Mechi Holt of Creedmoor was overweight most of her life. “I was always a little heavier than the other kids,” said Holt of her childhood. She was a size 14 by age 16, and from there she says her weight escalated.
At age 20, Holt became pregnant. After giving birth, she was motivated to lose weight. “I worked really hard to get that weight off, and it would not budge.”
Holt tried losing weight many times through diet and exercise; however, nothing seemed to keep the weight off and she became frustrated. “I was depressed about my weight and about not being able to get it off,” she said. After several years of research, Holt decided to try weight loss surgery. She visited the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery and, under the care of Dr. Dana Portenier, Holt made the decision to have a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass.
Since the surgery at Duke Regional Hospital, she has lost more than 100 pounds. Holt also no longer deals with depression, hypertension or the fear of developing diabetes.
She credits the Duke Weight Loss Surgery staff with helping her have a successful surgery. Participating in the weight loss surgery support groups was helpful to Holt both before and after surgery. She enjoyed meeting others going through the same journey. “We are like a mini-family,” she says.
Nutrition counseling helped Holt understand meal planning and portion control. “You can’t have weight loss surgery and then continue the same eating habits,” she says. One of those changes includes baked chicken instead of fried.
Since having weight loss surgery, Holt’s life has changed. Together, Holt and her family enjoy hiking, camping, swimming and visiting theme parks. “I wasn’t able to join those activities when I was at my heaviest. We love theme parks, but I could never get on the rides. The safety bar wouldn’t come down over me. Now I can go on any ride and have fun.”
Holt enjoys offering advice and encouraging words to others going through this life-changing journey. “This is not a lose-weight-quick scheme, it is a total life change. If you do not get that in the very beginning, you will not have a successful surgery. I’m kicking myself for not doing the surgery sooner. It is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”