Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Weight Management Center

For Patients

Patient Stories

A great part of weight loss treatment is sharing your success with others while inspiring them to achieve their own personal victories. We thank the patients below for expressing how the Weight Management Center at Houston Methodist Hospital guided them through their challenges and triumphs on the road to health.

Linda Thornton is Opening the Door to a New Life

A few years ago, Linda Thornton’s self-esteem was at an all-time low. At 370 pounds, she endured unbridled mockery, judgmental stares and men would let doors slam in her face.

Year after year her huge appetite made life more and more uncomfortable. She would have a double cheeseburger, fries and an apple pie on the way home from work and then cook and eat a three or four course meal with her husband.

“I got to the point where it felt better to sit on the couch and do nothing,” Thornton said. “It was no way to live.”

She was watching the TLC show “Big Medicine” when she decided she had to change her life. The episode featured a 400 pound woman, and she realized she was almost there. She did some research, decided gastric bypass surgery was the answer, and that the Weight Management Center was the place to go. Surgeons told her the surgery was too risky at 370 pounds and that she would have to lose 50 or 60 pounds before she was considered.

“I was put on the protein shake program, and I won’t lie to you, the first three or four days were hell. I went from eating 6,000 calories a day to drinking 900 calories a day,” Thornton said. “I did lose 50 pounds in 30 days and when I look back, the pain of those first few days was worth it.”

Thornton then had the surgery and has lost a remarkable 202 pounds.

“The program at the Weight Management Center literally saved my life,” Thornton said. “After surgery they taught me how to eat correctly and have always been a source of encouragement. Coming here was the best decision I have ever made.”

She now exercises every day, she can run up the stairs, and her self-esteem is through the roof. Now men are not only holding the door for her, they are turning around to take a look.

John Bessant is fishing again

John Bessant waded into a clear, rushing stream in the Colorado Rockies. He caught six slippery trout one day, four the next, then cooked up a tasty dinner for his Texas traveling buddies - the Noisy Boys.

For the first time in six years Bessant was physically able to go fishing. Bessant enrolled in the Weight Management Center’s Medical Weight Management program nearly four years ago. At 360 pounds, he felt like “a doddering old man who even walked stooped over.” He took medicine for high blood pressure and cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. His knees were shot.

Now, at 66 and weighing a healthy 216 pounds, he has regained his energy and zest and given up most meds. “Every day, I get up and feel as good as or better than the day before,” Bessant said. “You never realize exactly how poor your health is or how poorly you feel carrying around that extra weight until you get rid of it.”

Through Methodist’s fasting and lifestyle change program, Bessant lost 144 pounds, which he has maintained for two years. He remains in the Living IT program, attending weekly lectures and speaking to others just beginning their weight loss journeys. “Methodist emphasizes the lifestyle and behavioral changes needed to control weight, and they give you the tools to do it,” he said. “Every week I learn something new.”

Dr. Summers is leading a Girl Scout troop

“I have been overweight since I was a little girl – always felt like I was the largest one in class and the slowest one in gym. I have tried to diet off the pounds since I was a teenager, but I always gained it back. When I turned 49, I took a hard look at my remaining years. I weighed 262 pounds, had a BMI of 42, and wore a size 24. I had hypertension and high cholesterol, and a family history of diabetes. If I didn’t do something about my health, my weight and lack of fitness, I was not going to be around to see my children grow up and have children of their own. I decided I needed to take a radical approach for long-term successful weight loss and maintenance, and I wanted to do it without altering my body surgically.

I entered the Medical Weight Management Program  in March 2007 and reached my goal weight just in time for my 50th birthday party in late November 2007. I now weigh 140 pounds with a BMI of 23, and wear a size 10. Many of my patients don’t even recognize me – one asked if I was a new doctor in the office! More than just a change in the way I look, I feel empowered by finally being able to take control of my eating plan. I now exercise 6 days a week for at least an hour. I love being able to be more active; I am a Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s troop and we camp and do activities that I could never do before.

The multidisciplinary approach used in the Medical Weight Management Program combines behavior modification, dietary education and reinforcement. This approach, coupled with the motivation of relatively rapid weight loss through a low carb/high protein ketosis program, was the key to success for me. I still keep a daily food and exercise log and weigh myself every day. These are the skills we are taught in the support group to maintain our weight loss – they are certainly working for me!”

The Davises are making smarter choices

Nancy: “As a school principal, I am surrounded by the snacks and treats students love. My weight climbed to almost 290 pounds and I felt out of control.

In August 2004, my husband Jim and I enrolled in the Medical Weight Management Program at the Methodist Willowbrook Hospital. Since then, I have lost 150 pounds and no longer need to take my diabetes medication. In addition to the health benefits, I have become more outgoing and I’m not afraid to talk to people. Our lives have changed dramatically.”

Jim: “I have lost 100 pounds, dropped from a size 52 pant to a size 38, and lowered my body mass index by 14 points. I now have more energy to tackle projects. The nutrition information we learned through the program taught us to make smarter choices at the supermarket and the food and weight logs helped us track our intake and progress.

Four years later, we both weigh less than the goal weight we set at the start of the program!”

Jeff Conlon can walk 12 miles a day

“I had RNY Gastric Bypass surgery in July of 2007. Prior to that, I was a Keto patient and lost over 300 pounds on a liquid diet for 13 months. I had gastric bypass surgery to help keep the pounds off.

My life has changed in so many ways. I couldn’t walk 100 yards to the mailbox. I didn’t leave the house for 11 months. I didn’t want to get out of the bed, even to go to the bathroom. Now I can walk 12 miles in a day, or ride a bike for nine miles and do my strength exercises all in one day. My grandson said he can put his arms all the way around me. Life is great; it is not a burden to live.

The greatest benefit of the weight loss is that I do not have to take blood pressure medication, and I no longer have sleep apnea – my medical problems are history. My improved health is the greatest benefit from this journey.”

Kim Valera is skydiving

Kim Valera - Weight Loss Patient - Weight Loss Programs - Houston, TX“I weighed over 475 pounds when I first met with a surgeon at Weight Management Center. Before he would even do surgery, I needed to become as healthy as possible and lose weight. I started dieting and entered then the Bari-Ketogenic program on the surgeon's recommendation.

Kim Valera - Weight Loss Programs - gastric bypass surgery After losing 88 pounds, we scheduled gastric bypass surgery. After surgery, I attended monthly bariatric support group meetings, eventually becoming a planner and staff liaison for the group. The interaction with the bariatric staff and patients in the support group was incredibly beneficial during my pursuit of weight loss. I am now down to 270 pounds and am a much more active person. I have even become a skydiver! I’ve always put out the image of being confident, but now I really feel it.”


Read more patient stories…