Anjanette Bargas Chooses CrossFit Over Bariatric Surgery, Loses 100 Pounds
Two years ago, Anjanette Bargas was just one step away from bariatric surgery. She had taken all the required classes and had met with the surgeon. “I was literally waiting for them to call me with a surgery date,” said Bargas, now 40. At the time, Bargas, who weighed 315 pounds at 5-foot-6 and suffered from constant anxiety, didn’t think there was another way to lose the weight. But while she was waiting for her surgery date, she started walking and managed to lose 20 pounds on her own. That’s when she started having second thoughts.
- “I thought, ‘Why don’t I do this on my own?’ I had never had surgery before and I realized I didn’t want to have surgery. I decided to see where I was at a year from then before deciding on surgery,” she said.
Finding CrossFit: After five months of walking on her own, Bargas decided it was time to step up her fitness game. Though terrified and intimidated, she mustered the courage to walk through the doors of CrossFit School of Sweat in Temescal Valley, CA. This week, after nearly two years of training five days a week at CrossFit School of Sweat, Bargas hit her 100 pounds weight loss goal.
Two big things: Before CrossFit, Bargas had tried everything to lose weight, from the latest fad diets to weight loss pills, but “nothing ever stuck,” she said. This time, she has been able to stick with it for two big reasons.
- Support: “I was so embarrassed when I first went to the gym. I was fat and thought I didn’t belong there, but that wasn’t the case. Everyone was so supportive right from the start,” Bargas said.
- And they have continued to support her every step of the way. Recently, as Bargas was just a couple pounds away from hitting her 100 pound weight loss goal, a friend from the gym texted her to offer words of encouragement and suggested they go on a four mile walk together with weighted vests. “The community I have supporting me has made all the difference,” Bargas said.
- Mindset: Shifting her mindset to embrace an imperfect, long-term approach to change has been the second big game changer, Bargas explained.
- “It has been slow and it has been hard. I wasn’t always successful. There were ups and down, and tears, but I shifted my mindset to take it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time,” said Bargas, who no longer suffers from anxiety or brain fog.
- And while she used to give up the moment she failed, like if she went out with friends and had a burger and fries and a beer, she no longer lets one bad day ruin her long term plan. “I realized I didn’t ruin it if I have a burger and fries. I just have to get up the next day and start over. And it’s not even starting over. It’s just continuing on,” she said.
The big picture: Bargas’ overarching message to anyone looking to make lifestyle changes is to focus on turning actions into habits. Once you do this, it no longer takes willpower to eat well and workout, she explained.
- “I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. It’s all about creating healthier habits…it’s about breaking the (old) habits. And you just have to stick with it. It’ll be slow, but slow and steady wins the race,” she said.
For Bargas today, this means she actually prefers to eat healthy 90 percent of the time. And she no longer has to muster the willpower to workout.
- “I used to have a hard time snacking after dinner, but now I don’t. I eat dinner at 5 p.m. and I don’t need anything afterward. My body has gotten used to it. I’m happy with a cup of tea,” Bargas said.
- “If I miss a workout, I feel like something is missing…If I ever miss a workout I do it at home. I never thought I would enjoy exercise, but I do. I love it…It has changed my life,” she said.