Weight loss is challenging, especially when you try to go it alone. Altering lifelong habits, creating a new relationship with food, and achieving self-discipline with exercise can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed. On the other hand, embarking on a weight loss journey with a family member can change the whole story.
Meet Tenetha and LaNita, a mother/daughter pair from Durham, North Carolina, who decided in 2021 that it was finally time to lose weight for good. After years of frustration and yo-yo dieting, each woman chose to undergo an endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) at True You Weight Loss, just weeks apart. After seven months of mutual support, motivation, and collaboration, Tenetha and LaNita are now celebrating a combined weight loss of almost 100 pounds, and each credits the other with being a major factor in their ESG success.
A busy mom to five children, wife, and clinical trials executive, LaNita had never really carved out much time for herself. Her bright, fun-loving, and positive personality often hid the secret battle she was fighting with her weight. It was after giving birth to her second child in 2006 that LaNita started to gain. As the numbers on her scale kept rising, she lost motivation to commit to a long-term weight loss program. She also disliked exercise and would become frustrated with slow results. However, LaNita continued to try new things, from workout DVDs like P90X® and Walk Away the Pounds, to the Atkins® Low Carb Diet and Nutrisystem®.
“During those years, it was discouraging to work really hard at something but never see results on the scale,” LaNita explains. “I also didn’t want to make any sacrifices at that time, or miss out on family outings, because I was tied to a diet and exercise plan.”
LaNita had some success with weight loss in 2016, losing about 45 pounds, but with events like birthday parties and vacations, the weight slowly came back. By February 2021, LaNita had reached her all-time heaviest weight of 320 pounds, and she was finally ready to take action. She had heard about ESG in the past and was intrigued that it was a non-invasive procedure that did not involve a surgery. An online search led her to True You Weight Loss, and she was happy to discover the practice was located nearby, in Cary, North Carolina. She spoke about True You with her mom, and together they watched Dr. Christopher McGowan’s YouTube videos about the procedure. From there, LaNita couldn’t wait to get started. In June 2021, she had her consult with nurse practitioner Emily Weaver, NP-C, and by August 2021, she was arriving at WakeMed Cary Hospital for her ESG procedure.
“For me, the procedure was really just a formality,” LaNita says. “I was thinking ten steps ahead and was so ready and excited for the life-changing weight loss that would follow.”
Following her procedure, she felt no pain—just some gas and tiredness. After a few days of rest, she was ready to get started, and for LaNita, the pounds fell off like clockwork during the first few months. As she reintroduced foods into her diet, from liquids to soft foods, LaNita found creative ways to satisfy her cravings without veering off course. She fell into a slight rut five months after her procedure and gained a few pounds back, but she was proud of herself for coming out on the other side and rediscovering her willpower. She was able to drop those excess pounds quickly and, in the meantime, she found a new love for exercise by cycling on her Peloton® bike and weightlifting with her husband and son in their home gym.
This time, LaNita’s hard work is paying off. To date, she has lost close to 50 pounds, and she can’t help but share how great it feels. After wearing the same clothes for the past five years, LaNita now loves shopping again and is reveling in her smaller size. Additionally, the joint pain and fatigue she had once experienced from being overweight is gone.
“As I like to say, I no longer feel like I’m dragging a wagon! I have more energy, which helps me exercise more, and I feel less tired and weighed down. I also have more confidence, and thoughts about being overweight don’t crowd my brain anymore,” she says. “ESG gave me that extra boost I needed to commit to my weight loss. I will always have this tool with me, and it has allowed me to accomplish something I never could have done on my own.”
A military wife and all-American mother and grandmother, Tenetha raised three children while managing a busy career in clinical trials. Today, Tenetha works closely with her daughter LaNita as they share a career in clinical trials, and she is also a proud military mom to two sons, so she has much to be proud of. Yet, when she became an empty nester, she began reflecting on her life and health. Tenetha struggled with her weight for decades, and up until 2021, never had the time to focus on getting it under control. It was hard to squeeze in time for herself when she was busy working and raising three kids. Tenetha’s failed attempts at weight loss over the years included Weight Watchers™, joining a gym, and trying different workout DVDs at home. But like LaNita, it was hard for Tenetha to stay consistent and focused.
