Ellen
“It’s always been my dream to have a place at the beach, and now we do. I can’t wait to spend time there, walking my dog on the beach every day and stopping to appreciate everything I have. I am proud of what I have accomplished because I believed in myself.
 Success Stories

Finding the Strength Within Herself: Ellen’s ESG Journey with True You


When Ellen reached her 40s, she realized that her weight was moving in the wrong direction. The successful mortgage broker and longtime resident of Charleston, S.C., had never struggled with her weight before, so the change was confusing. Initially, Ellen felt that if she could maintain at 200 pounds, everything would be fine.

“Eight years ago, I married my wonderful husband, and he is also a chef,” Ellen explains.  “He introduced two fabulous stepchildren into my life but also a life that was centered around cooking and food.  Then, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I leaned in to some habits that were not supportive to my health.”

Ellen Before 2 1

Fad Diets Fail & Health Challenges Arise

Attempting to manage her weight throughout her 40s, Ellen tried many different fad diets and weight loss programs, including phentermine, the keto diet, the Paleo diet, the Atkins® diet, low-carb dieting, and eating vegetarian, but nothing would work.  Later, Ellen’s weight gain was exacerbated even more by the pandemic.

“Like everyone, I was at home all the time and working from home alongside my husband, who is also in real estate,” Ellen says.  “We were extremely busy with work, and we weren’t eating healthy.  There were a lot of quick, processed foods, and I was eating and drinking way too much.”

By early 2022, when Ellen’s weight had reached its highest point (260 pounds), she could only wear sandals on her feet, along with compression socks. She felt incredibly uncomfortable in her own skin. Not only was she unhappy with her physical appearance, but Ellen knew that her inner health was suffering as well.  She was dealing with sleep apnea, muscle and joint pain, and her cholesterol and blood pressure had gotten very high. As a result of her high cholesterol, Ellen was prescribed a statin, which made her even more uncomfortable and caused a lot of cramping.  Ellen desperately wanted to get off the statin, and she knew the only answer was to find a more drastic weight loss strategy.

Ellen Discovers True You

Ellen began researching weight loss surgeries, and she even briefly took the weight-loss medication Wegovy®.  However, it was too expensive to maintain and hard to get.  Since she had undergone previous surgery for a hiatal hernia, Ellen was also searching for a bariatric treatment that would be safe for her.  Many doctors warned Ellen that any type of endoscopic sleeve surgery would not be possible due to potential complications.

“Before I found True You, I had planned to travel to Mexico for a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) to reroute my digestive system, which I really did not want to do. The doctors had told me I wasn’t eligible for a gastric sleeve surgery because of my hernia,” Ellen says.  “I am so glad I kept digging because that’s when I discovered True You – I stumbled upon Dr. McGowan’s Instagram account. He puts a lot of excellent information on social media, and when I read it, I realized that this could be an option for me.”

During the summer of 2022, Ellen consulted with Dr. Christopher McGowan, world-renowned leader in endobariatrics and founder of True You, along with his team.  She was thrilled that they were open to finding the best procedure that would work for her, accounting for her health history, and they agreed to review the X-rays of her hernia to make a final decision.  The True You team answered all of her questions, and took the time to really understand her unique situation to make a safe and informed decision together.

“I knew I was on the right track with a doctor and facility that really understood my journey and what it looked like,” Ellen says.  “I was reassured and comforted by Dr. McGowan’s compassion for what I was going through – it felt so much different than the treatment I was getting from the other physicians I’d met.  When True You called to inform me I was a good candidate for an endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), my mind was blown.”

Ellen spoke with her family, and together they decided that this was the right choice for her, especially since ESG is a non-invasive procedure that reduces stomach size with very little recovery/downtime after the procedure.  It was exactly what Ellen had hoped for, so she scheduled her procedure for November 14, 2022, and looked forward to using the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday as a time to rest and recover.

“From that point, there was no turning back,” Ellen says.  “I was very excited but also nervous.  Some extended family members expressed concern, but I chose to tune all of that out and listen to myself.  It was a very important moment of mindfulness for me and my future.”

Ellen Finds the Confidence to Change Her Life

Fortunately for Ellen, she had already begun working with a therapist to build her confidence and overall mindset – work she believes contributed to her success. Armed with this new mindset, Ellen travelled to the True You clinic in Cary, N.C., that November with her husband, ready to transform her life and finally believing it was possible.  Her pre-procedure ‘jitters’ melted away as soon as she walked inside the clinic and met Dr. McGowan, the staff, and her nurse practitioner, Emily Weaver.

