Elma “Jasmine” Jimenez Shares Her Weight-loss Success Story
July 25, 2023
For as long as she can remember, Elma “Jasmine” Jimenez had issues with her weight. She describes herself as the classic “yo-yo” dieter, who followed the latest dieting trend to lose some weight, only to put it back on. Finding clothes that fit comfortably was difficult, and she didn’t feel good in her own skin. “The real catalyst for me was when my mother died from health complications. She always wanted to have the weight-loss surgery, but she had congestive heart failure, so she was not a candidate. I didn’t want that to happen to me,” says Jimenez. “I want to be here for my children and grandchildren.”
After her mother’s passing, Jimenez learned she was prediabetic and decided it was time to take control of her life and her health. A friend recently had weight-loss surgery and was happy with her results, so Jimenez contacted her for the name of the doctor, Bariatric Surgeon Sarvenaz Nouri, MD. Jimenez made an appointment with Dr. Nouri, and says from that point on, her life was changed.
“I really connected with Dr. Nouri and followed her advice. I also attended the nutrition classes through her practice, and lost 50 pounds before the surgery,” says Jimenez. “The classes made me realize all the bad stuff I was eating, like the daily sodas, the Starbucks trips several times a day, the potato chips, and all the junk food. I was feeding my emotions, and all this junk was going to destroy me if I didn’t stop it.”
Determination and Patience
Jimenez says Dr. Nouri’s office has a protocol and certain tests need to be done before surgery can be approved. One of those tests was a sleep study, and Jimenez learned that she had severe sleep apnea and needed to use a CPAP machine at night. “My grandkids told me that I would stop breathing while I was sleeping, and I didn’t believe them. But this test showed otherwise,” she says.
Just after starting her appointments at Dr. Nouri’s, the COVID-19 pandemic started, so Jimenez maintained her appointments with Dr. Nouri through web calls, but attended the nutrition classes in person. She learned that since her surgery was elective, it would be put on hold for a while. “Dr. Nouri told me not to worry, because as soon as they got approved for elective surgeries, I was on the list,” says Jimenez. Her patience paid off, and on August 3, 2021, Jimenez had her life-altering surgery. “It was one year from my first appointment to my surgery,” she says. “But it was worth the wait. I was re-born because of it.”
Dr. Nouri performed a gastric bypass using the da Vinci® robotic surgical system. “I was in Corona Regional Medical Center for three days and had an amazing patient experience. Dr. Nouri also removed my gallbladder, since I had previous issues with gallstones. The nurses and whole surgical team were so kind and supportive. They checked on me frequently to make sure I was drinking enough. They never made me feel uncomfortable, instead, I felt like a celebrity,” she says.
Jimenez also says her pain was minimal, enabling her to get up and move around, which is recommended. After her discharge, she followed Dr. Nouri’s protocol and the weight kept coming off. She continued with the appointments, nutrition classes, and support group meetings. Her confidence grew with every pound she lost. She felt better, joined a gym and worked out more, and really focused on eating healthy foods. “Losing weight is a head game. I have to look at food like if I don’t need it, I am not going to eat it. I am not going to gain this weight back,” she says. “I know people who had the surgery and gained the weight back. I have worked too hard for this, and I feel amazing!”
Jimenez also advises that you have to find what works for you. “There are so many ways to prepare food in a healthy way. Protein is a major part of my diet, and using protein powder is a real game changer. You can do so much with it!” she says.
The Biggest Challenge
When asked what the biggest challenge of her journey was so far, she said her temporary hair loss. “I knew this was a potential side effect, because rapid weight loss is a shock to the body. But I knew it would grow back, and I just wore wigs once in a while. I will take the hair loss and loose skin after losing all the weight,” she says. Jimenez can’t say enough about Dr. Nouri’s role in her success. “Dr. Nouri was and is so supportive and was there for me throughout my journey. Even now, if I call her office, she calls me back the same day,” says Jimenez. “She has helped give me my life back, and I recommend her to anyone who asks.”
Jimenez wants to share her story because she wants to inspire people. She has lost 200 pounds, and went from a size 26-28 to a size 11. “I have gained so much of my life back – I can now tie my shoes, I can fly without a seatbelt extender, and I can go on the rides at Disneyland. I can also run, go to the gym, and wear high heels,” she says. “I was so big for so long and was not living life. I no longer have back problems, sleep apnea, and am no longer pre-diabetic. I feel great!”
"Do It For You!"
What advice would she give to others who are on the fence about weight-loss surgery? “Don’t be scared of the journey – do it for yourself, for your life. The surgery is just a tool to help and guide you to where you need to be. You still need to put in the work, or else you will gain it back,” she says. “It’s now a healthy journey I will be on the rest of my life, and I don’t ever want to look back!”
Jimenez is very active on social media and shares videos that help others. “I want people to know they can do this, and I am proof. I want to inspire as many people as possible to get healthy so they can live life to the fullest,” she says. “Follow my TikTok, jassy.jay143, to see pictures and videos of my weight-loss journey.”
Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric or robotic surgery is right for you.
About Dr. Nouri
Sarvenaz Nouri, MD, is a bariatric surgeon who specializes in robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgeries (vertical sleeve gastrectomy, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, bilio-pancreatic diversion with duodenal switch), hiatal hernia repair and foregut surgeries. To schedule an appointment, call 800-882-4362.