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A Bariatric Success Story: Kate Lutner Finds Unmatched Support at Jefferson Health – New Jersey

December 31, 2020

I used to be the person who thought weight-loss surgery was the easy way out. Then, one day, I stumbled across a magazine article that pointed out something eye-opening: if you’d have surgery to fix any other health complication, why not do it for your weight?

I’ve always been big. My entire family runs a high risk of heart attack and stroke, so I’ve always tried to reduce my own risk. My efforts included countless failed diets and, eventually, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I was able to lose about 100 pounds, but I couldn’t lose anymore.

It wasn’t until I entered the doors of Jefferson Health – New Jersey and met Dr. Marc Neff that I learned it wasn’t anything I was doing wrong, rather, my body just processes things different than most people. He advised that the gastric bypass would be much more effective for me, and so I underwent surgery again on July 6, 2020.

I started my weight-loss journey at 350 pounds; now, I am 213. I am incredibly excited for the New Year, because when I hit 208, it’ll be the first time since middle school that I won’t be considered medically obese. Also, when I hit 200, I will have officially lost 150 pounds!

My life has improved significantly. I no longer suffer from high blood pressure, hip pain, or shortness of breath when I move too much. Most of all, I have a newfound energy and outlook on life. I’m willing to put myself out there and go for a hike – something I would’ve hesitated to do before.

I couldn’t have succeeded without the support provided by the Jefferson Health NJ bariatric team, which is truly unmatched. It’s difficult to admit, but the first time I underwent weight-loss surgery, I battled with body dysmorphia afterwards. I hated the way I looked, and I was completely unmotivated.

At Jefferson Health NJ, you’re not just another patient. Genuine support is often just a call away. I’m an avid member of their virtual support groups and Facebook support page. They’ve really helped me to sort out the emotional side of things. This time around, I knew to take care of myself. I’m so much more mindful.

Surgery is definitely not the easy way out, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Making that incredibly personal choice to put yourself first and get back on track with your health is not as easy as it sounds. Plus, while the weight may shed off easily at first, it takes a ton of work to maintain the weight loss long-term.

When you’re on this journey, it’s important not to surround yourself with “nightmare” stories and negativity, but positivity and support. Find the right group of people.

Dr. Neff is the most caring and compassionate person I’ve ever met. From the minute I met him – and my dietitian Cheri Leahy and the Wellness Program Coordinator Cristin Polizzi – I was given so much peace of mind. I thank this team from the bottom of my heart -- they’re truly like my family now.