A fresh start: Making a change with weight loss surgery

By: Sanford Health News .

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McKensie Amato had been overweight her entire life and knew it was time to make a change.

Even the simplest of pleasures like socializing, playing sports and shopping created stress. She felt like she had little control over her weight, so in her 20s, she underwent weight loss surgery.

“I had a lot of anxieties when I was overweight,” Amato says. “I’d worry about just going somewhere and trying to fit into a chair or seeing people from my past.”

Talked to her doctor

Amato talked about weight loss surgery with her primary physician after she began taking medication to manage high blood pressure. She then met with the weight loss team at Sanford Health Surgical Associates about how weight loss surgery could help her improve her health.

“I went there, met with a nurse, and she went over everything,” Amato says. “Afterwards, Dr. (Dennis) Glatt, the surgeon, came in during that first consultation and met with me to ask if I had any questions.”

To prepare for surgery and the lifestyle changes that would follow, Amato met with a bariatric insurance specialist who helped her navigate the various insurance requirements and pre-surgery process.

She also met with multiple members of her care team, including her primary doctor, a dietitian, a psychologist and her bariatric nurse coordinator. These consultations helped her know exactly what to expect after surgery and explained her important role in her own success.

Boosted confidence

After months of preparation with her Sanford Health weight loss team, Amato underwent bariatric surgery in September 2016.

Since the weight loss surgery, she has lost more than her care team expected at both the six-month and one-year marks. Most patients typically lose an average of 60 to 80 percent of their excess body weight in the first 12 to 18 months.

But even more important than shedding pounds, Amato has found more confidence in herself. She now enjoys going out with friends, shopping for clothes and even playing sports without anxiety. She often shares about her weight loss journey on social media in hopes of inspiring others who are looking to make a similar lifestyle change.

“I have so much more confidence in myself, even just going shopping,” Amato says. “I don’t have to go to the plus-size stores anymore. I can shop at any store that I want to and it’s made me a lot happier.”

Amato is now focused on maintaining her new, healthier lifestyle into the future.

“I’m still working towards goals and trying to maintain my weight because I don’t want to go back to where I was,” she says. “I definitely feel like it’s been the right choice and the path that I’ve wanted to take with my life.”