Before her gastric band surgery (commonly referred to as lap band), Belinda's weight fluctuated between 203 and 205.
Today, she's a Zumba™ instructor who works out six days a week and maintains her weight below 135.
"Oddly, I had never liked to exercise," says Belinda, who is 4'11".
"As a teenager I weighed between 115 and 118, and after my first child I went back to 120. Six years later, after I had my second child, I gradually started gaining weight. Along with the weight gain came insecurities, feelings of shame and low self-worth, but like so many other mothers, I put my family first and settled comfortably into my life, despite the price I was paying with my physical appearance, my emotions and my health."
Belinda's health had begun to deteriorate. In addition to the general aches and pains that accompany excess pounds, she developed heart palpitations and sleep apnea.
"I had to wear a CPAP machine that disturbed my sleep. Without it, I would awaken at night gasping for air and pray to wake up in the morning and live another day," she says.
"So, I started considering weight-loss surgery. My health problems were beginning to scare me, and my husband kept saying that we were going to retire early and he wanted me to be here to enjoy it. I finally thought, 'Enough is enough!'"
At the time of her surgery, she was 36. "I had one pair of size 18 capri pants that fit and refused to buy anything else in that size," she says. "So I'd squeeze into a 16, and it looked horrible. Now I'm between a 4 and a 6, depending on the brand."
I researched various doctors and every bariatric procedure available. Dr. Davis was the third doctor I saw, and everything just fell into place. It was meant to be.
"My husband is very supportive of my new life" she adds.
"It took him a while to see the results because he sees me every day. Now, when I try on something new, he looks me up and down with a smile on his face and says, 'You look fabulous.' We've been together for 21 years and he's seen me small, big and small again. I have so much energy now that it's hard for him to keep up with me."
Belinda advises people interested in weight-loss surgery to do the research.
"I researched various doctors and every bariatric procedure available. Dr. Davis was the third doctor I saw, and everything just fell into place. It was meant to be."
"My surgery was really a new beginning for me," she says. "My entire attitude and demeanor has changed. I'm more social and talkative, and my husband says I carry myself differently. I would never have imagined myself as a Zumba instructor. My life has changed beyond my wildest dreams."