Megan looked in the mirror and finally stated outright, “I’m not happy with how I look or feel. And I have not put myself and my health first. No one controls my happiness but me, and I need to take control.”
She talked with her friend and learned that she had been a patient at the UC Health Weight Loss Center. Her friend praised the surgical weight loss program and was also honest about the challenges that every patient faces during the process. She told Megan it is hard work – but worth the effort.
Megan attended a UC Health information seminar in October 2018 to learn about their surgical weight loss program.
Losing Weight with Gastric Sleeve Surgery
At the seminar, Jonathan R. Thompson, MD, bariatric surgeon, medical director of the UC Health Weight Loss Center and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, spoke about obesity, weight loss and surgical procedure options. Megan admired how he stated things very simply, making them easy to understand. “When I heard him speak, I was so impressed with his knowledge and his poise,” says Megan. “He was so conversational. I asked him a few questions after the seminar, and I knew that UC Health was the right fit for me. I remember sitting there and saying, ‘Game on!’”
She also realized at that moment that obesity is truly a disease. “I’m going to have to live with it for my entire life,” she adds. “I know my weight may go up and down some, but for once in my life, I feel confident that I have the resources to keep me on track.”
After six months of pre-surgery visits with the clinical staff, a special diet to prepare her body for surgery and behavioral and lifestyle modification education sessions, Dr. Thompson performed Megan’s gastric sleeve surgery on July 23, 2019.
“A key reason for Megan’s success is her mindset and understanding that it is a lifelong chronic disease and requires changes before surgery and after. Surgery is a small part of a long process. The main goal is to give patients all the tools necessary (including surgery) to implement and maintain healthy habits.”
Once again, Megan’s “can-do” attitude kicked in. She followed the program process and the pounds started to come off. “For me, I took the stereotype of surgery away and looked at it as a reset button with a tool kit that I’m going to have for life. It’s also been interesting because a lot of my success has happened during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she says.
Megan is extremely grateful for the love and support of her family. Her mother, father and sister have supported her from the beginning. “I would not be the person I am today if not for my parents – I love them through and through. My dad told me when I decided to have the surgery that he was so confident because I was confident. My sister has been one of my biggest advocates. She’s held my hand and wiped my tears on the hardest days. She has been a huge influence during my journey.”
Diet and Nutrition: After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
The importance of following the Weight Loss Center’s team of professionals is paramount, according to Megan. She credits the education and behavior modification therapy with the center’s dietitians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and behavioral health specialists for enabling her to keep it going.
“The journey, the mentality, the education – I would not have succeeded if it were not for the UC Health Weight Loss Center. Being able to feel fully educated and taking ownership, I finally feel confident and know I’m going to manage it.”
She warns that no journey is flawless. “Don’t get me wrong, we are human and we are not perfect. There have been days that I’ve fallen off the wagon, but I know the next day when I start again, I’m in control of what happens. I’m in charge – when I work out and what I put into my body.”
Working with Ivan Bennett, physician assistant at the UC Health Weight Loss Center, during her journey, Megan loved the clever analogies that he shared with her to support her success. “My favorite one is the gasoline-in-the-car analogy. Every day, when it’s time for my three-hour snack, I’ll tell myself – ‘OK, how much gas do I need to put in the car today?’ It’s a daily reminder to keep you on course. And if one bad decision throws you off, there are a plethora of professionals at the Weight Loss Center who are ready to jump in and get you back on track.”
“Megan really embraced the tools and strategies she learned while in our program,” Ivan states. “She listened to the Weight Loss Center team about nutrition, exercise and keeping a food record, then made these changes a habit.”