After Disappointing Gastric Bypass Results, Michelle Thrives with True You
Life is pretty hectic for 57-year-old Michelle Ferrens, a traveling respiratory therapist from Aberdeen, Maryland. She works long hours, sometimes 12-hour shifts, five days in a row, and regularly travels to work at hospitals across the country. While most of her children have flown from the nest, two still live at home. As a former Grammy-nominated music artist and matriarch of a blended family, Michelle is no stranger to the struggles of staying healthy while balancing a busy schedule. Alongside her loving and supportive husband, Michelle manages her busy schedule, but until recently, she didn’t have the tools or support she needed to maintain the healthy weight she wanted.
For as far back as she can remember, Michelle has struggled with her weight. Over the years, yo-yo dieting, pregnancy, travel, and demands at work and home, never made it easy for Michelle to permanently drop the pounds. Meanwhile, thoughts about her weight and how to overcome it consumed her life and created a lot of stress. So, about 10 years ago, Michelle decided to have gastric bypass surgery, but she didn’t get the results she’d hoped for.
“I lost about 30 pounds, but I never lost as much as I wanted to. Then, I slowly gained the weight back,” Michelle explained. “I didn’t really notice it at first because I was busy with work, and I wore scrubs all the time. Then one day, I got home, took off my scrubs and realized that I couldn’t fit into my clothes. I was so upset that I’d endured surgery only to end up back where I started.”
Around the same time, Michelle was performing live around the country with her Grammy-nominated female rap group, J.J. Fad. Soon after she saw a video of herself performing, Michelle knew she was ready to make a real change in her life. “I was so upset with the reflection of myself on that video that I actually cried. I didn’t realize how much weight I’d actually gained, so that represented a real turning point for me.”
Michelle wanted desperately to get her health and weight back on track, but she was not at all willing to endure another major surgery. Not only did it not work for her the first time around, but Michelle also found that an invasive surgery was not conducive to her life or career. The recovery was very painful and debilitating, and because of her work and travel schedule, she was unable to keep up with her follow-up appointments. When she started to fall off-course, she got very little support. There was no accountability, and no program after the surgery to help foster a lifelong, lifestyle change. Michelle knew she wanted something different this time around.
Turning to the internet to search for alternative weight loss solutions, Michelle came across True You Weight Loss and was thrilled to find a non-surgical alternative to gastric bypass surgical revision. After conducting more research, reading patient success stories and positive online reviews for True You Weight Loss and Dr. McGowan, she became even more excited. Michelle gave them a call and one day later, she had a face-to-face consultation over Zoom. From there, she immediately scheduled her gastric bypass revision. Michelle credits True You program coordinator Tesha Chapman with helping her realize this was the right option for her.
“From my first conversation with Tesha, I felt like this team really cared about me—I wasn’t just a number or another patient,” said Michelle. “Tesha gave me a ton of good information but didn’t try to talk me into anything. I love that she allowed me the freedom to make my own decision without any pressure.”
In July 2021, with her husband by her side, Michelle traveled to Cary, North Carolina, for her gastric bypass revision. Weighing 221 pounds, Michelle was nervous but excited. When she arrived at True You, Michelle was immediately put at ease once she was greeted by the friendly team—who went above and beyond to ensure her husband was informed throughout the process since he wasn’t allowed inside due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“They went out to the car to give him several updates during my procedure,” said Michelle. “It was amazing to me, that they cared about my support person, too. It really meant a lot to both of us.”
Michelle woke up from her procedure without any memorable pain and started walking the hallways about three hours later to help ease some tightness and gas. She flew home the next day and went back to work right away. Her only post-procedure challenge was finding the time to drink enough liquids while being on the move around the hospital all day. But, it was a small price to pay.
Six months after her gastric bypass revision, Michelle has lost more than 50 pounds. She has gone from a size 14 to a size 8, and her energy level has exploded. Her sleep apnea has improved, and she’s thrilled to work long hours without the aches and pains in her feet and legs that were caused by her excess weight. She has also grown to love exercise, something she hated before, and walks, swims, or runs five to six days a week. More importantly, Michelle has taken the time to build a new relationship with food.
“I used to allow my eating to get tied up with my emotions. If I was upset, I would reach for food. I would also use food as a reward—even for losing weight!” explained Michelle. “Now, I understand my triggers and have changed the way I make my choices. Instead of cake, I choose sugar-free pudding, and I can limit my portions now as well. I don’t deny myself anything, but I have retrained my brain. I am truly invested in this, and I have promised myself that I will not self-sabotage my weight loss.”
Even though Michelle’s results have been remarkable (her weight is currently lower than her high school weight!), she did experience some stalls along the way. She credits her continued success to working closely with the True You Weight Loss team and not being afraid to ask for help and guidance.
“Anytime my weight loss started to drop off, I reached out to them right away,” explained Michelle. “They are always available and responsive. They would make time to meet with me on Zoom by the next day, and they always assured me not to be discouraged or so hard on myself. Even today, they make sure I’m doing the right things and give me advice to get back on track, such as recipes, how to stay on my diet while travelling, exercise tips or just reassurance that I am still on a good path. The help and support to stay focused and confident has made a huge difference for me this time around.”
Today, in her new, healthier body, Michelle is determined to enjoy her life without the constant concern for her weight. She has been relishing in shopping trips for new clothing and in her quest to discover her own unique style. “This is the freest I’ve ever felt!” said Michelle.
Her husband will attest that Michelle’s self-confidence has drastically improved, and she is finding enjoyment in the little things she could never enjoy before, such as running for exercise and fitting into an airplane seat with ease.
“It’s the regular life stuff that I’m enjoying, without the stress of thinking about weight loss all the time,” added Michelle. “Choosing True You was 100 percent what I needed to do to get to this point. I’ve been following their process so closely—and I honestly didn’t realize how much weight I’d lost until I finally stopped to look at my before and after photos. They really blew me away—and I’m so thankful for the guidance, reassurance, and support I’ve gotten from the True You Weight Loss team along the way.”