Photos by Kenny Richard Photography
Few people who meet Lauren at the gym as she trains for her next 10K would guess she was — not that long ago — 200 pounds heavier. As she flies through her weight-lifting routine with contagious enthusiasm, few would suspect that at age 28 she’d been obese, sedentary, and a chronic stress eater.
Throughout her teens and twenties, Lauren had tried every diet that came her way. But none lasted for long. Then in late 2019, the young special-ed teacher decided it was do-or-die time. She was going to give it all she had to lose the weight on her own and, if she couldn’t, she’d seek weight-loss surgery. The stakes got higher in 2020 with the beginning of the COVID pandemic. As evidence mounted showing obesity to be a co-morbidity for the disease, Lauren made her decision.
After some online research, she contacted Dr. Folahan Ayoola at Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas. It didn’t take long for her to realize she’d found the bariatric surgeon she was looking for. Lauren underwent a duodenal switch procedure, and it was a best-case scenario all around. The surgery went well, Lauren experienced no complications or food aversions, and the pounds began coming off. Through it all, her weight-loss team partnered with her to make sure Lauren was losing weight in a healthy way and to empower her to make healthier eating and lifestyle choices going forward.
Support for the Journey
Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas offers patients a 360-degree approach to weight loss, including nutrition education, Live Free vitamins to supplement their diet, Rebirth Medical Aesthetics which offers minimally invasive aesthetic procedures and skin resurfacing to help tighten loose skin after weight loss, and Focal Point Personal Training Studio for patients who are ready to start or resume physical activity. There’s even a monthly support group where patients can share their struggles and successes. Patient education begins before surgery, but it doesn’t stop after. The team continues to partner with each patient as they begin their new, healthier life.
Lauren’s is just one of many success stories you’ll find on the Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas website at WeightLossSurgeon.com and in dozens of online reviews. Other patients related their struggles with obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, GERD, and sleep apnea and the pharmaceuticals required to take to keep them at bay. After surgery and weight-loss, many found they no longer needed medication because they no longer suffered with those conditions.
Many were living with joint pain caused by excess weight and were physically limited by their size. Obesity affected every aspect of their lives. They’d tried diet and exercise and felt like nothing worked. Then, they partnered with Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas where they found a comprehensive approach to weight loss that made all the difference.
Together with Dr. Tarik Al-Kalla, Dr. Ayoola offers weight-loss medication and counseling as well as an array of weight-loss procedures including duodenal switch, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and revisional bariatric surgery
“Obesity is a medical condition, and there are basically three ways to deal with any medical condition — lifestyle changes, medication, or procedures,” Dr. Ayoola said. “If your BMI is under 27, we recommend you make lifestyle changes to obtain and maintain a healthy weight. If it’s over 27, it’s time to start looking at medication. But if it’s over 35, it’s time to consider a surgical procedure. In the end, we see the best, long-lasting results with a combination of surgery, medication, and lifestyle changes.”
Highly Qualified Weight-Loss Surgeons
Dr. Folahan Ayoola completed medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and residency at Virginia Commonwealth University where he received the highest award bestowed on any surgical resident in his program. He’s board certified and fellowship trained and frequently trains other physicians in robotic weight-loss surgery. His patients praise him for his no-blame, no-shame, compassionate care, and the one-on-one attention they receive. As an expert in the field, Dr. Ayoola also speaks to other physicians on the safe and efficacious use of weight-loss drugs and proctors and trains physicians interested in using the Da Vinci robotic platform for precise and safe robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery.
Dr. Tarik Al-Kalla completed medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, completed a general surgery residency at Michigan State University/Spectrum Health, and a rigorous fellowship in bariatric and minimally invasive surgery at St. Luke’s Surgical Specialists in Kansas City, Missouri, where he received the Acute Care Surgery Chief Award, one of the highest honors given to chief surgical residents. Dr. Al-Kalla has significant experience in open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery in both general and bariatric surgery. Whenever possible, he uses minimally invasive techniques.
Time to Start Your New Healthier Life
“I wish I had a nickel for every time a patient told me, ‘I should have done this years ago,’” Dr. Ayoola said. “If obesity is part of your story, you can lose the weight, regain your health, improve your quality of life, and feel great about yourself. There’s no blame, no shame, just compassionate care that gets results.”
As for Lauren, after being physically restricted for years, she discovered a passion for weightlifting and, since her surgery, has run two 10Ks and several 5K races. She’s lost a total of 215 pounds and is loving her new, healthier life. “Weight-loss surgery is just a tool,” she said. “You still have to put in the work. I make the choice of what I eat. I make the choice to go to the gym.” And she finds the support and education she needs for her journey from the team at Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas. Find out more at WeightLossSurgeon.com.