Flipping through the pages of a scrapbook detailing her weight loss following last year’s bariatric surgery, 23-year-old Patricia England can’t believe how far she’s come. With her weight loss totaling more than 120 pounds, she pauses at a photo of herself the night before surgery.
“No one believes I was almost 300 pounds until I show them my pictures,” she said, smiling broadly.
A graduate student in social work and assistant with the psychiatry unit at UT Southwestern’s Zale Lipshy University Hospital, England has always struggled with her weight. Bariatric surgery hovered in the back of her mind, but it seemed so drastic.
“I used to work in the operating room at Children’s, so to me surgery is a really big deal,” England said. “But I’ve tried so many different things – Weight Watchers, Medifast, Jenny Craig – and nothing ever worked. I would lose maybe 10 to 15 pounds at most.”
Thankful that she didn’t suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or other health issues common within her family, England started looking into bariatric surgery to maintain her good health. She attended various bariatric surgery information seminars throughout Dallas, but questioned whether surgery was right for her when the other attendees seemed bigger and older.
After attending UTSW’s seminar hosted by Daniel Scott, M.D., she felt more comfortable with the idea of surgery.
“In Dr. Scotts’ seminar, he talked more about the surgery; he explained it more,” she said. “He didn’t just show you pictures of what your stomach will look like. He went through and explained how he does it and went into really great detail about it.”
UTSW’s reputation ultimately solidified her decision to have Dr. Scott perform her bariatric surgery.
“If Dr. Scott is good enough to train other surgeons – for example, Dr. Nick Nicolson even said he trained under Dr. Scott – why not just go to Dr. Scott? Why go to his student?”
One year following her gastric sleeve surgery, England weighs about 165 pounds, which is healthier for her 5-foot 5-inch frame.
“I recently told my grandma I’ve lost over 120 pounds, and she said, ‘I weigh 119,’” England said. “I said, ‘Grandma, I lost you!’”
Looking back, England realized she didn’t grasp the true size of her body – a size 24 – until her weight loss.
Now, she fully understands that losing weight is not about depriving yourself of all the foods you love, but rather thinking about what you’re eating and how to get the most out of your food. She credits her weight-loss success to her dedication to her new diet and to the bariatric team at UTSW.
“Anna (Smith, physician assistant), Dr. Scott, and the dietitians tell you exactly what to do and how to do it,” she said. “I am so thankful for all of them.”