Jill Smisek is a Celina resident and real estate agent who has become known for supporting local. She often gives of herself and her time to local schools, charities and fellow business owners. In our interview with Jill, she shares her path to not only caring for her community but also caring for herself.
Tell us about your weight loss journey and the lead up to your procedure?
My journey, like many others, has had MANY ups and downs over the years. It all began after my first baby was born… and then my second came just 13 months later. Deep in the throes of motherhood, I was constantly taking care of everyone else but me. I tried every program and “diet” under the sun and even sought out therapy. I was constantly looking for a magic bullet to make the weight disappear. Although I did not have any of the “typical” food issues, I really wanted to get to the bottom of “why” I was doing this because nothing was working.
Over the years, I had thought about surgery a few different times, but always told myself that I just needed to “eat less and move more”. While that does help, when your body has been in such an unhealthy place for so long, that method doesn’t always get the job done. Finally, I had ENOUGH. I had a few other people in my life who had the procedure and told me how life changing it was. I did some research and made an appointment with the doctor. Once I fully understood what it entailed, I went forward with the decision to take charge of my life. It was the absolute BEST thing I have done for myself, and my family. I include my family in this because they are a big part of my “why”. I want to be there for them and for the future… I want to be able to run around with my (future) grandchildren and just be comfortable in my skin.
Specifically, what procedure did you receive and why did you choose that one?
The official medical term is “vertical sleeve gastrectomy” or VSG. It is a procedure where approximately 75-85% of your stomach is removed, leaving you a “sleeve” of a stomach. There are many different types of procedures that can be done, but this best met my needs.
Did you have specific goals in mind when choosing this path?
My ultimate goal when I made this choice was to change my life for the better. I wanted to be healthy on the inside… but I am vain enough to admit I also wanted to look a certain way on the outside. By having this procedure, I have been able to achieve both. I am still shocked at how much better I feel and how much easier it is to not only do the day-to-day things, but also to move my body in ways I was never able to before.
How effective was it in helping you realize those goals?
This procedure has been the tool that I have needed all these years. The surgery isn’t a magic fix or an easy button. There is a lot more that goes into it than you think, but by having a smaller stomach, it has allowed me to learn how to better listen to my body.
What do you think people considering the procedure should know?
I suggest that anyone thinking of doing this, make sure you are ready to face all the mental challenges that come with it. Although I can’t eat as much as before, I have been shocked at how much of this process has been mental. As I have heard many different mindset coaches and dietitians say on their podcasts, “the surgery is on your stomach, not your mind”. As I am nearing the end of the “honeymoon” phase, it is more and more important to constantly be checking in with myself to make sure I am working through all the mental aspects of this journey. I would begin by reading mindset books, researching the ways to be successful after surgery, listening to podcasts, and just fully immersing yourself in the lifestyle that you want. Much of my inspiration and guidance has come from friends or the people I follow online. I have found an amazing community of people online that are so willing to share their struggles and triumphs along their journey.
Never lose sight of the fact that if you don’t make significant changes in the way you are living your life, you won’t see the results. Those lifestyle changes have been easier for me to make because of my tool. Working out in ways I’ve never been able to before, pushing my body to do things I never pictured myself doing, and becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be has been the greatest part of my journey.
Are there things you would do differently?
My biggest regret is not doing it sooner. That said, I don’t know if I was mentally ready sooner. I wish I hadn’t spent so many years judging myself and constantly talking myself out of doing this. In my mind, I was telling myself that I was just lazy and needed to work harder. We are all worthy of having the life we desire.
What's next in your journey?
The next step in my journey is maintenance, which to be honest, is scary. I have spent 20+ years trying to lose weight, so I honestly don’t have the slightest clue how to maintain. I have been researching to find the best bariatric-specific dietician for me, to help guide through this next phase. I want to ensure that my old ways don’t creep back, so the mindset work will also never stop.
Jill Smisek, Realtor