Before and AfterProfessor Lisa Sargese is a warrior for wellness and truth. As a teenager she survived a devastating car accident that left her on crutches for 3 years, has suffered major depression for most of her life (and is healing presently),  is recovering from a debilitating eating disorder that began at age 5, survived major complications from multiple weight loss surgeries including the lap band and gastric bypass, toughed it out in a wheelchair for years prior to two total knee replacements, is making sense of her childhood as the daughter of a mother with NPD,  and is forming a positive body image in spite of society’s unkind beauty standards.

Prof Lisa has been teaching college courses on religion, women’s studies, and psychology for over twelve years. She holds two master’s degrees, one in theological studies from Drew University and one in counseling and human services from Montclair State University.

Dedicated to helping people live healthier, happier lives, she is a certified hypnotist-counselor and trained Qigong therapist. Professor Sargese speaks and blogs on a number of personal development topics, including goal-reaching, recovery, the mind-body connection, spirituality, and healing. In 2009, she received the Mirror Mirror Award for her work in body positivity and eating disorder recovery. In 2012 she was honored with the Tikkun Olam Award for her interfaith work.

Lisa’s Story

I had my first weight loss surgery at age 23 in 1988 as part of Dr. Lubomyr Kuzmak’s experimental group that received the first adjustable gastric band in the USA (not called the lap band as it was done via open abdominal incision). When sprang a leak I received another gastric band via open surgery in 1993. After the port flipped over inside me I decided to just live with it rather than undergo yet another surgery. The band, now empty of all its saline, allowed most foods to pass through with no restriction.

My weight reached its highest (400+ pounds) in 2006, Meanwhile the old gastric band dug painfully into my stomach causing adhesions and complications that frightened off most of the surgeons I approached to remove it. I finally had a revision from the band to an RNY gastric bypass in 2006 by the highly skilled Dr. Daniel Davis.

Riding the honeymoon-high of rapid weight loss from post-op restriction and over-consumption of energy drinks to fuel my nearly compulsive exercising, I lost over 120 pounds in less than a year. The next year I lost only 20 pounds. Then I hit a plateau and my energy bottomed out. I was too fatigued to do much of anything except teach and blog. Half the weight came back even though I was consuming a restricted amount of food. My body began to break down from exhaustion and lack of nourishment. My hair fell out in handfuls and my complexion looked grey (the WLS world calls it ‘grey ghost syndrome’). I spent 2 years in a wheelchair due to severe, deforming arthritis and multiple knee surgeries.  Eventually I had two total knee replacements and regained my ability to walk.

I blogged every day for almost 9 years recording every breakdown and achievement, every new diet approach, regain, and loss. I am now in the process of converting these blog posts into books chronicling my life year by year since the gastric bypass.

Through my books, CDs, and YouTube videos, share in my life lessons as I recover from depression, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, anemia, adrenal fatigue, crippling body shame, and a severe binge eating disorder. I’ve learned the hard way that “eating less and exercising more” is not a guarantee of thinness and that thinness is not a reliable determinant of health or happiness.

I’m learning how to be gentle on myself, practicing self acceptance, responding to what my body needs, and changing my thought habits to create a life I love. I want to share my life lessons with you!

Read my book on Kindle or paperback for the story of my first year after weight loss surgery!