Daniella Pardo, 24, has struggled with being overweight her whole life. Since she was a little girl, Pardo remembers feeling like she didn’t fit in with her friends.
“I was always on the heavier side,” she said. “I always felt left out, and it was such a traumatic experience for me. Clothes did not fit me, and I hardly wanted to go out.”
To help cope with her emotions, Pardo found comfort in staying home and binge eating, which contributed to more weight gain. She would mostly avoid social activities with other kids her age, who would make fun of her weight, and often made her feel like an outsider.
In June 2020, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl she named Emma Sophia.
“More than a year after having my daughter, I continued to wear maternity clothes,” Pardo said. “I started having issues with high blood pleasure. I would easily get tired when I walked, and I couldn’t keep up with my baby.”
In August 2021, Pardo’s health continued to decline, and she began gaining weight rapidly. Once she reached 267 pounds, she decided to seek the help of a cardiologist.
“The breaking point for me was when my cardiologist asked me, ‘do you want to see your daughter grow up? The way you are going, you won’t see her past her fifth birthday,’” Pardo remembers. “I knew deep inside that I needed to make a change. If I wanted to be an example for my daughter, I needed to get bariatric surgery.”
Pardo, who worked at Jackson South Medical Center at the time, immediately sought the help of Roderick Romero, MD, a bariatric surgeon at the Bariatric Surgery Center at Jackson South.
“Daniella was very motivated from the beginning. She was very enthusiastic about weight loss,” Dr. Romero said. “Bariatric surgery is not the easy way out. Eating healthy and increasing physical activity still applies.”
In September 2021, Pardo successfully underwent gastric sleeve surgery, and began her weight-loss journey.
“I started eating clean after surgery. After six months, I began going to the gym, and I fell in love with the process,” Pardo said. “Once I started seeing definition in my muscles, I became addicted to lifting weights. I call it iron therapy.”
After she began to see the results of her hard work, Pardo knew she wanted to be on stage one day, and started to pursue bodybuilding. She looks forward to her first competition this fall.
“Bodybuilding training is not an easy journey, and it can be mentally and physically challenging. The whole process can be a rollercoaster,” Pardo said. “I’m currently working with my coach; making sure I’m eating clean and working out daily.”
Since her surgery, Pardo has lost roughly 117 pounds. Her biggest motivator continues to be her daughter Emma, who recently turned 3 years old.
“Bariatric surgery saved my life, and it helped me be present with my daughter,” Pardo said. “I am now a healthier version of myself.”