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Gastric sleeve surgery helps first-grade teacher lose 115 pounds

Caroline Jones, 53, of Valley Stream, is pictured

Caroline Jones, 53, of Valley Stream, is pictured in June 2015, when she weighed 258 pounds, and in a more recent photo, showing off her more than 100-pound weight loss. Photo Credit: Lauren Marrero; John Paraskevas

Caroline Jones

53, Valley Stream

Occupation First-grade teacher

Height 5 feet

Before 258 June 2015

Current 143 March 2017

HER STORY

Caroline Jones says it was only after high school that she started putting on weight. She went on diets periodically and her weight went up and down accordingly. But after two pregnancies she developed a thyroid problem and her weight only went up. Jones was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and had radiation therapy. “After the radiation I went into such a funk that I gained 50 pounds within a few months,” Jones said. “But in July of 2015 I decided I needed to do something, telling myself, ‘The breast cancer’s not going to kill you but this weight will.’ ”

She followed a recommendation from her primary care physician about weight loss surgery and opted for gastric sleeve surgery where a “sleeve” is created from 20 percent of the stomach using a stapling device and the rest of the stomach is removed. Jones says she did very well with the recovery and lost about five pounds a week.

“It forces you to stop eating when you’re full. You can’t keep eating or you’ll throw up,” said Jones, who lost 115 pounds in one year. She now revels in wearing a size 8 dress (down from a 24) and not having to shop in what she calls the “big-girl stores.”

Of the weight loss surgery, Jones says, “It’s just a tool; you have to work with it. If you don’t follow instructions, you’ll gain weight.”

HER DIET

Breakfast can be either a hard-boiled egg, protein bar or protein shake. She snacks on cheese midmorning (she says part of the program is committing to snacking on only protein). For lunch she wraps two slices of turkey around a slice of avocado and has two of those. Sometimes she dips them in salsa. She has an afternoon protein snack, and dinner is either chicken, fish, pork chops or an omelet along with a vegetable. “We’re told to eat the protein first and, if there’s room, then vegetables.”

HER EXERCISE

Before starting her current chemo treatment for a recurrence of breast cancer, Jones was walking 15-20 minutes three times a week and exercising using Cize, a dance/exercise video. Lately she’s been considering joining a gym.

HER ADVICE

“I highly recommend surgery for those who are considering it. For people who have a lot of weight to lose and feel defeated and overwhelmed, this can make it easier. It’s rough the first week, but after that it’s much easier. I’m very happy with my success.”

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