Boise woman steps into new life after losing 160 pounds

About a year-and-a-half ago, Shelly Houston decided she needed to make a huge change. she weighed more than 350 pounds and lost 160 through the Saint Alphonsus bariatric program. (Photo courtesy Shelly Houston)

One local woman's struggle with weight lead her to a new life.

"I was on the hot mess express health wise. I mean to see me I was always hair and makeup and jewelry and all smiles and laughter, the life of the party but inside I was dying." said Shelly Houston.

About a year-and-a-half ago, Houston decided she needed to make a change.

She weighed more than 350 pounds.

"It sneaks up on you and it's just little by little by little by little and its no one thing it's just this combination of factors that kind of form a perfect storm," said Houston.

She admits to being a bit of a food addict on top of working a high stress job, losing two loved ones, and having major surgery and kidney cancer.

Houston said, "I was probably on 8 to 10 to 12 prescription medications my asthma had become so terrible that i was on full time oxygen."

When she heard the bariatric program was being brought back to St. Alphonsus she jumped at the opportunity to meet with Dr. David Brown and became his first patient in the program.

The basic criteria for bariatric surgery is a body mass index between 35 and 40 with obesity related medical problems including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, sleep apnea and the risk for cardiovascualr disease, which Brown says is the most common killer in america.

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has even advocated the surgery for BMI of 30 and above.

"If you look at the risks associated with having bariatric surgery and you compare those risks with the risks of not having bariatric surgery the latter risks of not having bariatric surgery are significantly higher," said Dr. Brown.

After some candid conversations, consultations, and tests, Houston had the surgery.

In 18 months she has lost over 160 pounds and credits the surgery with saving her life.

"It isn't some magic pill or some you know easy fix. Some people think it's the easy way out. It's anything but it is hard work to have a surgery, like this it's just a tool. It's just one tool in your toolbox."

With a healthy diet and daily exercise program Houston is now off all of her medication and living a much better life.

She looks at pictures of herself thinking back on what she calls a sad life and looking forward to a bright future.

"When my mother died besides feeling bad about her death my biggest worry was that I didn't have a dress to wear to her funeral and that's something ridiculous to have to think about on a day as meaningful as that so sunshine and happiness ahead I hope."

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