Fort Sanders Regional Health & Lifestyles

Sometimes weight gain is like a hungry monster. Every time 70 year-old Patricia Fernez-Aten of Sevierville fought to lose weight, it seemed like the weight was fighting back.

“I would gain weight, lose weight, all my life, gain weight, lose weight,” she says.

Patricia tried diets and injections, but bariatric surgery finally helped her lose and keep off the weight.

Stepping away from her career as a law enforcement officer to retire on disability didn’t help matters. Fernez- Aten’s lifestyle went from active to sedentary with pain that made it difficult to get motivated and move.

She tried diets and exercise programs with some success. She went to a weight-loss clinic for extra guidance and received injections to support her personal battle.

“Then all of a sudden, I started gaining weight, even though I was eating salads and doing what they told me to do,” Fernez-Aten says. “I was taking the shots and I was walking every day.”

Losing weight kept leading to a losing battle. Fernez-Aten was ready for a big win.

A Proven Plan for Weight Loss

Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery in Knoxville gives patients like Fernez-Aten hope for a better quality of life. Mark Colquitt, MD, of Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is a board-certified surgeon with years of experience. He performs bariatric surgery that is minimally invasive and is often performed with robotic technology.

For Fernez-Aten, the  results of the program have been jaw-dropping. In addition to losing weight and going from a size 18 to a size 4, her cholesterol, glucose, and estrogen levels are now healthy, and she is no longer diabetic.

“I now walk 5,000 steps a day, sometimes 10,000; we hike, things that I never thought I could do,” Fernez- Aten says. “I’m 70, and yet I feel like I felt when I was 27 years old.”

In this medically supervised program, patients receive guidance and support from certified bariatric nurses and consultation with a dietitian. Weight-loss surgery is a big step that requires a change in lifestyle, and Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery helps patients make a positive change.

“Surgery is the best method for long-term weight loss,” Dr. Colquitt says. “Medications are fine, but if you are trying to lose 100 pounds, you eventually spend a lot of money and are probably going to fail.”

Dr. Colquitt says most people regain weight as soon as they stop taking medication if they don’t incorporate solid lifestyle changes like a healthier diet and exercise. He also emphasizes that most medications are not covered by insurance, while many weight-loss procedures are.

Dr. Mark Colquitt, Bariatric Surgeon

In addition to providing clinical guidance that helps patients achieve those important lifestyle changes, the bariatric center at Fort Sanders Regional offers the option of lifelong support. These are advantages you won’t find in a pill bottle or a hypodermic needle.

Restored Quality of Life

Feernez-Aten has become part of an online community of support for people who are considering bariatric surgery. Always honest about the level of commitment it takes, Fernez-Aten tells others they have to firmly decide they want a healthy life more than they want unhealthy foods and unhealthy habits. She also tells them it’s a commitment she never regrets

“There’s life after weight loss,” she says. “I just can’t tell you how it changed my life. I should have done it years ago.”

Dr. Colquitt says bariatric surgery is not a quick fix, but a tool for a lasting change.

“We’re not going to force anybody into having an operation. If you don’t want to have surgery, then you can go to our medically supervised weight management side of the practice for the safest use of medications first,” Dr. Colquitt says. “Weigh all your options, then come in and talk to us.”

If you’re weighing your weight-loss options, watch our free Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons online Bariatric Seminar to learn if surgery could be an appropriate option for you. Visit Get Started today!