Coordinated Health

Choosing Permanent Weight Loss

By: Hannah Ropp   January 3, 2020

For years, Occupational Therapist Amy Piazza struggled to lose weight and keep it off permanently. “I have probably lost and gained the same 50 pounds at least a dozen times in my adult life,” she says. 

Amy says that she feels like she has tried every diet and weight loss plan available, and while she often saw short-term results she always ended up gaining the weight back. She has also had health issues related to her weight, including high blood pressure, diabetes and knee and back pain. However, it wasn’t until she met her husband four years ago that she decided she needed to do something about her weight for good. “When I met my husband I was at my heaviest and also my sickest point in my life and I knew I wanted to live a long and happy life with him,” she says. 

Amy began to look into bariatric surgery as an option. She spoke to several bariatric surgeons, but ultimately decided upon Coordinated Health, now part of Lehigh Valley Health Network, bariatric surgeon Dr. K. Venkat. “I feel like he got into bariatric surgery for the same reason that I wanted to have the surgery done. He wants to allow his patients to be healthy, to be active and to live a life pain free,” says Amy. 

Dr. Venkat told Amy that she was a candidate for weight loss surgery, but had several hurdles to clear before actually having the procedure. Amy was required to go through counseling, meet with a nutritionist and the appropriate physicians based on her medical conditions. The entire process took roughly six months.

Dr. Venkat explains that those six months are crucial for patients to understand how their lives are going to change after surgery and in many cases necessary for insurance to cover the procedure. “I always tell my patients that bariatric surgery is really a lifelong commitment to change. You really need to be committed to making lifestyle changes in order for the procedure to be a success,” says Dr. Venkat. 

When it was time for Amy to have bariatric surgery, she was nervous but knew that she was in good hands. She says the most difficult part of the entire process was the liquid diet following the surgery, but she was well prepared by Dr. Venkat and his nutritionist. She also says that she had less pain than she expected and was able to get up and moving around quickly. 

Now, a year after her surgery, Amy says she has lost over 120 pounds and is able to enjoy an active lifestyle alongside her husband. “We go hiking with the dogs, I’ve joined a yoga class and the high blood pressure and diabetes are gone,” she says. 

Amy also admits her eating habits and lifestyle have changed. She eats smaller portions throughout the day and incorporates a lot of activity into her daily routine. She says that Dr. Venkat was supportive throughout the entire process. “I highly recommend Dr. Venkat. He’s been great and you can really tell that he cares about his patients and wants you to do well,” says Amy.





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