Bariatric Patient - Stephanie

Patient: Stephanie

Interview Date: 4/30/20

Age: 50

Height: 5’2”

Highest Weight: 230 lbs.

BMI: 41

Current Weight: 177 lbs. — 53 pound weight loss

BMI: 32.7

Goal Weight: 130 lbs.

BMI: 23.7

Bariatric Surgery: Gastric Sleeve

Surgery Date: November 2019

Largest Size: 18-20

Current Size: 12 or Medium top

Weight related diseases: fatty liver disease, diabetes, high cholesterol

Medications: None

Current status: pre-diabetic, liver levels back to normal, high cholesterol is hereditary

Before Surgery

Stephanie married her high school sweetheart 31 years ago, in April 1989. By September, she had gained 30 pounds. Stephanie’s weight continued to increase slowly over time, especially with each of her three pregnancies. With a self-described sweet tooth, Stephanie would snack throughout the day in addition to regular meals. Her go-to foods were Lucky Charms, powdered donuts, Oreos, and the big Reese’s peanut butter cups. Over the years, Stephanie was continuously depressed and could never stop thinking about how she looked because of her weight. In addition to having low self-confidence, Stephanie wasn’t able to do the physical activities that she enjoyed before getting married such as running, jogging, or high intensity workouts. Not only was Stephanie winded from trying to do these activities, they caused her severe knee pain.

Stephanie did try to control her weight at various points over the years. She attempted fad diets, joined Weight Watchers several times and signed up for Beach Body. Stephanie even tried more extreme measures such as taking the weight loss pill Centromine and getting HCG shots. While she would temporarily lose weight from these methods, Stephanie would regain any weight she lost plus additional pounds.

Getting to Surgery

She had no self-confidence for several reasons. She was tired of looking in the mirror and not being happy with her appearance. She was always the heaviest person in a group photo, and her clothes never fit. She had also gone from being pre-diabetic to having type 2 diabetes. With her health declining and constantly feeling depressed, Stephanie knew that instead of putting everyone else in her life first, it was time to take care of herself.

Already acquainted with his wife, Stephanie was familiar with Dr. Sutker as a surgeon and followed him on Facebook. Originally, she saw a post explaining Obalon, a non-surgical gastric balloon procedure. However, Dr. Sutker explained insurance did not cover that procedure and that weight loss surgery, which is covered by insurance, would be an effective option for permanent weight loss.

During her initial consultation with Dr. Sutker in June 2019, Stephanie felt he was very outgoing, easy to communicate with, and explained the weight loss procedures in layman’s terms instead of using confusing medical jargon. Together, they decided the gastric sleeve was the best procedure for her. During this procedure, the stomach is reduced by 75% and is reshaped to the size of a banana. This results in portion control and reduces constant feelings of hunger.

Before this consultation, Stephanie had always believed that weight loss surgery was the “lazy way out.” Stephanie’s husband originally didn’t want her to undergo the procedure, however she decided this was the best decision.

Being an aid in a special education class, Stephanie decided to wait until November during Thanksgiving break to undergo the procedure. This way, Stephanie was able to avoid taking time from work even though she was cleared by insurance in September.

Before her surgery, Stephanie started to feel anxious the night before. “Am I making the wrong choice?” she wondered. But the day of the surgery, she wasn’t nervous at all. Stephanie knew she was making the right choice. During the surgery, which Dr. Sutker performed laparoscopically, he was also able to remove scar tissue from a previous hernia removal. After the surgery, Stephanie stayed over one night. She was even able to walk around the floor without the nurse’s help. Only one incision was painful, where the stomach tissue had been removed.

After Surgery


Breakfast: protein shake

Lunch: Protein + vegetable. This includes choices such as hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, Babybel cheese (light), flavored tuna packets, OR

leftovers from dinner the night before.

Afternoon Snack: protein shake

Dinner: If she goes out to dinner with her husband, they will split an order of fajitas. Stephanie will just eat the chicken and vegetables. At home, instead of eating the pasta or rice Stephanie serves her family, she will make cauliflower rice

Patty also has a plate where food is portioned out for protein / carb / vegetables. She highly recommends this for bariatric patients. When she goes out to eat, she will now split an entree with her husband and only have one drink. Of course there are times when Petty feels tempted to slip into old habits. This happens especially during family gatherings, where both her family and her husband’s family want to celebrate gatherings centered around food. During these times, Petty will remind herself, “I can’t eat that much anymore. Look how far I’ve come, I’m going to keep it this way.

Stephanie has also been experimenting with new recipes, especially during Covid-19. Recently she made a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, cucumber, olives, salt pepper / and olive oil. She also made keto bagels made with cheese, milk, and egg and baked them in a bagel tin. Yum!

Stephanie has completely retired fast foods from her diet. The only exception she makes is the kale salad or grilled chicken nuggets from Chic Fillet.

Words of Wisdom

Stephanie admits weight loss surgery may not be for everyone, but for those who are able to change their mindset and stick with the program, it will give you your life back. “You can’t go to McDonald’s after leaving the hospital,” she reiterates. Although Stephanie hasn’t necessarily publicized her surgery, she is open about it when people ask how she has lost so much weight. After seeing Stephanie’s success, her husband is now considering the gastric sleeve as well.

Stephanie’s biggest regret? “I wish I had the surgery sooner.”

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