy wife and mother.
Family history of diabetes
Whalen has a long family history of diabetes: Her great-grandmother, great-aunt, uncle and father all died from complications due to uncontrolled blood sugar. “I was a diabetic for four years dependent upon medication to manage my blood sugar and kidneys,” says Polly. “I tried multiple times to lose weight and exercise, but I never could stick with it.” She was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes during both of her pregnancies.
Finally, at age 46, she was told by her doctor that she needed to start daily insulin, as the diabetes medicine was no longer working. “Going on insulin was not an option for me. It felt more like a death sentence. It was then I decided to look into weight loss surgery,” says Polly.
How this busy wife, mother and professional keeps her post-op weight in check
Polly has kept the 75 pounds she lost after gastric bypass by mostly by eating food for fuel, not comfort. My life has improved by not feeling so tired all the time and I have much more energy every day,” she says.
“The year before my surgery, my girlfriend and I went to the beach. We had to park far away and it was a long walk to get to the spot we wanted,” Polly recalls. “I had to stop multiple times just to catch my breath and rest.” The next year, three months after she had the gastric bypass, they went to the same beach, same spot. “This time, I didn’t need to rest. I got there and thought, ‘Wow, this is great.’
Polly admits she would love to say she exercises every day, but she doesn’t. “I go through stages. I joined a new fitness center recently and try to go at least twice a week.”
Advice about weight loss surgery
“Do it,” Polly says. But she adds that people need to emotionally and physically change the way they feel about food. Polly met regularly with a mental health professional before surgery and they talked about the role food played in her life.
“I believe this part of the bariatric process is part of the reason I’ve kept my weight off. I didn’t sit down for one session and leave, like most people do,” Polly remembers. “Weight loss surgery is only step one of many, and a lifelong commitment.”
Polly adds that she’s not perfect and sometimes eats too much, but her body will let her know. “My good days far outweigh my bad, and I don’t beat myself up – I just get back on track,” she says.
She has nothing but praise for Dr. Seun Sowemimo and his Prime Surgicare team. “Dr. Seun is the bomb! I love him,” she says. “He gave me my life back. He gave me everything I needed to be successful,” adding that from the moment she walked into the office, she knew Prime Surgicare was right for her.
“I have recommended Dr. Seun to many people who are battling obesity. I think that is the highest praise you can give a doctor.”
About Dr. Seun Sowemimo, MD, FACS
Dr. Seun is a top NJ bariatric surgeon and the medical director at Prime Surgicare, with offices in Freehold serving Monmouth and Ocean counties. He is board-certified, Columbia and Yale University fellowship-trained in advanced laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgery.
To learn more, visit his YouTube channel or call Prime Surgicare at (732)-982-2002.