• Karina Lopez

No Going Back


May 19, 2015 is the day I will never forget. The day I decided to take back my life.


The Consideration of WLS


Three years before this date, I was looking into having weight loss surgery, but ultimately I changed my mind and did not do it. I talked to a couple of friends along the way and told them I was considering WLS. The funny thing is, because of how highly I spoke about weight loss surgery, I somehow convinced my friends to have the surgery before I could convince myself to do it.


But ultimately, I became so fed up with the way I felt and looked that I finally decided I needed to do this for myself. Since that decision, my life has changed so much for the better.


I love the fact that I became more active without suffering pain. Most of all, I am thrilled that I took my life back. I started hiking, walking 5k’s and 10k’s, and riding a bike. Maybe best of all, I’m now able to go to the ballpark and watch my Los Angeles Dodgers play without having the issue of not fitting in the stadium seats, or even being out of breath just getting to my seat.


My first 10k was one I will never forget. I was so nervous thinking to myself: “I hope I finish it” and “I hope I don’t pass out.” I had so many doubts running through my mind, but at the same time, I had a sense of excitement. The minute I crossed the finish line I got overwhelmed with my accomplishment.


The Journey is a Challenge


Just four months out of surgery I had lost 100 pounds. I lost another thirty-five pounds by the time I reached my sixth month. I have maintained a weight loss of 135 pounds for three years; however, I found it difficult to get under 300 pounds. I hit a plateau and did not know what I could do to lose more weight. I tried everything. I even joined a boot camp (which I loved) and still couldn’t lose the extra weight. I decided to live a healthy lifestyle and not focus on the number on the scale.


It does seem that every time I started something to better myself something always happens to set me back. Due to a recent illness, I have regained some weight. All I can think of is how hard I have worked to get to where I am now and how much I love the change – but I made these changes for myself and I won’t go back to the person I was. Again, I focus on living a healthy lifestyle.


Becoming an Example


Last year I was invited to be part of the health and wellness committee at work. We set up hikes, exercise sessions, etc. As a committee member, we also make sure to attend these events. One of the events was a 4.5 hike through the hills to the Hollywood sign – something that was on my Bucket List. It almost killed me doing it, but I did it - and it felt so good! One of the other members of the group was very surprised at how well I did. His exact words were “Karina, I’m so proud of you. You cursed me out the whole way up and down the hill. You huff and puff, but you never gave up. You never said that you couldn’t do it.” I told him that the word can’t is not in my vocabulary. I will always try my best to do things no matter how many times I fall. He didn’t know how much strength and determination I had and I proved I could do it! My coworker still tells everyone how I pushed myself – and him – up that hill to the Hollywood sign.


Living and Inspiring

It is always so weird to hear people tell me that I inspire them. I did not know I had that type of impact on another person - I just work on myself, but I am happy if others find motivation in my journey.


All the accomplishments I have achieved have given me a sense of pride and have brought so much happiness to my life. I never thought I would be where I am today, and I would not change anything for the world.


There is no going back to before May 19, 2015.


About the Author – Karina Lopez

Ms. Lopez was born in Glendale, CA, and currently resides in Cudahy/Bellflower, CA. She is one-half of a set of twins - Karina being the older by two minutes. In the words of people who know her, Karina is friendly, funny, a great listener, always there for everyone, and loves to have fun. In her own words, she says of herself: “I am Hispanic and come from a very large family. I have three siblings (two sisters and one brother), and 10 nieces and nephews that range from 13 years old to 5 months old. I am the oldest of four and older than my twin by 2 minutes! I love my LA Dodgers and attending Dodger games, hiking, spending time with my family, concerts, scary movies, dancing, traveling, and drawing.”


Oh, and she loves her fur baby Chewy!

Karina works at the Los Angeles County Fire Department as a Supervising Typist Clerk. She recently received her 15-year service pin, but she has 18 years of working as a county employee.


She is attending East Los Angeles College (ELAC). Major: General Studies & Associates in Arts in Sociology. In high school, Karina studied to be an Assistant Nurse and was awarded a Certificate as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).




Weight Loss Data


HW 440

SW 400

CW 310, GW 30 (due to illness)

Procedure Sleeve

Date May 19, 2015

Surgeon Dr. Moon

Hospital Kaiser, Harbor City, California