Memorial Comprehensive Weight-Loss Surgery Program
A Multidisciplinary Approach to Serious Weight Loss
Shirley Bing, 42, had a hard time losing weight after her first pregnancy. In the years that followed, she tried everything from fad diets and weight-loss pills to a restrictive plan of just fish, fruit and vegetables. Sometimes she would lose 20 to 25 pounds, but the weight would always return. Eventually, she couldn't walk very far without back pain. At 298 pounds, she also dealt with thyroid issues, high blood pressure, hypertension and problems with her knee that required surgery.
That's when Shirley's orthopedic surgeon recommended she consider weight-loss surgery. She looked into Memorial Comprehensive Weight-Loss Surgery Program. Shirley learned that she was a candidate for the surgery but that its success would depend on her commitment to diet and exercise. "I really needed to get the weight off," Shirley says. "I wasn't going to forego a second chance at life just for that extra piece of cake."
Within six months of her gastric bypass surgery Shirley lost 100 pounds, dropping from a size 24 to a size 16. In the ensuing months, she shed an additional 46 pounds and now fits into a size 10.
Along with the weight loss came many changes in her life. She found herself able to walk more easily than before, and her energy level improved dramatically. "The first time I walked around the block and didn't have back pain," Shirley says, "I literally wanted to drop to the ground and cry. I thought I would never reach that point again." She's able to play ball with her grandchildren, and is enjoying the many benefits of being a thinner, more agile person: "It's easier now for me to just pick up and go." People who have known her for years often don't recognize her and ask, "Do you have a sister named Shirley?" "I have to tell them it's me," she laughs.
These days, you're likely to find the new Shirley in the local mall. After her early weight-loss success, she was able to wear jeans for the first time in 10 years. She also had her ears pierced, bought new makeup and developed a passion for clothes shopping. "Now a size 10, I know I can go into a store, take an item off the rack, and it's going to fit me. What a difference from when I was a size 24," she says.
Shirley describes her doctor — Thomas Bass, MD, bariatric specialist and surgeon on the medical staff at Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Memorial Hospital Miramar and Memorial Hospital Pembroke — as "phenomenal." "When you go to a doctor or any professional, you sometimes can feel intimidated," she says. "Dr. Bass makes you feel so comfortable. He tells you exactly what to expect and what is expected of you."
Determination Pays Off
Shirley approaches her new routine with enthusiasm, carefully planning a menu that includes cottage cheese, granola bars, fruit and lean protein, among other things. She says it's easier to lose weight now because small amounts fill her up and her body's intolerance for sweets helps her to avoid them. Shirley works hard at her goals — walking and exercising several times a week, working with dietitians, participating in weight-loss surgery patient support groups and committing to a lifetime of daily vitamin supplements. "It takes persistence to lose and keep off this much weight," she says. "It also takes a change of mindset and a willingness to compromise. It helps to have supportive friends and family who are committed to your success, too."
Although surgery is not a guarantee for weight loss, it is a tool that helps many patients achieve their goals. "Patients who adhere to the dietary recommendations and exercise regularly will reap the maximum benefits," says Dr. Bass. "Patients who do all the wrong things will not experience good weight loss."
"Shirley is a great example of somebody who's having fabulous results from her surgery because she's dedicated to making the necessary lifestyle changes," he adds.
"Losing this much weight has given me hope for the future — for better health and a longer life," says Shirley. "Because I look and feel better, I am even more committed to staying healthy."
Memorial Comprehensive Weight-Loss Surgery Program hosts informative monthly seminars to answer your questions about weight-loss surgery. Check our calendar for details.