Kaleigh came to Nicholson Clinic for gastric sleeve surgery in November 2021. In seven months, she shed more than 100 pounds! This is her inspiring story.
Life Before Surgery
“Life before my surgery was truly a night and day difference from where I am today. I was living what I thought was a very fulfilling life. I was teaching dance at a local high school and doing my best every day to be a great role model and mentor to young people.
“Teaching dance was definitely not easy being over 300 pounds, and there was always a silent stigma around being overweight in my profession that I carried on my back for many years. I always found myself needing to explain or justify my training or knowledge base in dance and prove to everyone around me that I truly was a great teacher and knew what I was talking about even though I was so heavy. The dance world itself is a very challenging one to be in if you are overweight, but it is one of my greatest passions in life so I chose to fight that battle each and every day.
“I remember having days where my body hurt so bad after a full day of teaching that I truly felt like I had the flu. I was always tired, exhausted in fact, and spent the majority of my free time on the couch or napping to catch up for the next day. I would have many weekends where I would just stay in bed because I didn’t have the energy to get up and get ready to go out with friends. This was so frustrating to me because I felt like I was in a vicious cycle with food that I just couldn’t break free from.
“I’m a super extroverted person who thrives off of the energy of others, and my weight began to truly isolate me over the past few years before surgery. Even before my surgery though, I was constantly trying to lose weight. It may sound crazy, but I feel like I’ve been trying to lose weight since elementary school with varying degrees of temporary success. You can name every weight loss program, diet plan, lifestyle change, workout plan, etc. and I promise I have tried it and given it my all!
“What I realized in the fall of 2020 was that if I didn’t change my relationship with food I wouldn’t ever be successful at losing weight and keeping it off. I began searching for support on how to change my relationship with food into a positive one.
“One day I stumbled across an Instagram account that focused on intuitive eating, and the importance of listening to your body when it comes to food. I immediately reached out to the owner of the account, Mrs. Stefanie Bonastia and asked her what she could do to help me. She immediately welcomed me into her life and practice with open arms. She happened to be all the way across the country in New Jersey very close to the city in which I was actually born. We don’t think this was a coincidence! I joined a 9-month program with her, where we talked through video chat for 1 hour a week. I was also able to message her for support at any time throughout the week in between our sessions on a messaging app.
“Stefanie and I talked through everything from my childhood, to where I was in that moment, and she was so incredibly insightful in helping me determine where my relationship with food had become so complicated. She helped me process those emotions, and work through them in a positive way, all while helping me reshape my mindset around food. She without a doubt changed my life forever.
“Close to the end of our program, I talked to her about how I was considering weight loss surgery, and she was so very supportive! I remember her telling me that I had done the emotional prep work to take on weight loss surgery with a healthy emotional and mental outlook. Her opinion meant so much to me, and she probably doesn’t realize this, but she’s a huge part of what gave me the courage and confidence to finally schedule my first appointment with Dr. Nick!”
The Nicholson Clinic Experience
“The process of working with the Nicholson clinic has been wonderful from day 1, and I still feel very supported today at 7 months post op. The staff was so friendly and kind, and Dr. Nicholson made me feel important from the minute I met him.
“On the day of my surgery, I was shocked to find that I wasn’t nervous at all because Dr. Nick had assured me that everything would go perfectly. He is so genuine and caring, and I am so glad I chose him to be my surgeon!
“I loved getting to work with Ren after my surgery. I had many questions as I began my life after surgery, and Ren was always so patient and positive with me in her responses. She made sure she always responded in a timely manner and provided me with the most thorough information to help me the best she could.
“The Nicholson Clinic will always be near and dear to my heart because Dr. Nick truly gave me my life back! I am so much more confident now, and feel like I’m loving life and able to live every minute to the fullest!”
Life After Surgery
“My life now is such a joy, and a blessing that I don’t take lightly! I have so much more confidence and more importantly so much more energy and drive in my life than I can ever remember having before my surgery. I am 7 months post-op as of June 16, 2022 and I have lost 107 pounds!
“Physically I am able to fit into clothes that I never thought I’d be able to again! I look in the mirror and I see a much more confident version of myself and one that I’m truly proud of! Emotionally, I feel so happy all the time. I am able to dance for myself again which brings me the greatest joy! I am able to ride my bike, walk long distances, and keep up with my schedule at work. It’s an absolutely incredible feeling! So many people have told me that my eyes sparkle more, and my smile says it all. They can see the difference in me from within, and for that, I am so thankful!”