Katie D "I'm Really Living Again!"

“I have so much more energy, and I’m going to the boardwalk, zoo, beach and pool with my husband and friends."

How medically supervised weight loss has transformed one woman's life

When Katie Dorsey turned 30, she decided it was time to make a change in her life. She’d struggled with her weight for as long as she could remember, but she was never able to lose more than 30 pounds on her own. “When I turned 30, I realized it wasn’t going to get any easier, so I decided to take action to try to avoid weight-related health problems,” says the 31-year-old business development manager from Little Egg Harbor.

Katie called several local weight-loss centers in her insurance plan, but when being rushed off the phone. Finally, she contacted the Center for Weight Loss at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Sandy Haas, BSN, RN, BCS, Bariatric Program Coordinator at the Center, who took the time to answer all of her at ease,” recalls Katie.

A healthier lifestyle

Katie saw one of the Center’s bariatric physicians, who recommended surgery with the help of medication. She also met with a dietitian. “She helped me with portion control and creating healthier versions of foods I enjoy so I wouldn’t feel deprived,” says Katie. In just under three months, she lost 30 pounds.

On April 1, Katie had gastric bypass surgery. During gastric bypass, the surgeon divides the stomach into two sections. The top part becomes a small pouch the size of a walnut—limiting the amount of food that can be eaten—and is connected to the middle of the small intestine. The remaining parts of the stomach and intestinal tract don’t absorb food. The procedure leads to hormonal changes that reduce appetite, and most patients lose 60 to 80 percent of their excess body weight.

Katie stayed in the hospital for two nights after the surgery. She returned to work and exercise within three weeks. meals a day. “I bring all of my food to work with me,” she says. “Being prepared helps me stay on track and avoid challenging menu decisions.” Katie also a combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercises.

The Center’s monthly bariatric support group meetings have been helpful to Katie. “There’s a lot of camaraderie and understanding in the group,” she says. The support group even has an annual fashion show in December. Patients who have lost weight come to the Center for a dinner with their families and friends.

“We show a ‘before’ picture, and then the person walks down the runway and talks about some of his or her triumphs, such as no longer having high blood pressure or being able to bend over and tie a shoe,” says Sandy Haas. Katie’s hard work has paid off. Since she’s dropped 100 pounds. “I feel like I’m really living again!” says Katie.

“I have so much more energy, and I’m a lot “I’m going to the boardwalk, zoo, beach and pool with my husband and friends,” she says. “It’s great experiencing all the things that come with weight loss, like feel better, but the main thing I wanted to do is be a healthier version of myself.” Mission accomplished.

Learn more about the Center for Weight Loss at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton or call 609.249.7510.

Delivering comprehensive care

The Center for Weight Loss at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton offers both medical and surgical weight-loss options. “The medical weight-loss program is for people who don’t want to take a surgical approach or who don’t meet the requirements for surgery,” says Sandy Haas, BSN, RN, BCS, Bariatric Program Coordinator at the Center. If appropriate, weight-loss medications may be an option.

For those who are eligible for surgery, the Center offers sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, lap band removal and revision surgeries. Regardless of which route a patient chooses, he or she receives care from a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including board-certified bariatric surgeons, psychotherapists, registered dietitians, certified bariatric care specialists and bariatric fitness trainers. The Center has been named a Center of Excellence for metabolic and bariatric surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation, meaning it provides safe, effective and high-quality care.

Could you benefit from surgery?

If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible for weight-loss surgery. Check with your insurance carrier to ensure surgery is covered by your policy.

  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or above with obesity-related medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea
  • A BMI over 40
  • Failed attempts at weight loss

Help for maintaining weight loss

Center for Weight Loss patients can take advantage of the Bariatric Wellness Program at the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center (3100 Quakerbridge Road, Mercerville). The two-month program, available at an additional cost, is designed to help patients maintain their weight loss. It consists of 16 exercise sessions with a bariatric fitness trainer who specializes in the needs of overweight patients. For more information, call 609.531.4131.