It’s hard enough to be a pre-teen, but being overweight during these tough years can make it even harder. Gaila started struggling with her weight at around age 12. She remembers her mother putting her on various diets, including a protein syrup diet, a grapefruit diet, WeightWatchers®, and the Atkins™ diet. But nothing seemed to work, and over the years, Gaila continued to gain. By 2022, Gaila was approaching the age of 60, and the struggle to lose weight was impacting her quality of life – and her plans to enjoy retirement.
Gaila and her husband have two children and three grandchildren, and by October 2022, she was ready to retire and to enjoy her adult years – but her weight was a real hindrance.
“My husband and I wanted to retire early so we could get out there, travel, and enjoy life,” Gaila explains. “But as my retirement date approached, I realized that wouldn’t be possible for me if I continued on the path I was traveling – overweight and unhealthy. I have seen friends and family in their 60s who are overweight and can barely get around without using a walker. I didn’t want that for myself.”
Yet, Gaila’s health history made weight loss difficult. Around five years ago, Gaila discovered that she had issues with her thyroid and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that causes symptoms such as tiredness, weight gain, and weak muscles. She worked with multiple endocrinologists to manage the disease and tried several medications, but her weight continued to climb. Meanwhile, Gaila also discovered that her A1C (blood sugar) and her blood pressure were incredibly high, and she was continuously struggling with indigestion, a lack of energy and stamina, and labored breathing.
“These health issues bothered me. Plus, I have a strong family history of diabetes, so I had a feeling it would probably be inevitable for me, but I still wanted to try and do something about it,” Gaila says. “I didn’t want to go on more medication, so losing weight was my only option for improved health.”
Unfortunately, Gaila was in a challenging position. Her weight wasn’t high enough to qualify for a surgery like gastric bypass, so doctors kept telling her to use diet and exercise. However, Gaila didn’t have the energy for exercise and maintaining restrictive diets had never worked.
“My love for sweets, battling portion control, and staying on track have always been my biggest challenges,” Gaila, 58, says. “I’ll convince myself that a little splurge won’t hurt, and then it becomes a habit.”
She knew she needed something more impactful than diet and exercise to help her with portion control and overindulgence, once and for all. In her determination to find this solution, Gaila found a coworker who had lost a lot of weight during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Lots of people gained weight during the pandemic, but she had lost weight,” Gaila says. “I asked her how she had done it, and she told me all about Orbera and True You Weight Loss. I wanted to learn more, and I spoke with my endocrinologist about it as well. He was very supportive and excited for me.”
Orbera is a non-surgical, fully reversible gastric balloon that helps patients limit food intake by creating a feeling of fullness and slowing digestion. Once Gaila had done her research online about True You and Orbera, she was sold. Videos and Facebook recommendations convinced her that this was the thing she needed to jumpstart her weight loss and transform her life. She was also very impressed with the credentials and experience of Dr. Christopher McGowan, founder of True You and world-renowned leader in endobariatrics.
“I had my procedure on March 24, 2023, at 176 pounds, and the whole process was so easy,” Gaila says. “My procedure went extremely well, and I had practically zero side effects. I went home to Mebane on the same day, and by day two after the procedure, I was out riding a horse. It didn’t slow me down at all.”
In fact, the only challenging part of the procedure for Gaila was the post-procedure diet progression, specifically the first month’s liquid-only diet.
“Without solid food, I became hyper-focused on wanting to eat. That was the hardest part for me,” Gaila explains. “But I stayed the course, tracked my intake, and slowly introduced new foods as I was instructed to do. And overeating never became a problem because the balloon made me feel so full. Throughout it all, I kept my goal in mind and knew I was going to be successful.”
Gaila’s dedication paid off, and within the first six months, she had lost 45 pounds. Her balloon was then removed, and she quickly lost a couple more pounds. To date, Gaila has lost 47 pounds and has gone from a size 12 to a size 4. She now weighs around 130 pounds and is feeling great. The knowledge she gained from Dr. McGowan and his team about eating habits and nutrition, as well as the support they’ve shown her along the way, helped her achieve true weight loss success.
“From the beginning, Dr. McGowan helped me set goals and explained things to me such as how sugar affects weight loss,” Gaila says. “Additionally, Dr. McGowan and his team have been so kind and understanding. Anytime I would email him with a question, I would get a response right back, and I have loved his energy and positivity.”
Gaila has also been very happy with the support she’s received from her True You dietitian, Laura.
“Laura is always very reassuring and has helped me work through my struggles with cravings,” Gaila explains. “With Laura’s help, I’ve learned how to manage indulgences and how to stop punishing myself. She’s helped me regain control of my triggers and my eating.”
These days, Gaila’s diet has improved immensely. She avoids sugars, controls her portions, and finds healthier substitutes for the treats she loves. She is also enjoying a much more active lifestyle and has incorporated exercise into her daily routine, creating a “home gym” upstairs in her house, and engaging in Wall Pilates, swimming, horseback riding, and lots of walking. She has even started riding bikes and is working on a bucket list for the future, which includes sky diving, ziplining, and a hot air balloon ride.
“I am enjoying the ability to do all of the things I couldn’t do when I was overweight because I had no energy,” Gaila explains. “Now, I have no interest in slowing down.”
Additionally, Gaila and her husband are thrilled that they are able to carry out their post-retirement plans and travel all the time. Due to Gaila’s success, her husband has also been inspired to lose weight, eat healthier, and join Gaila in her new lifestyle. Meanwhile, many of the health issues from which Gaila was suffering before her weight loss have resolved. In addition to regaining her energy level, Gaila’s blood pressure is now perfect, her cholesterol is stable, and she no longer has trouble with her breathing.
To anyone who is considering the Orbera gastric balloon with True You, Gaila says she would definitely recommend it but also reminds others to ensure they have the right mindset.
“Even with my thyroid issues, Orbera worked for me,” Gaila says. “However, the right mindset is everything in this process. If you are ready to change your lifestyle, and you are willing to make the commitment, you will be successful.”
Top Non-Scale Victories:
Improved blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced shortness of breath.