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Published on November 26, 2018

Weight Loss Surgery: Kettle Bells, Then Wedding Bells, Then….

Weight Loss Surgery

When Jenn Davis Watson, 38, of Randleman, first met Richard in mid-2017, she was in the midst of a thrilling personal transformation—physically and emotionally. She had spent years struggling with weight, including going through “dark times” where she chose not to socialize much. But by the time he came into the picture, she was finally free of the physical weight and the desire to isolate herself.

She credits hard work and the bariatric team at Cone Health Bariatric Weight Loss Program for helping her push through the challenges of getting to a healthier weight and to realize important life dreams.

“I had bariatric surgery in March 2016,” she says. “Before, I had weighed almost 357 pounds, but no more. I had decided to stop making excuses. And the team at Cone Health supported me at every single turn.”

With their help, she says she was able to “put herself out there.” “I was able to love myself again,” she says. 

And to find love in a short time.

“Blind date”

Ironically, at their first meeting, Richard couldn’t have immediately known of her transformation. Having met through online dating, their first conversations were by phone. During long phone calls, she shared with him her love for her sixth-grade students at Braxton Craven Middle School in Trinity, where she has taught for the last four years of her 16 years in the profession. He shared stories of his work on the road as a long-haul trucker. She was soon surprised to learn he lived just a few miles down the road. She even knew some of his relatives.

During those phone calls, she came to a thrilling revelation. “Before our first actual date, I knew I was going to marry him,” Jenn says, not able to stop the broad smile spreading across her face. “But I wisely chose not to share that with him!” she laughs.

Years before

Jenn’s years-long struggle of losing and regaining weight involved life issues familiar to many. Thyroid and other health issues affected her ability to lose weight. Her father was ill, causing stress. And simply being so heavy caused her stress.

“Just before I joined up with the Cone Health team, the only places I’d go were to work, church, and my nephew’s ball games,” she says. “I was the heaviest I’d ever been, and I was in a dark place.”

She signed up for an introductory session of the Cone Health Bariatric Weight Loss Program. Even then, she wasn’t convinced it would help. “But when I learned about how their program works, I knew it was right for me,” she recalls. “My mom is a nurse, and she also agrees with their approach to bariatric weight loss. They answered all my questions, and I had a peace that God put on me.”

Weight Loss Surgery

"At Cone Health, everyone is so involved with you. You can call or email them with a question or a concern, and they get back to you." - Jenn Davis Watson

A new life

She had the surgery at Cone Health in March 2016. By December, she was signing up for 5K walks, and she joined a kick-ball team with friends.

Since starting the program, not even a thyroid problem that can cause rapid weight gain can keep her down. Nor can breaking a foot--something that actually happened while playing kick-ball with her new-found energy and fitness level. “I put 20 lbs. back on after that,” she says. “But my team at Cone Health was there for me.”

She found that all the education and care of the professionals at Cone Health were important parts of her success. After each personal challenge, she is prepared to get back on track with her weight and health goals.

“At Cone Health, everyone is so involved with you,” she says. “You can call or email them with a question or a concern, and they get back to you. Their support groups are amazing, and they help you when you’re in a rut. A lot of other bariatric programs don’t have that level of support.”

Bells and rattles

Not even she expected the transformation to lead to her becoming familiar with kettle bells—a type of weight held with two hands. And in time, her hard work has also led to wedding bells! She had a new confidence in herself when she met Richard face-to-face for the first time, in the summer of 2017. “Our first actual date was on July 9, 2017, and we’ve been together ever since,” she says.

He popped the question months later, and they were married in July of 2018.

“I used to think that bariatric weight loss was the easy way out,” Jenn says. “But there’s nothing easy about it.” Despite the challenges, Jenn’s determination along with her team at the Cone Health Bariatric Weight Loss Program helps her continue her transformation. She has lost so much weight that she is five dress sizes smaller.

And she’s ready for the next great goal, growing her family.

“We’re now expecting a baby girl!,” she says with excitement. “Without the help of the people at Cone Health, I never would have put myself out there to get healthier and to meet him. They gave me support when I needed it and even ‘tough love’ when I needed it. If not for them, I wouldn’t have the life I have today.”

Jenn and Richard’s baby girl is due in April 2019.

About Cone Health Bariatric Surgery

The Cone Health Bariatric Surgery Program is the only program in the Triad that is recognized as a Center of Excellence by North Carolina’s top four health plans:

    • Aetna Institute of Quality (IOQ) for Bariatric Surgery
    • BlueCross BlueShield Blue Distinction Center Plus (+) for Bariatric Surgery
    • Cigna Designated Facility for Bariatric Surgery
    • UnitedHealthcare Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery

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