This is Jonathan and Katie’s weight loss story. If it was the script for a Hollywood movie, it probably wouldn’t garner much fanfare. There’s not nearly enough drama. But as a story of struggle and ultimate victory over obesity, it has to rank as one of the most relatable and inspiring stories you’ll ever read.
Too Young to Care
Growing up was pretty normal for both Jonathan and Katie. Jonathan was involved in sports, mostly baseball, which kept him physically active. Katie, on the other hand, never really took to sports, but she was able to maintain a healthy weight. “I was very self-conscious of never going over 159 pounds. Not sure why it was that number, but I did what I needed to do to make sure I didn’t go past that number.”
As they exited their teenage years and began their adult lives, things got more challenging. As Jonathan recalls, “I just went into the normal college routine. Lots of junk food, lots of parties, lots of living it up. And I got into a really sedentary lifestyle.” But as a former baseball player, he was accustomed to working out, so he decided to hit it hard and fortunately was able to drop about 70 pounds!
Katie’s problems were more rooted in her never really establishing healthy eating habits. Although she wasn’t overweight as a child, those bad food choices caught up to her as she got older. “Katie is a good cook – and it’s like the good, but not so healthy stuff,” Jonathan recounts as one of the main contributors to their mutual weight gain.
The Road to Weight Gain
Once they got married, Jonathan and Katie quickly fell into a routine (as most people do). One that included some not-so-great food choices. Then Jonathan hurt his shoulder and required surgery, which kept him sidelined for about a year. Just as he was getting back to normal with his shoulder, the world shut down due to COVID. Frustratingly Jonathan remembers, “I was ready to get back to working out and shedding some of the weight I’d put on, but gyms weren’t open – you couldn’t go anywhere or do anything!”
For Katie, it was during her first pregnancy that weight gain became an issue. “My first pregnancy I gained like 60 pounds and my doctor never told me to stop eating, so I didn’t!” Katie recalls. After childbirth, her priorities shifted to taking care of her baby. It no longer seemed important to take care of herself. It’s a conundrum that many mothers face – a feeling of guilt about spending any time taking care of themselves. However, the truth is that taking care of oneself is key to being able to take care of others! Something that Katie fully understands and embraces now.
Years into their marriage with two young children, Jonathan and Katie faced the reality of their continued weight gain. Like so many, they hoped they could diet and exercise their way back to health, but long-lasting results alluded them. Whether it was Keto or Weight Watchers, nothing proved to be effective at losing and keeping off the extra pounds. So what now?
Fed Up With Failure
According to Katie, it was one day after realizing that despite the dieting, she’d put on more weight and she simply said “Screw it. I’m done. I’m having the surgery.” Jonathan wasn’t so sure, replying with a concerned “What?” But Katie had already been thinking about it – especially since her closest friend had just completed surgery with Dr. Ayoola. She still had doubts though. In her mind, she couldn’t help but replay all of the things she’d tried and failed at. Would she fail at this too? And there is still a stigma attached to weight loss surgery. Katie was worried about all of it – being judged as taking the easy way out and wasting money on an expensive procedure that might not work. But the thought of continuing to struggle by doing the same thing with no success persuaded her that surgery was the best option.
Katie Makes Her Decision
When she initially met with Dr. Ayoola, they talked about options and he made his recommendation, but ultimately he wanted her to be comfortable with the decision. Together they settled on the Duodenal Switch. Katie says she’s a “one-and-done kind of girl”, and the DS has the potential for the most weight loss; however, it also requires the most follow-up care for the rest of your life. But with the help of Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas staff, like Sandy the dietitian, Katie felt she had the support she’d need to be successful.
Jonathan Couldn’t Argue With Results
Unlike Katie, Jonathan was still holding on to the “I can do this myself” mentality. Years before Katie’s surgery, he’d actually consulted with another bariatric surgeon, but he still felt the societal pressure that he’d be taking the easy way out if he proceeded with the surgery. That all changed once he saw Katie’s positive results. He was convinced it was the right choice for him too.
Everything Changed (for the better)
Fast forward a few years and the post-DS duo couldn’t be happier with where they are – having lost well over 100 pounds each! But there were definitely some things they had to work through. According to Katie, “At first I was very self-conscious about my new body. It just felt weird – like it wasn’t my body. But I worked through it and I’m good now.” The other issue that they didn’t see coming was how their friends, family and co-workers interacted with them. Suddenly, everyone was praising them for their weight loss and telling them how great they looked. But for Katie, it was uncomfortable to hear that. “I wish they would’ve told me to stop eating the cheeseburgers!” she says half-joking. Going from NONE of your friends commenting on your weight or appearance to EVERYONE commenting just felt awkward for them both – but it’s something that they’ve grown to understand and ultimately appreciate, explaining that “People just want to say something nice.”
Speaking of nice, both Jonathan and Katie are extremely happy about how “nice” it is to buy clothes now. Prior to their surgeries, buying clothes was more of a tortuous necessity than anything else. Now, they actually enjoy shopping for clothes (especially Katie!) As she confidently shares “I can walk into a normal store and buy what I want or order online and not worry about it because I know it’s going to fit me.” It’s also nice for them to be able to attend their kids’ events and games without the feeling of shame and embarrassment that they felt before. No longer is it a struggle to get up and down the bleachers. And no more constantly tugging at the shirt to make sure everything is covered – now they can just enjoy watching their kids play sports and root them on as the proud parents they are!
Find Help Here
If Jonathan and Katie’s struggle is your same struggle – or perhaps a loved one’s struggle, there is hope for a happy ending. It starts with leaving the blame and shame behind and taking that first step toward a new, healthy life. We invite you to experience compassionate care at Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas. You’ve got this. We’ve got you.