On a mission to lose weight after endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), Kyra Williams is a success story whose achievements reach far beyond the scale. Kyra has become an incredible motivator and inspiration for others as she chronicles her weight loss journey online using Instagram and YouTube.
Aptly named the “Fierce ESG Diva,” Kyra openly shares—with her growing community of social media followers—advice, updates, challenges, victories, and honest truths about weight loss after her recent ESG procedure. A wife, mother of two, and English instructor at a community college in Texas, Kyra also finds purpose in her online presence, where she offers personal details that she herself was once looking for as she investigated alternative weight loss options.
“When I first started researching ESG, all I could find were doctors explaining ESG. I couldn’t find anyone online like me who was talking firsthand about their experience, which is what I really wanted to hear during my research,” Kyra explained. “That inspired me to create my own social media presence, and it just kept growing. I receive messages from followers all the time, telling me that I have inspired them. Now, I have a whole community of friends with the same goal. We talk online, plan workouts together, and it inspires me to be accountable for staying on track.”
For Kyra, the process has been smooth so far, but her hard work and determination to achieve results have played an integral role in her success. One year after her August 2020 ESG, Kyra has already lost about 105 pounds, down from 269 to 164—a major accomplishment, especially considering her years-long battle with weight.
Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Kyra was an active child and preteen. Dance, cheerleading, student council, and band filled her time and kept her busy. She vaguely recalls being on the chubbier side starting in late elementary school.
“Around my third-grade year, my parents started gently coaching me on my diet choices,” Kyra reflected. “Then in fourth or fifth grade, I participated in a program where kids would exercise in the cafeteria after school a few times per week. Looking back, I was probably chosen because of my weight.”
When Kyra was in the eleventh grade, she and her family moved to Texas, a move that was not easy for a teenager. Feeling down about the transition, Kyra quit most of her extracurricular activities and settled into a more sedentary lifestyle after they moved. The first time she tried to diet was that same year, hoping to fit into a dress for her school’s homecoming dance.
“It didn’t work because I was so inactive,” said Kyra. “After that, I went to college and gained about 50 pounds. I was never fixated on the scale, but at age 19, I weighed myself for the first time and realized I had reached 243 pounds.”
From there and throughout her adult life, Kyra tried numerous fad diets and workouts, even special fitness programs and women’s gyms, but nothing ever worked. She would lose a few pounds and then gain them right back, unable to keep up with a strict, regimented lifestyle. Before getting married in 2008, Kyra lost about 40 pounds, but it was a loss she was unable to maintain. Shortly thereafter, she gave birth to her son and her daughter 14 months apart, and the weight gain associated with pregnancy seemed impossible to reverse, even with more dieting and exercise.
It was near that time that Kyra decided to look into the idea of weight loss procedures, but she knew she wasn’t interested in surgery. Sadly, Kyra had lost one of her best friends due to complications from bariatric surgery before the age of 30, so she was adamantly opposed to anything that required cutting or rearranging her intestines.
With this discerning approach, Kyra spent almost seven years researching different options that she believed might work for her individual challenges. “It’s not that I ate horribly, I would just eat too much, and I felt like I was always hungry, so the idea of limiting my stomach capacity was very appealing,” explained Kyra.
Then, one night in April 2020, the stars aligned when Kyra’s research led her to stumble across some videos and interviews about ESG, as well as a video of Dr. Christopher McGowan, founder of True You Weight Loss and world-renowned gastroenterologist, actually performing an ESG procedure live while simultaneously answering questions. After watching the video three times, Kyra had a feeling that ESG was the right choice for her.
“Things happened pretty quickly from there,” remembered Kyra. “I told my husband about it, had my consultation with Dr. McGowan in June, and was walking in for my procedure on August 19, 2020, four days before my birthday, so it was a big birthday present to myself.”
After her procedure, Kyra didn’t experience any of the side effects she is frequently asked about—no heartburn, nausea, vomiting, or food intolerances. Regarding her weight loss after ESG, Kyra says her positive attitude, dedication, and her commitment to following all of the rules and recommendations given by the True You team, have played a key role in her success.
“I made up my mind that ESG was going to work for me, and I was going to do everything possible to get the results I wanted,” explained Kyra. “I knew this procedure wouldn’t stop my hunger, but I needed it to help stop my overeating.” Kyra explains that while many of her fellow ESG friends mourn the loss of food, she doesn’t feel that way. “I never saw ESG as the end of food for me—it’s just the end of overeating. I can still eat what I want, but I have to exercise and limit my portions. When I eat too much now, I feel a tightness in my stomach that serves as a helpful reminder not to go back to my old habits.”
Admitting that regular exercise has been her biggest challenge, Kyra still motivates herself to work out almost every day. Her chosen activities include step aerobics, as well as walking and running on her treadmill, lifting weights, and riding her new Peloton bike.
Kyra continues to notice changes in the way she feels. “I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I started to feel better,” said Kyra. “My energy levels are way up, and I have much more stamina than I did before. I can actually walk for long distances now and keep up with my kids.”
An influencer online, Kyra also strives to be a positive role model for her family. Through her efforts to adopt a healthier lifestyle, she has incorporated healthier habits into their lives as well, teaching them about better food choices and serving size.
While many exciting adventures lie ahead for Kyra, she will always be grateful to Dr. McGowan and the True You Weight Loss team for being integral to her weight loss success.
“I call them my True You family, because they have become like family to me,” said Kyra. “They are truly invested in my success and make me feel like I’m the only patient they have. I know I would not have been as successful with any other doctor or weight loss support team.”
Kyra shares her advice and insight for any patient considering the ESG procedure. “Losing weight—even with ESG—is both a physical and mental battle. If you have certain issues related to your relationship with food, work with a therapist before the procedure,” said Kyra. “Also, expect that weight loss will be easy at first, but with setbacks later on, and plan ahead for how you can handle those setbacks. Finally, even though it’s hard, try not to compare yourself to others and their successes—focus on you and your own personal journey.”
That’s great advice from the “Fierce ESG Diva,” who continues to share her story online and motivate others with her passion, determination, and weight loss success.
“My hope is that in the future, when someone researches ESG and wants to see and hear firsthand from real patients, they’ll find their way to me and I can help them,” Kyra concludes.