Tania Martinez has been enjoying the sport of roller derby for several years, but recent health concerns led her to seek a professional opinion.

“I started noticing at derby practice whenever we were doing the endurance drills,”  Martinez says, “It wasn’t just your regular, you know, struggling with breathing because you’re working hard. There was something else.”

Tania Martinez talks about her fight with weight loss and the health concerns that led her to undergo surgery. Produced by Stephanie Hagenaars

A slow metabolism led Martinez to have troubles when trying to lose weight. She had tried many different activities, such as dieting and various workouts, but whatever weight was lost would soon come back.

The lung issues Martinez experienced would get better if she could find a way to lose weight and keep it off. Her doctor told her ‘the only way to get that stress off [her] lungs was to get the weight off.’ So, Martinez felt the need to try something different.

After an appointment with her doctor, Martinez got into a bariatric program through Alberta Health. On August 26, 2016, she underwent gastric sleeve surgery – a procedure that reduces the stomach to about 15% of its original size — significantly shrinking the size of her stomach.

Roller 1Tania Martinez enjoys an evening with her children Mateo, 7, and Skyler, 13. She says her children are very supportive of her decision to undergo the surgery. Photo by Stephanie Hagenaars

Her journey began with a ten-month-long process of preparing for the procedure, through support groups on Facebook and conversations with her family.

“It is a little bit overwhelming and sometimes you, kind of, waffle back and forth about your decision, like, ‘Is this the right thing for me?’, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’”

In the end, Martinez did go through with the surgery and she couldn’t be happier. Just over six months later, she has lost 100 lbs. Even though she was active before the surgery, seeing the weight come off, and stay off, has given her more confidence in the gym, on the derby track, and in her life.

“It’s crazy how just getting healthier just affects your motivation in life overall,”  says Martinez, “Before, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy going to the gym, but now it’s like I have this whole other purpose, right, and it’s not just to lose weight.”

Martinez is currently working towards her diploma in social work and is looking forward to her practicum. In addition, she has signed herself up for Calgary’s Strongwoman competition, taking place this summer.

Taking the risk has been very rewarding for Martinez. Her confidence, she says, has given her the motivation to do things she wouldn’t have thought of.

“It’s crazy how just getting healthier just affects your motivation in life overall. I mean, starting this whole process gave me the motivation to go back to school,” says Martinez. “I dunno what it was about just losing weight, like, maybe feeling more confident that just allowed me to just do it, right? Just take the risk.”


Editor: Hannah Willinger | hwillinger@cjournal.ca

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