“As soon as I didn’t see results, I would become unmotivated,” Tenetha says. “I had all of this information in my head about health and weight loss, but I didn’t know what to do with it. Nothing was coming together. However, I did know that I was tired of being the largest person in the room.”
Then came the answer Tenetha had been searching for when her daughter told her about ESG and True You. Tenetha was especially intrigued that ESG offered a non-surgical option.
“My daughter came to me and said that it was time for us to do something,” Tenetha explains. “When we watched those YouTube videos with Dr. McGowan, it was as if he was speaking to us directly. At that moment, I was finally ready to give myself permission to do something for myself and have the ESG procedure done.”
Calling it a tag-team partnership, Tenetha supported LaNita during her ESG and recovery, and just one month later, on September 2, 2021, she was arriving at WakeMed Cary Hospital to have her own ESG procedure. LaNita accompanied her mom and gave her helpful advice from her own experience. Tenetha’s procedure went smoothly, and she felt encouraged by the supportive staff at True You Weight Loss and WakeMed. Going into it, she was very excited and ready for her new beginning.
Tenetha has consistently dropped weight since her ESG, and her entire life has been transformed. She was able to discontinue her medication for hypertension, she no longer experiences the joint pain she felt when she was overweight, and her sleep patterns have vastly improved. She has also discovered a new appreciation for exercise and feels her best on days when she can work out. Tenetha enjoys walking on her treadmill, biking, and taking Pilates. She is also enjoying her new relationship with food and has discovered creative ways to substitute healthier ingredients into her old favorite recipes.
“With the help of True You’s wonderful nutritionists, I have learned how to use more discipline with my eating and cooking, and I now do a good job of restricting myself,” Tenetha says. “I have also learned about portion sizes, reading nutrition facts, experimenting with more plant-based foods, and healthier options. For example, I love pizza, but now I can eat it in a healthier way—with a cauliflower crust! My bowl of cereal is now Oikos® Yogurt with some granola.”
Additionally, Tenetha and LaNita have enjoyed sharing healthy recipes and new food ideas with each other. They even go food shopping together so they can collaborate and keep each other in check—and it is all paying off. Just six months after her ESG, Tenetha is down 56 pounds, from 311 to 255, and she is thrilled.
“I feel great! I have more energy, and it’s gratifying to look in the mirror now,” she says. “Because of True You and ESG, I now know I can set goals and actually accomplish them.”
Both LaNita and Tenetha agree that their ESG journey has been much easier and more enjoyable with the other by their side. When asked about her greatest inspiration during her journey, Tenetha gave much credit to LaNita. “My daughter has been fabulous. She has been my number one supporter all the way through,” Tenetha says. “Plus, I have been inspired by her success. I admire her because she is doing this as a busy mom, and I am so proud of her.”
Meanwhile, LaNita, who has watched her mom struggle with weight for years, is excited for Tenetha’s success and has been thrilled to see her finally doing something for herself. LaNita says, “We are a very close mother/daughter combo, so I knew this process would be more impactful for her if she was doing it with me. My mom has been very motivating to me as well. I joke that I work even harder because I want to make sure she is not outdoing me!”
Additionally, both LaNita and Tenetha credit the True You team with providing a huge amount of support and assistance during their respective ESG journeys. “They really know what they are doing—it’s like a well-oiled machine. They made it clear to me from the beginning that they were always there for me,” LaNita says. “I could not have gotten to this point without them.”
Tenetha strongly agrees. “True You has been so supportive and attentive to my needs. It feels great to know I can reach out to them at any time, and they will respond immediately to help.”
Moving forward, both LaNita and Tenetha plan to continue working toward their weight loss goals while enjoying time with family and friends. LaNita is excited to serve as matron-of-honor in her best friend’s summer wedding in St. Lucia, and she plans to use that event as motivation to lose even more weight. Both women are also looking forward to a July cruise to the Bahamas with their family to celebrate LaNita’s son’s 16th birthday. They are both very grateful for the True You/ESG process and the jumpstart it gave them to lose weight and become the confident women they knew they could be.