When Kate relocated to the United States from Eastern Europe ten years ago, she knew it would be a big transition. However, she never imagined the degree to which her life would change just a few years down the road. It all began when Kate decided to reclaim her health.
About Kate and Her Struggle with Weight
A current resident of Houston, Kate, 33, looks back sadly on a lifetime of struggling with her weight – a seesaw of gaining and losing and gaining again. The successful account manager for Expedia Travel has always been passionate about travel and considers herself a true “foodie.”
“I love good food, 12-course meals, and delicious wine pairings,” Kate says. “These don’t fit well with weight loss, which may partly explain why losing weight has been a challenge for me.”
Kate can’t remember any time in her life when she was actually at a healthy weight. She lost the same 100 pounds about three to four times over the last 15 years but never had long-term success.
“It became a vicious cycle,” Kate explains. “I would go through phases where I would work to get healthy by going to the gym and limiting calories. I would maintain this for about a year, and then some sort of life crisis would happen, and I would gain it all back.”
More Health Challenges for Kate
At age 19, Kate was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a female hormone condition that leads to menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. This took an added toll on how Kate looked and felt. Kate tried countless weight loss strategies – including working with a nutritionist and a personal trainer, engaging in several different exercise crazes (i.e. boxing, biking, Pilates, and boot camps), eating a low-calorie and low-carbohydrate diet, and juicing.
“When I was juicing, I got so weak that I fainted in the shower, so that was a moment of clarity for me,” Kate says. “I realized I could not lose weight on my own. No matter how much research I did or how many weight loss articles I read, I never really understood how to lose weight. Through therapy, I finally admitted it was time to do something else. I needed another option, like a tool that would help me achieve my long-term goals.”
Kate Learns About ESG
By this time, Kate was feeling desperate for a solution. She was turning 30 and worried that she’d never again be able to shed the 100 pounds she’d lost several times before.
Mentally and emotionally, she was in a dark place – but continued to research her options. For most of her adult life, Kate had the idea of weight loss surgery in the back of her mind, but when she finally looked into it, she learned she’d actually have to gain more weight just to qualify for coverage.
Finally, everything clicked for Kate when a specialist she was working with for her PCOS recommended she see a gastroenterologist for an endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), a non-surgical, incision-less, minimally invasive procedure to reduce stomach size.
“As soon as I heard about ESG, I was mentally ready to take a leap of faith,” Kate says. “The lack of side effects, shorter recovery, and much lower risk for complications (as compared to other invasive weight loss surgeries) were appealing to me. I didn’t have a lot of added health complications due to my weight, so for me, it was more about safety. I liked that they wouldn’t be cutting any part of my stomach, but what really appealed to me was the idea that ESG would serve as a tool that could be with me 24/7, unlike trainers and dietitians, who can’t be with you all the time.”
Initially, Kate consulted with a local gastroenterologist and was impressed that the doctor had performed around 55 to 60 ESG procedures in her career. She booked her ESG for December 2022.
“Once I scheduled the procedure, I needed to know what ESG was actually like and what life was like afterward, so I joined some ESG communities on social media,” Kate explains.
“Many patients were discussing their experiences, and I noticed a theme. Most of the success stories were coming from patients of True You Weight Loss and Dr. Christopher McGowan.”
Kate Chooses True You
When Kate researched True You and Dr. McGowan, the clinic’s founder and world-renowned leader in endobariatrics, she realized his experience far surpassed that of her local gastroenterologist. As soon as she learned Dr. McGowan had completed more than 2,000 ESG procedures and that True You focused exclusively on procedures like ESG, she requested a consultation and switched her care over to True You.
“I had a great and informative consultation, which 100 percent affirmed this was the best decision for me,” Kate says. “True You was the perfect fit. I knew I could trust them, so I scheduled my procedure for January 2023.”
On the day of her ESG, Kate felt no anxiety, no jitters, and total peace of mind. “It was the most important day of my life – I knew it would lead to a meaningful change in my future,” Kate reflects.
