Twenty years ago, Connie Poss, who has run a daycare for the past fifteen years, gave birth to the first of her two daughters. It was shortly after that when she started struggling with her weight.
“After I had my kids, I put on 50 pounds (individual results may vary). I could lose it if I concentrated and ate great, but I’d gain it back and it got harder the older I got,” Poss says. “I’d had enough of the up and down. Reading through everything, watching Melanie—whose kids go to my daycare—and going to support groups to see everybody who had it done, it was unbelievable.” The 40-year-old got sleeved April 12, 2010 and went from 176 pounds (individual results may vary) to 118 in six months. Poss says the care she received in Mexico was like nothing she’s heard of in Saskatchewan and twice a month, she goes to Weight Loss Forever’s support group meetings and says it’s like a second family.
“They don’t leave anybody hanging; they’re right there and somebody’s always helping you. I think if I had done this after I had my kids, I wouldn’t have had any issues,” Poss says. “I was more vibrant when I was 25 years old and at 50 pounds (individual results may vary) overweight,
I hit the bottom. Now I feel 25 again. My self-esteem is higher, I’m more outgoing and shopping is way easier. Before, I used to go by the window, think ‘that’s beautiful,’ and keep walking, but now I can go in, try it on and buy it.
Karen Valentine talks about the support from Weight Loss Forever
“At first, I was disappointed I couldn’t find a friend or family member to come with me, but then I found out how helpful it was to have someone who had gone through the surgery because they understand what you’re going through,” Valentine says. “It was so helpful to have a familiar face because it’s a very profound thing to be going for a major surgery so far away from home and your support systems; to have someone who really intimately understands what you’re going through and has facilitator training is irreplaceable.”
As a healthcare worker, Valentine was extremely impressed with both the clinic and the high level of care she experienced while there. She says the hospital was beautiful and very well—maintained and the quality of care from all of the healthcare workers on site was absolutely genuine—they made sure you knew you were their number one priority.
“Being a healthcare worker, I understand all of our healthcare issues—with budget and staffing—and down there, those issues aren’t apparent. The staff was very concerned, not just with my physical health, but with supporting me in every way they could,” Valentine says.
“And I know they’ve been very supportive of other patients that way — ensuring their mental state and emotional well—being is a priority. I know Dr. Pompa has worked closely with Melanie to develop comprehensive support services for when patients come back. It’s very holistic care in the very definition of the word and I wouldn’t have done it in any other way.”
Nineteen-year-old Lauren Johnston had always been the biggest girl in her group of friends. She was only 14 when she tried Herbal Magic and then Weight Watchers with her mom. Neither worked very long, but it didn’t bother her...at first.
"I went to an all-girls high school in Prince Albert and was sheltered—I didn’t worry about fitting in and buying the right clothes...it wasn’t the focus of every day,” Lauren says. “But then I graduated high school and knew I had to make a change.”
Her parents, who had always been supportive, learned about Weight Loss Forever at a trade show. They talked with Melanie, then with each other and decided to approach Lauren. For three months, she researched the Sleeve, unable to find any “horror stories” convincing her not to do it—she found several about the Lap-Band—and decided to do it. So did her mom.
Lauren, at 296 pounds (individual results may vary), and her mom both got sleeved Jan. 15 in Mexico while another mother/daughter duo had Lap-Band surgeries.
"They both had problems, had to get it reversed and ended up getting sleeves,” the U of S Psychology major says. “Once you get past the thought of going to Mexico for surgery, there’s nothing to be afraid of. The healthcare and surgeon down there were amazing.”
Since the surgery, Lauren’s lost 112 pounds (individual results may vary), but says the best thing is going to support group meetings and helping newcomers.
"I have answers for people who are wondering because I know how it feels to be completely freaked out and unsure of what you’re getting into. I want to scream from the rooftop every time someone asks me how I lost weight because it completely changed my life.”
At 73, Donna Garman is the oldest person to get the sleeve with Weight Loss Forever, after battling with excess weight for most of her life. With her family doctor’s blessing, the Saskatoon Senior had the procedure last fall.
Donna had always been heavy. When she married and had kids, she continued putting on weight. She tried everything from amphetamines and diet pills to Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem to dieting and exercising with no luck. She would lose weight and gain it—and a few extra pounds (individual results may vary)—back.
“I was depressed because I struggled with losing and gaining weight and I hit rock-bottom as far as emotions go,” Donna says. “Both of my parents died of heart-related issues and I certainly thought long and hard about how I could avoid the same fate. With high blood pressure and cholesterol, achy shoulders and hips, I figured I’d be lucky to live 10 more years.”
Six years ago, Donna reached her heaviest weight – 244 pounds (individual results may vary)—and just two years ago, she had both knees replaced due to the pain and deterioration caused by five years of osteoarthritis. Determined to lose weight for her knee’s sake, Donna got down to 204 pounds (individual results may vary) last June, but by August, had gained most of it back. A few weeks later she found an ad for Weight Loss Forever. Thinking she had nothing to lose, she went to the information session.
“Permanent was the key word. When I heard Melanie’s story, I felt in my heart of hearts that this was the answer I was seeking,” Donna says, “For the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful. I could finally stop the insanity of struggling with dieting, failure and feeling guilty.”
Since being Sleeved, the 73-year-old has lost 100 pounds (individual results may vary) from her highest weight and is only a few pounds (individual results may vary) away from her goal weight. Her blood pressure and cholesterol levels are down, she’s off all her medications, she’s no longer in pain and can walk as fast and far and furious as most young people.
“I feel like I’ve been given an extra 10 or 20 years to live and no one takes me for my 70s; they think I’m in my 50s. I get looks from guys saying, ‘Hey, good looking’!” Donna says smiling. “I feel like a Cinderella story, I really do.”
As the manager of a men’s clothing store in Prince Albert, Patricia Hughes knows what makes people look good, but when the 37-year-old decided to get the Sleeve last March, it wasn’t about vanity at all—it was about her health.
“I’d lose weight, gain it back, plus double, and was struggling to lose it again. My blood pressure was skyrocketing and the doctor said I really needed to do something more,” Hughes says. “I met Melanie from Weight Loss Forever back in the fall of 2009, and in February 2010, I finally decided the Sleeve would help me change my life.” Hughes weighed 234 pounds (individual results may vary) before getting sleeved with a patient facilitator by her side, and after just one month, lost 30 of those pounds (individual results may vary); now she’s down over 70 pounds (individual results may vary), has the most energy she’s ever had and her doctor says she saved herself by getting the procedure done.
Though she’s had several surgeries, Hughes says the level of care she received in Mexico was the best she’s ever experienced. She was amazed with the facility’s cleanliness and couldn’t believe how caring, supportive and available her doctor was.
“It was a wonderful experience and probably the best decision I’ve made in my life. The support from Weight Loss Forever has been fantastic and I’ve found new friends,” says Hughes. “I have so much more energy and the best thing is that I know how much longer I’m going to enjoy my family.
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