“My story is about the opportunities I’ve been given by the professional people on the third floor at 1 Hospital Drive,” said Bobby Somerville of Asheville.
If you want to get to the core of Somerville’s weight loss-success, it’s that in a nutshell. In Mission Weight Management Center he’s found a family. One that has provided him with the motivation, encouragement and structure he’s needed to lose 90 pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
Every Weight-Loss Journey Is Different
Somerville points out that his story is a bit different than that of the average weight-loss patient. But then again, everyone’s story is just a little different, he said.
Prior to gastric sleeve surgery in November 2016, 50-year-old Somerville had been overweight about half his life. At his heaviest, he was 275 pounds – a weight some bariatric surgery candidates might consider closer to their goal weight than their starting weight. Yet Somerville’s weight was a problem, and he knew it. Even with a BMI under 40, he had most of the comorbidities associated with severe obesity, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Somerville had also achieved weight loss on his own in the past, but his successes were always short lived. In fact, a year before his surgery, he lost almost 50 pounds, which he quickly began regaining. The yo-yo dieting was taking a toll on him physically and mentally.
“When I learned about the sleeve procedure, I knew it would work for me,” said Somerville. “I knew what behaviors I would be able to manage, and this facilitated that. The only other thing I needed was the support.”
Support is what Somerville got from Mission Weight Management Center – and then some. He says it has contributed as much to his success (which included meeting his goal weight within 6 months) as the surgery did.
“Last November before my surgery, I was 250 pounds,” he said. “Now I’m at 160. I’ve lost all of my excess weight, I don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes anymore, and I’m not on any medications. It has done everything for me, medically, they said it would, and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. It has made a difference in almost every aspect of my life.”
While Somerville has taken his weight loss in stride, the rapid changes that occur following bariatric surgery can throw some patients for a loop. “Weight-loss surgery provides exceptional and often rapid weight-loss results,” said Bonnie Nece, MSN, executive director of Surgical Services Clinical Programs, Bariatric Services, at Mission Health. “For those suffering years with the disease of obesity, these rapid changes can come by surprise, creating the need for support.
At Mission Weight Management, we have a full team of behavioral health, nutrition and fitness experts ready to offer support and guidance during this exciting – but sometimes unexpected – transitional period.”
“If you’re going to do this, and you’re thinking you’re going to be alone in it, that’s not what’s going to happen,” said Somerville. “You’ll find what you need. Everyone is different, and none of us have the same physical or emotional experiences with weight loss and surgery, but we all are offered the same opportunities by the great people in Mission’s Weight Management Center.”
Working the Program
The reason the support offered by Mission Weight Management Center has worked so well for Somerville is because he has taken advantage of all of the resources available to him. “I go to every support meeting and every postop class, I see the behaviorist once a month, I follow up with the nutritionist and I go to exercise class twice a week,” he said. “Basically, I need my own parking space over there.”
This kind of devotion to weight loss and management is the common thread Nece said she sees in patients who are successful at both losing and maintaining weight. “Follow up, follow up, follow up,” she said. “Patients who regularly follow up on medical, behavioral health, nutrition and exercise support tend to be more successful with weight-loss maintenance and lack of weight regain.”
Somerville said taking part in the Weight Management Center’s programs is much like working a program for recovery from addiction. According to him, going through the steps and talking things through really does work.
“I have a family history of substance abuse, and as a result I have a family member who is active in Al-Anon,” he said. “That’s her program; this is mine. My recovery is related to going over to the third floor and seeing those people and following up with them.”
Somerville is quick to point out that it’s not just the services he’s receiving that make him feel supported, but also the people behind them. From the surgeon to the receptionist to everyone in between, Somerville said the Weight Management Center team is professional, caring, courteous and exceptional. “They reach out to me in marvelous ways,” he said.
In addition to their personal attributes, the weight management team is also highly skilled. “We have a multidisciplinary team that exceeds all programs in western North Carolina,” said Nece. “And they have a state-of-the-art clinic and many resources at their disposal.”
“They don’t just cut your stomach out and send you on your way,” said Somerville. “They’re a Center of Excellence, and they act like it. They’re really knowledgeable and really care about outcomes. They love what they’re doing, and they’re really good at it.”
Bonnie Nece, MSN, is executive director of Surgical Services Clinical Programs, Bariatric Services, with Mission Health.