Walking up the stairs became a daily struggle for Shaquasia Brooks. The content creator, known for her memorable persona as the fan-dubbed “Lady Q” on WBLS, was pushing 400 pounds when she knew she had to make a life or death decision about her health.
After dealing with the passing of her ex, in 2019, due to complications from diabetes, she was determined to avoid the same fate. She underwent a sleeve gastrectomy, also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, in which doctors removed 80 percent of her stomach. Limiting the size of the stomach helps to restrict food intake, aiding in weight loss as a result.
Now, 150 pounds lighter post-op, Brooks is opening up about her journey, the stigma associated with weight loss surgery, and adapting to her new frame.
“Prior to surgery, I suffered with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and I was prediabetic,” said Brooks. “I was on medications and I could barely walk up a flight of stairs. My feet would swell all of the time. It was just a lot going on.”
Shaquasia also goes by Quay The Star. The digital queen has been in the media industry for 15 years. Throughout her extensive time working a variety of gigs in the game and becoming the CEO of her own company Star Struck Daily, she believes she missed opportunities because of her weight.
“I’ve definitely been judged on my weight,” she admitted. “I didn’t get certain jobs because I may not have had “the look.” I’ve heard things like “You’re pretty for a big girl.”
The harsh words from peers and employers didn’t deter Quay from working with some of the biggest names in Black Hollywood and solidifying her name among NYC’s blogger scene. Since losing nearly 200 pounds in total (30 prior to surgery), Quay believes more people are paying more attention as she’s able to remain consistent.
Quay isn’t the first influencer to undergo weight loss surgery. While she is more forthcoming about her weight loss journey, not everyone is as open about sharing their story, which Quay believes is out of fear of being judged.
“I don’t feel that plus size influencers owe it to anyone to reveal that they have had surgery. I think that it should be your choice. People will make you feel obligated but they shouldn’t. I think the importance of the matter is someone choosing to change their life around and it shouldn’t matter how they choose to do so.”
“I remember having a couple of people close to me encouraging me to keep my surgery a secret because ‘it wasn’t anyone’s business.’ It isn’t anyone’s business,” she adds, “but it’s also my decision to disclose it if I’d like to. People are too worried about what others think not realizing that all of us have a journey and your journey may inspire someone else’s.”
Because of her ingenuousness, she’s been able to offer advice to women contemplating a lifestyle change. “So many people have contacted me asking for advice and questions and I’m happy to help because someone helped me change my life.”
Despite being only 30 pounds from her goal weight, Quay reveals she has her “good and bad days.” And says surgery “isn’t a quick fix.”
“The surgery changes you physically, but it also can take a toll on your mental well-being as well. You have to get used to your transition. The recovery is tough because you have to basically learn how to eat all over again. Some things that you may have been able to have, that may not work for you now. You eat way less which is good but something you have to get used to. I would recommend it to anyone as a last resort. I would honestly tell someone to try their best with exercise and reevaluating eating habits. If all else fails, surgery for the win!”
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