Kate’s ESG Recovery & Weight Loss Success
Kate’s procedure went well, and she traveled back home to Denver two days later, and her weight loss began. To date, Kate is down 90 pounds from her highest weight and has lost 72 pounds since her ESG.
While Kate says her initial weight loss was fast and easy, she had to put in the work to get the most from her ESG. She has established new eating habits and learned that moderation is key to success. Her True You nutritionist, Laura Justice, has also been an essential part of her journey, helping her understand her new guidelines, supporting her through ups and downs, and being her biggest cheerleader.
“Laura helped me realize that this process is not about a diet; it’s about mindfulness and moderation,” Kate says. “Thanks to Laura, I am doing all the right things, and I trust the process. Laura keeps me motivated and grounded. She emphasizes that this is a long-term game, not a quick fix.”
As a result of Laura’s advice, Kate is still able to enjoy her “foodie” lifestyle but within a new, framework that includes portion control, prioritizing proteins and the elimination of alcohol,. To maintain accountability to herself, Kate tracks everything she eats daily, and she also hired a personal trainer who comes to her house for workouts several times per week.
“I approached this process with curiosity and have been more real with myself than I’ve ever been before,” Kate says. “I do things to ensure I am accountable to myself, like food tracking and hiring my trainer. In the past, I failed myself with exercise. Now, I know my trainer is going to show up, so I have to exercise. I even increased my appointments from two to four times per week because it’s helping so much.”
Kate Thrives with Support from True You
To summarize her experience with Dr. McGowan and the True You team, Kate cannot say enough about the support she continues to receive, which she says has played a significant role in her success.
“The team is always there for me, no matter when I need them,” Kate says. “Their commitment to patient support and patient success is unmatched. I continue to meet with Laura every Friday. I was even on a video call crying with her on the day I reached “ONEderland” (the celebratory name for when True You patients dip below the 200-pound mark and reach the 100s), and she was so happy for me. I never thought I would weigh any less than 200 pounds.”
These days, Kate says she feels like a completely new person, but with the best parts of herself still intact.
“When I started this journey, some friends and even my partner were nervous about the risks,” Kate reflects. “Now, they are amazed at my results and are very supportive. Some have even asked for my advice on losing weight. They know I feel so much better and are happy for me because I am happier than I have ever been.”
Kate Enjoys Life’s Little Pleasures & Non-Scale Victories
In addition to feeling great, Kate is relishing doing many of the things she was never able to enjoy before. Shopping is finally fun again, not necessarily to buy things, but she enjoys trying on clothes in the dressing room, even smaller sizes as a way to motivate herself to keep going. She says it’s exciting to be able to choose from an abundance of styles and brands.
She is also proud of her “non-scale victories” associated with losing weight.
“I can now fit into an airplane seat without a seatbelt extender and into the passenger seat of our car with space leftover,” Kate says. “I can also walk and run without losing my breath, move around freely, cross my legs with ease, and bend down to put on my shoes and socks with ease. Plus, I have stopped constantly thinking and worrying about how I look when I’m in public.”
Excited for the Future & Supporting Others in the ESG Community
Looking forward to the future in her new body, Kate is planning to go ziplining, try horseback riding, and ride a roller coaster, all things she was unable to do before. Additionally, her passion for travel continues, and she can’t wait to have more adventures without feeling self-conscious or worn out.
“My partner and I recently took a helicopter ride in São Paolo and a walking tour of Rio, neither of which would have been possible at my former weight,” Kate says. “I am excited to try new destinations and to travel and explore with ease.”
Meanwhile, Kate enjoys sharing her story on her personal blog and through social media to spread awareness about ESG as a safer alternative to other weight loss procedures. Connecting with the ESG community helps her feel supported and keeps her accountable to her goals.
“I feel different these days, and it’s very fulfilling. I know I have put in the work and it has paid off,” Kate says. “To others who are considering an ESG with True You, I would advise them to do their homework for peace of mind and to know it will take personal commitment. This is a long-term process, but it is definitely worth it – I’m so glad I decided to take this chance on myself.”