The glass was more than half full for Laurie, a 64-year-old therapist and therapy trainer from Sanford, North Carolina. She was enjoying a successful career in behavioral health care, was happily married to her husband, Peter, for more than 30 years, and had three adult children as well as a two-year-old granddaughter whom she adored. She was also relishing in her active social life, cherishing time spent with friends at dinner parties and barbecues.
However, Laurie had been grappling with a personal issue for most of her adulthood. She became overweight after her first child was born (around age 31) and had never been able to drop the excess pounds. In fact, she continued to gain weight over time, which led to her medical classification as “morbidly obese.” After reaching an all-time high on the scale during the COVID-19 pandemic, Laurie was more motivated than ever to lose the weight.
Through the years, Laurie had tried different types of self-led exercise, CrossFit®, and even a membership-based diet plan in the hopes of getting back to a healthy weight, but nothing worked for very long. Especially when thinking about her age and precious moments with her young granddaughter, Laurie worried that if she didn’t take action, her physical health would continue to decline. Plus, she wanted to live a long life to spend with her family.
“I was struggling to lose the weight on my own and finally asked myself, ‘Laurie, for how many years are you going to do this?’” she reflected. “I knew that what I was doing just wasn’t working. I finally made the decision that right, wrong, good or bad, I needed a jumpstart that was going to force me to make real cognitive behavioral changes—something that would motivate me to really do this.”
Laurie then began to consider ORBERA, a weight loss balloon she’d heard of years before. She remembered being intrigued by the non-surgical aspect of the procedure. After speaking with a physician friend and doing some research, Laurie found True You Weight Loss. Soon thereafter, she scheduled a consult in December 2020.
After her initial meeting with Dr. McGowan, Laurie was immediately impressed with his style, transparency, and down-to-earth communication style. She also spoke candidly with True You’s nutritionist Laura Sebring, MS, RD, LDN, and found an immediate connection. Therefore, Laurie didn’t feel shy when discussing with them her concerns about ORBERA and the ways in which it could potentially hinder her lifestyle.
“I love to cook and entertain, and I love food, wine, and breweries. Three-hour conversations over a full table are a part of my life,” reflected Laurie. “I told Dr. McGowan and Laura that while I could commit to making changes, I also had no interest in eating chicken breast and lettuce leaves for the rest of my life. When they assured me this wasn’t required to be successful, I was ready to move forward.”
With her husband’s full support, Laurie scheduled her ORBERA procedure for January 16, 2021.
While she was excited to have a plan, Laurie explains her feelings of vulnerability around having a weight loss procedure. “In the beginning, I was reticent—there was maybe some shame there,” shared Laurie. “I’d always been confident and successful in so many areas of my life, but I couldn’t seem to lose weight on my own. Once I could acknowledge the benefits of asking for and receiving the help I needed, I was ready to embrace the life change I was about to make.”
On the day of her procedure, Laurie felt anxious but also completely prepared and excited for the future. She was confident in Dr. McGowan and his team, and everything leading up to her procedure went very smoothly. Laurie went home to Sanford right after her procedure to rest and recover. While the first day and a half at home were very uncomfortable for Laurie, she knew the discomfort was only temporary.
“Dr. McGowan had warned me that those first several hours were going to be tough. I had his direct cell phone number, which was very reassuring even though I didn’t need it,” said Laurie. “But I followed his instructions clearly, and after 36 hours, I felt totally fine.”
Laurie’s recovery was quick, and once she switched to solid foods she found the energy to start exercising about 20 to 30 minutes per day. While her balloon stayed in place, she changed her eating habits and lifestyle to support her weight loss journey. When Laurie started her ORBERA journey, she weighed 198.4 pounds. By September 2021, she weighed 159 pounds—a difference of almost 40 pounds.
When asked how she feels now, Laurie explained, “Exponentially better! I have so much more energy. I can enjoy working out now because I feel good doing it, and I feel much lighter. I can easily chase my granddaughter, and I still do all of the things I love, such as gardening and socializing, without issue.”
Laurie is thrilled to have the flexibility and freedom to lose weight while still enjoying her active social life. “I’ve had dinner parties, gone to breweries, and done all the things I love—all while adhering to the True You Weight Loss plan,” Laurie explains. “While it hasn’t been easy, it’s getting easier now that I’ve hardwired my portion control. My idea of a serving size today is so much different than it was, and I don’t think I can ever go back. I know how to limit my portions and still enjoy food and fun, but my relationship with food has definitely changed for the better.”
Laurie’s weight loss has also helped nearly eliminate several health problems she’d been facing. She no longer has high blood pressure and is even close to discontinuing her blood pressure medication. Her acid reflux is also gone, and she was advised by her doctor to cut her statin medication for high cholesterol in half.
To date, Laurie continues to work toward her personal 50-pound weight loss goal. Meanwhile, her nutrition counseling sessions with Laura have been an ongoing source of motivation and accountability. In addition to portion control, Laurie enjoys Body Pump and Zumba to stay fit, and she is looking forward to her next trip to the Dominican Republic, a family vacation favorite, where she can put on a bathing suit and feel really proud of how she looks.
“Dr. McGowan and his team at True You are phenomenal. This experience has transformed my mindset,” Laurie enthused. “Not only am I no longer overweight, but I never feel deprived. Most importantly, the ongoing battle in my head is gone. My new way of living has become a no-brainer habit, and I can honestly say … I’ve got this now.”