Bariatric surgery cases continue to grow; local mother shows off new body

By: Katie Beasley Email
By: Katie Beasley Email

News 12 First at Five / Friday, Aug. 31, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Bariatric surgery is one of the fastest growing medical procedures in the U.S.

With obesity affecting nearly 73 million Americans, teams at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center perform the weight loss surgeries every day and one North Augusta woman is showing off and sharing her success.

"Yes, yes, girl you look good," says photographer Sally Kolar.

Mother of two Temeka Wardlaw is proud of the 38 pounds she's lost just three months after surgery. The hospital is profiling the 35-year-old and her progress with photos.

"A lot of people are starting to notice. They say, 'Have you lost weight?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I lost a little weight, yeah,'" Wardlaw said.

Comparing photos of Wardlaw before bariatric surgery in May with her recent photos show her progress toward a new, healthier lifestyle.

"I always thought that I could exercise and do it on my own," Wardlaw said. "Through the years of losing and gaining and losing and gaining, it got so frustrating."

And she's not alone. In the South, one in four people are battling obesity. Bariatric surgery is an option.

"With the epidemic of obesity being so severe, that this is much more than just losing weight," explained Dr. Brian Lane, a bariatric and minimally invasive surgeon at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center.

In the last two decades, the number of people having weight loss surgery has jumped from 20,000 to nearly 250,000.

"No other surgical procedure that is out there has risen so quickly. It does very dramatic things, much more than just the number on the scale," Lane said.

But it hasn't been easy and it's taken some adjusting.

"I'm not hungry. I have to remind myself there is time to eat. I'm starting to adjust to it and know that I can't have this amount, I have to eat this amount," Wardlaw said.

Wardlaw has worked hard, walking 3 miles a day.

"You have to exercise. You've got to move. You've got to burn that fat. It's not going to go anywhere unless you move. You still have to put the work in you still have to watch what you eat," she said.

And she's not done yet.

"I still got a long way to go. My goal is to lose probably about 60 more pounds. I'm so glad I decided to do it. It's one of the best decisions I could have made," she said. "If it inspires somebody else to do it, you know, I tell them to go for it."

Not only does Wardlaw look great, she's much healthier, too -- even cutting down the amount of diabetes medication she needs every day.

If you are battling obesity and think bariatric surgery could be for you, Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center offers free weight-loss surgery seminars the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.


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