Caring for the health and well-being of others has always been a passion for Dianna, a nurse, wife, mother, Pittsburgh native, and longtime resident of Raleigh, N.C. With almost 30 years of medical-surgical nursing experience, Dianna, 50, has experienced a lot of success in her career, even being promoted to an executive director in recent years. However, in 2020, Dianna realized that her own health and well-being were suffering. Over time, she had become overweight, which led to multiple health-related issues and made even the simplest tasks difficult to complete.
“I was on medication for high blood pressure, I was a borderline diabetic, and I had sleep apnea for which I was using a CPAP machine every night,” Dianna says. “I also had elevated liver enzymes, plantar fasciitis, low energy, and mobility issues, all due to being overweight.”
Life & Perimenopause Leads to Weight Gain
Growing up, Dianna didn’t struggle much with her weight. “I was never one of the skinny girls, but looking back, I was at a healthy weight for most of my life – even after I gave birth to my daughter.” But during her 40s, when perimenopause hit and her mother passed away, she gained 60 pounds.
“I tried to lose weight so many times with so many different diets, but nothing was ever effective,” Dianna says. “Sometimes I would experience a small weight loss, but it was never sustainable. For years, I was frustrated that my efforts were never reflected on the scale.”
When Diets Won’t Work
Over the years, Dianna tried the now off-market fen-phen, SlimFast®, several rounds of WeightWatchers®, the Atkins™ diet, the South Beach Diet, the Noom weight loss program, and even the basic “calories in, calories out” approach. For a while, dieting seemed to be her only weight loss option – unfortunately, she had suffered from psoriatic arthritis since age 26, so any type of high-impact exercise was out of the question. Eventually, Dianna became anxious to find a true, long-term solution. That’s when she thought back to an interaction she’d had at work about a year and a half earlier.
“One day, I was touring a vendor around at work, and a colleague took a moment to introduce me to Dr. [Christopher] McGowan, who was performing a procedure that day,” Dianna remembers. “She said, ‘Dianna, I want you to meet this doctor in case you ever decide to do something about your weight.’ I met Dr. McGowan, but I was completely mortified. Ironically, it was that introduction I thought back to when I was ready to do something more drastic about my weight.”
Dianna Chooses True You
After doing some online research and following True You Weight Loss on social media, Dianna realized the full extent of Dr. McGowan’s experience. She learned that he was a world-renowned leader in endobariatrics – she was eager to have a consultation with him to learn more about the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) procedure, a non-surgical, incisionless, minimally invasive procedure to reduce stomach size.
“We had our consultation over Zoom one Friday night, and that same night I committed to having an ESG at True You,” Dianna remembers. “The team called me the next day and scheduled me for December 2020. From the beginning, the entire True You team offered constant support, and Dr. McGowan instilled confidence that this was the right choice for me.”
ESG + Following The Plan = Easier Weight Loss
With optimism for the future, Dianna arrived for her ESG procedure on a Thursday morning. On that day, the tables had turned. Dianna was now a patient within the health system where she typically cared for others. Despite the role reversal, she felt great about her decision. Dianna met Dr. McGowan in person for the first time since their initial meeting. She was very impressed with the treatment she received, including all the safety protocols used by the team, and their kind, caring bedside manner. Everything went well, and Dianna arrived back home that day before lunchtime. By Monday, Dianna was back to work and resuming her normal daily activities.
“I am a very nervous patient, so after my procedure, I closely followed all the rules and restrictions,” Dianna says. “I never cheated on the diet and even omitted sugars for about 16 to 17 months after my ESG.”
For Dianna, the post-procedure diet progression from liquids to solids was even easier than she expected. She had no trouble with cravings, nor did she find it difficult to eat out at restaurants. The weight loss itself was also easier than Dianna expected.
“For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have to constantly think about how I was going to lose weight or what I’d try next. Following the True You Weight Loss plan somehow freed up space in my brain to focus on other things – and helped eliminate ‘food noise, or disruptive thoughts about food,’” Dianna explains. Within two years of her procedure, Dianna had gone from 219 pounds to 160 pounds.
Gratitude for True You & Family Support
To date, Dianna could not be happier with her progress, health and how she feels. She has lost a total of 60 pounds, going from a size 18 to a size 8-12. Amazingly, all of her obesity-related health issues have been resolved, even her plantar fasciitis, and she has discontinued the use of her CPAP machine as well as many of her prescribed medications. She is also experiencing much less arthritis pain. Dianna credits Dr. McGowan and the entire True You team with helping her reach her goals. She says their understanding, non-judgmental attitude, seemingly unlimited availability, and consistent responsiveness accounted for much of her success.
“They were my biggest cheerleaders,” says Dianna. “They create a relationship where you feel like they are your close friends. For me, this felt true even though we had only a few in-person meetings. I will forever be grateful to True You.”
Dianna especially relied on support and advice from her dietitian, Laura, during her weight loss plateaus. As part of the process, Dianna kept a very accurate food log, and she shared access to it with Laura. If Dianna stalled, Laura could then review the log, tweak Dianna’s diet, and give her specific advice on how to proceed.
“Honesty with your nutritionist is very important,” Dianna explains. “I was always ready to receive Laura’s feedback and heed her advice – that was really important, too. As a result, my mindset about food has completely changed. My whole sense of satiety is different, for example, I can now take one or two bites of something and feel satisfied.”
Weight Loss Leads to a New Way of Life
Dianna’s life has also changed in other positive ways since her ESG. Movement and walking have become much easier after her weight loss, and she now incorporates walking for exercise into her daily routine. Dianna even purchased a treadmill to ensure she can still walk on days when the weather is bad. She continues to strive for 7,000 steps per day.
“Overall, I just feel better, and I am enjoying a greatly improved sense of well-being,” Dianna says. “I also have much more energy and don’t need my daily naps anymore. My family is very proud of my success, especially after watching me struggle for many years.”
In addition to pounds lost, Dianna has been encouraged by her many non-scale victories, such as no longer having to use a CPAP or carry it through the airport while travelling. Shopping for clothes and getting dressed have become much easier and more fun, and she is excited to be able to wear jeans again without feeling self-conscious. Dianna says that feelings of anxiety have decreased and her breathing has improved. She even travelled to Walt Disney World in July 2023 with her daughter, sister, niece, and nephew.
“We had such a great time,” Dianna says. “I just could not believe I was in Florida in mid-summer! It was a trip I never would have taken while overweight because of the heat and all the walking. But thanks to my new body, I was able to go and enjoy that time with my family.”
Dianna’s Recommendation: “Do It!”
To others who are considering an ESG or other True You weight loss procedure, Dianna’s advice is: “Do it!” While she was once hesitant to share that she’d had a weight loss procedure, Dianna is now proud to discuss her experience and has no problem acknowledging that she needed the extra help. However, she says that anyone considering ESG should do their homework first.
“Do your research, and get to know the team and their process,” Dianna says. “Then, schedule your consultation sooner rather than later, and once you commit, trust the process. As Dr. McGowan told me, spend less time worrying about the number on the scale and wait patiently for that one-year mark. If you happen to stall, lean on the wonderful support that True You offers and all the advice they give you to get back on track.”
Success at a Glance
Top Non-Scale Victories