“Everyone was so genuine and welcoming,” Ellen remembers.  “It was like a wave of emotion had come over me and then all the nervousness just left, like a sigh of relief.  Once I was alone, I prayed and had faith that it all would be okay – and of course everything was.”

After a smooth and successful ESG procedure, Ellen took a week off work to recover.

“I took my recovery very slowly and followed all of the directions to a T,” Ellen says.  “Physically, I could have gone back to work in person sooner, but I wanted to take it easy for as long as possible. That helped me adjust to my new routine and reduced appetite.  Overall, the recovery process and diet progression (from liquids to solids) were easy for me.  My first 30 pounds came off like it was nothing at all.”

Weight Loss Success & the Support of True You

Ellen attributes her successful journey in large part to the support she found with True You’s social media community as well as her follow-up appointments with Emily and her support team, including nutrition appointments with dietitian Lori Gooch.  Lori created an eating plan for Ellen that worked well for her needs and was essential to her success, and the follow-up appointments helped hold Ellen accountable for her progress.

Today, Ellen has dropped from 240 down to 183 pounds, which exceeded her initial goal of 200 pounds, and she continues to lose even today. Her health issues have greatly improved – including a 70-point drop in her cholesterol levels. Thankfully, there are no more statins for Ellen. She practices hot yoga regularly and walks her dog for consistent mindful movement and stress relief.

“Before my procedure, I was a once-a-week yoga person, and I would occasionally walk my dog,” Ellen says.  “But after my procedure, I was determined to find some form of exercise that felt right for me. I am so grateful that I found hot yoga at this wonderful little studio near my home.”

Transforming Her Life in Many Ways

Ellen’s weight loss has also been the catalyst for other significant life changes. In addition to dropping weight and becoming a hot yoga enthusiast, Ellen has quit drinking alcohol altogether – a change she says has been life-changing. As part of the ESG recovery, True You recommends that patients give up alcohol for the first year after their procedure, something many patients struggle with. However, Ellen accomplished that feat and after a year, she realized that drinking alcohol just didn’t feel right for her anymore, so she made the commitment to give it up for good.

“When I started my ESG journey, I felt defeated, like I had given up on all my hopes and dreams. Now, thanks to True You and ESG, I am free from overusing food and alcohol, and it feels amazing. I truly feel unstoppable. I’ve been able to experience more life in the past year than I was in the past five years combined.”

A Whole New World for Ellen

These days, Ellen is able to travel comfortably and see the world – without a seatbelt extender for air travel!  She celebrates other non-scale victories such as being able to enjoy rides at amusement parks, walk her dog without becoming winded, and she’s happy to be looking and feeling great in her clothing.  What’s more, Ellen took her new-found confidence and has started a career in public speaking, presenting to female entrepreneurs on personal growth and transformation. In the future, Ellen is excited about doing more kayaking, training to become a certified yoga instructor (for which she will travel to Costa Rica this summer), and enjoying downtime at the beach. 

“It’s always been my dream to have a place at the beach, and now we do,” Ellen says. “I can’t wait to spend time there, walking my dog on the beach every day and stopping to appreciate everything I have. I am proud of what I have accomplished because I believed in myself.”

Love Yourself First – then Trust True You

To others who are considering an ESG or other True You weight loss procedures, Ellen touts the phenomenal support that True You offers and the follow-up appointments with the team. She credits her appointments with keeping her accountable and being key to her success. However, Ellen encourages self-reflection before taking the leap.

“ESG is not a quick fix. It is a lifestyle change and requires a complete mindset shift,” Ellen concludes. “Before having any type of procedure, take a deep dive into yourself first. Find out what it is that makes you lean into food and overeating – what void are you trying to fill?  While ESG is an effective tool, you must also work on that mental component for long-term success.  Pour the energy into loving and knowing yourself first, and then the rest will fall into place.”

Success At a Glance

Top Non-Scale Victories

  • Improved cholesterol and overall health
  • Freedom from overusing food and alcohol
  • Increased confidence, passion for life
Ellen
“It’s always been my dream to have a place at the beach, and now we do. I can’t wait to spend time there, walking my dog on the beach every day and stopping to appreciate everything I have. I am proud of what I have accomplished because I believed in myself.
Stats at a Glance
November 2022
Age
46
BMI
40
Weight
240
February 2024
Age
47
BMI
31
Weight
183

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