When Steven and Nashia Fife met while serving in the military, they were very much the outdoorsy types. They later took their children to all the sites, hiking their way through nature.
At some point, that changed.
“We were watching nature documentaries instead of going out into the woods,” Steven said.
That wasn’t the only thing that changed. On a family trip to Disney World, Steven noticed his feet were swollen. Nashia said they’d have to go back to the hotel to rest and change clothes because the walking and the heat really got to them.
Over the years, the 10-15 pound weight gain annually took its toll. “It just felt gross,” Nashia said. “I didn’t like the way I looked, the way I felt.”
“There’s a breaking point,” Steven chimes in. “You realize, ‘I have to fix this.’”
The couple had tried “so many bad diets,” and while they may have worked short-term, the weight “comes back with a vengeance,” Steven said.
Nashia talked with a friend who had weight loss surgery and had lost a significant amount of weight. “The more I talked to her, the more I realized this was possible and might be what I needed,” she said.
She researched all the centers in Kentucky and landed on Saint Joseph East. “The Bariatric Center of Excellence was a real selling point,” Steven said.
The couple scheduled a seminar and did as much research as possible. The seminar answered a lot of questions for them and weight loss surgery went from vague concept to a point that they realized, “We can really do this.”
Through the lengthy pre-op period, the Fifes realized they needed to change a few bad habits. One of them was giving up soda, which, Nashia said, boosted her confidence. “I thought, if I can give up soda, surgery is going to be a breeze,” she said. For his part, Steven admitted never thinking surgery was going to be a breeze.
Nashia went first. Her surgery was Dec. 21, 2017. Steven asked if she really wanted to have the surgery right before Christmas. “She said, ‘that’s old thinking that I have to put this off because of food,” Steven said.
She spent the night in the hospital and had a few days of discomfort, which she countered by walking. Steven had surgery April 5, 2018. Since their surgeries, Nashia has lost 85 pounds and Steven has lost 120 pounds.
But the nonscale victories have been just as important and every bit as life-changing. Nashia, an adjunct faculty member at Morehead State University, found the confidence to ask for a full-time teaching assignment. She is now part of the full-time faculty, teaching all the introduction to psychology classes, at Morehead.
“It was a dream come true,” she said. “Everything kind of fell into place.”
Steven defended his master’s thesis this summer and is looking to the future with more confidence. “Once you see you can lose weight, everything else becomes possible,” he said. “This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.”
The couple has a blog, life love and losing weight, where they share their story. They know from experience that seeing the success of others can serve as a motivation.
“My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner,” Nashia said.