When challenges came her way with weight loss and maintaining the weight loss after having her first bariatric surgery, she decided to try again and achieved long-term success.
Today, her message to others who face ongoing weight challenges is to never give up.
Weight became an issue for Venita at age 21 after the birth of her first son. Not uncommon for many women, she gained weight after the delivery. After having her second and third babies, she continued to gain more weight until she reached 306 pounds. She says, “It is very hard to take weight off after pregnancy, and my weight just crept up and up and up.”
As many people do, Venita tried to lose weight by using a fad diet. While results were good initially and she lost more than 40 pounds, she admits that she did not research the risks, nor did she consult with her doctor. She stopped the diet and eventually, once again, gained the pounds she worked hard to lose.
Independent and strong-willed, Venita made the decision to take a stand and change her destiny. After the repeated yo-yo-ing on the scale, she felt tired and defeated. “I had run out of options and I felt like I had lost the battle,” she states. She also had watched some of her family members face similar challenges with obesity and decided to overcome this genetic challenge.
Venita attended an informational seminar offered by the UC Health Weight Loss Center in 2016. Not long after, she had her first weight loss surgery – sleeve gastrectomy – at UC Health’s West Chester Hospital.
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 UC College of Medicine, performed Venita’s gastric sleeve surgery.
What is sleeve gastrectomy?
Gastric sleeve is a minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgery where the surgeon makes tiny incisions, less than one-half inch each in the abdomen, rather than a single, large incision like traditional surgery. It involves removing about 80% of the stomach, leaving a long banana-shaped sleeve that acts as the new, smaller stomach. One of the biggest advantages of having this surgery is that the part of the stomach where the hunger hormone is made is removed during the procedure, which can help reduce the feeling of hunger.