Jackie T., a hospital unit secretary from Grifton, North Carolina, is not unlike many women who have experienced continued weight gain after pregnancy. While Jackie and her husband were thrilled to welcome their first and only child, Kimberly, into their family, Jackie’s weight and eating habits after the pregnancy spiraled out of control.
“I guess you could say that I kept eating like I was pregnant, even after my daughter was born,” Jackie remembers.
Up until that time, Jackie had always been at an average weight, so this new challenge was confusing and unexpected. A few years after the birth of her daughter, Jackie was faced with several lung-related health issues, including asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia, which led to recurrent prescriptions for steroids and even more weight gain. Not only that, Jackie began working the night shift at ECU Health in Greenville, North Carolina, and because of her schedule, she often found herself eating around the clock.
“On the night shift, we love to eat, it’s just what we do,” Jackie explains. “We are people who love to cook, and we often invent different celebrations and occasions just to have a meal together.”
When she realized how much weight she’d gained, Jackie tried everything to get her weight back under control, including reducing her portion sizes and overall food intake, making healthier food choices, experimenting with several different diet plans, such as the GOLO® diet; working out at the gym, hiring a personal trainer, and using a variety of different over-the-counter diet pills.
“Nothing worked,” Jackie says. “Nothing. And then I just always went back to my bad habits again—sweets galore, unlimited sodas, boredom eating, and, since I live on a night-shift schedule, watching TV and binge eating late into the night.”
Eventually, Jackie found herself in a very dark and uncomfortable place. She had reached 223 pounds, was experiencing a lot of pain—in her joints, back, and legs—and she had no energy to do anything.
“Basically, I went to work, I ate, and then I slept,” Jackie explains. “I had no interests, and I really did nothing at all. I was accomplishing nothing, and I was sedentary all the time. It was like I was just existing, and not truly living.”
Luckily for Jackie, there was one interest that she held on to even during her most difficult days—reading. And when she’d finally had enough of her weight and sedentary lifestyle, Jackie started reading about new tools and methods that might help. This led her to discover True You Weight Loss and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that reduces the overall size of the stomach.
“I found True You online while researching about different weight loss strategies,” Jackie says. “I liked what I was reading about them, especially the reviews and patient testimonials. I thought ESG might be the right thing to help me start feeling and looking decent again, but I went back and forth in my head for a while, trying to decide if I could actually go through with it.”
Jackie worried about the financial commitment, and if she could really lose a substantial amount of weight. She also wondered if she was too old to take such a big leap of faith.
“I thought, ‘I’m fat and I’ve been fat—maybe I should just deal with it and not spend the money, or not risk wasting the money for five to 10 pounds,’” Jackie reflects. “But finally my husband convinced me. He said that if it was really something that I wanted to do and if it would make me happy, I should do it.”
After that, Jackie met with her doctor who gave her a referral to True You, and from her first interaction, she knew it was the right choice. Every phone call, email, and appointment was convenient and felt very personal—it was a reassuring process for her.
“Everyone I spoke with was just so pleasant and happy,” Jackie says. “The entire staff seemed to love their job, and they all went out of their way to help me. It was very refreshing and reassuring.”
With her husband’s support, Jackie decided once and for all that she was going to move forward with ESG, and on September 3, 2021, they arrived in Cary, North Carolina, for her procedure. Although she felt some nerves, Jackie was comforted by her nurse and made to feel right at ease. After Jackie’s procedure, she and her husband spent one night in a Cary hotel and left for home the next day, after she received hydration.
“It was truly one of the easiest things I’ve ever done,” Jackie says. “After my procedure, I went back to work two days later, and I did just fine. … I had no issues whatsoever, and I didn’t tell anyone about where I had been.”
After Jackie’s post-procedure diet progression began, the pounds started to melt away—with minimal side effects other than some mild nausea. Her hospital coworkers eventually took notice, especially because she had stopped snacking.
“I was happy to tell them, because I felt really proud,” Jackie says. “Everyone around me was shocked, especially because this was so out-of-character for me.”
With a goal weight of 150 pounds, Jackie worked hard to change her mindset and continue losing weight. At first, she struggled to reverse old habits, such as eating out of boredom, but she dedicated herself to making the permanent changes she needed to be successful.
“I had conversations with myself because I knew I was the only one who could do this,” Jackie says. “It took some effort, but now I only eat until I am satisfied and that’s it. I work at it every day, the awareness of my food intake and what I am eating. Now, I feel in total control of my mindset—when I am not hungry, I tell myself to stop, and I refuse to binge eat or eat out of boredom anymore.”
When Jackie reached a plateau at 160 pounds, she worked with her True You Weight Loss team to overcome the stall with a combination of medications and continued nutrition and health coaching support.
Today, Jackie has dropped to an astounding 139 pounds, and she can’t believe how good she feels. Her pain is virtually gone, and her energy level is through the roof. Jackie discovered she feels so much happier and healthier when eating nutritious foods, like fresh fruits, and she is thrilled to be enjoying hobbies and personal interests again.
“I am always doing something now, and I am never sitting still,” Jackie says. “I especially love working with plants and succulents in my new greenhouse, a gift from my husband, and gardening in my yard. It feels awesome to be able to accomplish things that I never could have done before.”
Jackie is once again comfortable looking in the mirror and trying on sundresses and clothes she hasn’t been able to wear for years.
“The feeling is indescribable,” Jackie explains. “I actually have a shape now—I never thought I could look like this again. My coworkers are so impressed, and my husband and daughter are really proud of me. My husband even calls me little skinny mini—a phrase I never thought someone could use to describe me!”
Jackie describes her weight loss journey as both easy and difficult. She says the procedure itself, working with True You, and the initial weight loss were easy—however, her mental re-set was more challenging. She had to learn how not to abuse food, how to choose the right foods, and how to stay active rather than sitting around and doing nothing. Jackie credits much of her success in this area to the support of her True You team, including Emily and dietitian Kathleen, as well as Dr. Christopher McGowan, True You’s founder and world-renowned leader in endobariatrics. Even today, Jackie continues to meet with Emily regularly to evaluate her progress and manage her True You Rx.
“I cannot say enough about the entire True You team,” Jackie says. “They are absolutely fabulous. They have gone above and beyond to help me reach my goals and are always there when I have questions, issues or concerns. They respond to me immediately when I reach out, and they have never once treated me like I am not a priority. They truly are an awesome group of people, and I am so grateful for their role in my weight loss journey.”
Meanwhile, for anyone who is considering a weight loss procedure like ESG or working with True You, Jackie has her own encouragement to share.
“If you are serious about making a positive change in your life, do this,” she insists. “You have to be willing to put in the work and make yourself accountable, but I promise you, you will not have any regrets.”
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