Kim Rivera, of Pennsville, has been overweight most of her life. When she was 17, she lost her mother unexpectedly. She turned to food to help cope with her grief. That’s when her weight spiraled out of control.
At her heaviest, Rivera weighed 395 pounds.
In July 2020, she decided to have Bariatric Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery with Dr. Harish Kakkilaya.
“I wanted to get control of my health and my life for the sake of myself and my family,” said Rivera.
One week before her 28th birthday, on Nov. 17, 2020 — at 358 pounds — Rivera had surgery. Today, she has lost more than 160 pounds and continues losing.
“Before surgery, I found it extremely difficult to do normal things like tie my shoes, walk up a flight of stairs and fit into a booth at a restaurant,” she said. “With each passing year, I was isolating myself more and more to avoid the humiliation of my weight prohibiting me from enjoying myself.”
But her biggest motivation? Her 5-year-old her son.
“Since losing weight, it’s much easier to keep up with him,” she said. “He deserves the very best version of me and I’m proud to be able to give that to him now.”
Before surgery, her diet consisted of fried, fatty, greasy foods loaded with carbohydrates and sugars.
“It was emotionally challenging to change those habits,” she said. “I make sure to focus on protein first with every meal, and I limit the amount of carbs and sugars I consume.”
She also lives by the idea of “moderation, not deprivation.”
“I believe that’s where long-term success lies — when you know you can satisfy a craving with just one or two small bites,” she said.
Rivera is grateful to Dr. Kakkilaya and his entire team for her success.
“It’s hard for me to put into words how thankful I am for Dr. Kakkilaya and his wonderful team,” she said. “Dr. Kakkilaya’s honesty coupled with his bedside manner put me at ease every step of the way. Many of his staff members have also had bariatric surgery with him, so there’s an immediate connection.”
Rivera said she would recommend Dr. Kakkilaya to anyone thinking about bariatric surgery.
“If you’re thinking of doing this but have reservations, my advice would be just go for it!” she said. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. My only regret is not doing it sooner. If there was only one thing for me to give, it would be to motivate anyone who is struggling with their weight. Motivation truly is the key to success.”
Follow Rivera’s weight loss journey on Instagram @KimmiGotSleeved.
“I truly believe Dr. K saved my life,” she said.
Patients now have the option of self-pay for bariatric procedures. For more information and to schedule a consultation, call 856-823-4288 or visit bariatric surgery.