Jeananne Kilbel, age 38, tried losing weight on her own many times, but nothing stuck long-term and the pounds always crept back on.
“Tipping the scale at 280 pounds and learning I was prediabetic spurred me to finally do something more permanent about my weight and improve my health,” she says. “I watched my brother, who tried to qualify for bariatric surgery, die from kidney failure as a result of diabetes.”
Determined not to let the same thing happen to her, Jeananne turned to bariatric surgeon Sara Monfared, MD, at Akron General Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric Center, for help.
“Dr. Monfared told me I was a great candidate for sleeve gastrectomy and explained the whole process – including how the surgery would cure my diabetes and sleep apnea and improve my heartburn symptoms,” she says.
“Obesity is a chronic disease that is believed to be 70% genetic as well as hormone-related,” said Dr. Monfared. “Weight-loss surgery results in changes to the hormones that increase metabolism and decrease appetite. This assists with weight loss and resolves diseases like diabetes and hypertension.”
Jeananne before and after her surgery.
As part of the presurgical lifestyle modification program that Jeananne was required to participate in, she lost 40 pounds prior to her surgery in January 2023.
“Because she was prepared for what was to come and she knew what to do, Jeananne did really well post-surgery,” said Dr. Monfared. “She was motivated and ready to change. That’s half the battle,” says Dr. Monfared.
Jeananne adds, “I can eat pretty much anything, but I stick to small meals and stay away from fatty, processed and high-carb foods. My body knows what it likes and doesn’t like. If I eat something that I shouldn’t, I usually suffer from increased acid reflux.”
Jeananne’s meals now consist of 4 ounces of protein and lots of fruit and vegetables.
“I don’t drink beverages that contain sugar, and I stay away from carbonated drinks,” says Jeananne. “In addition to dietary changes, I go to the gym everyday (except weekends) and do a mix of cardio and strength work.”
Down 112 pounds, Jeananne loves how she looks and feels. She has celebrated achieving several nonscale goals; for example, she is now able to go up and down stairs without becoming winded and has the energy to do more things with her three kids.
And, with all her old clothes now too big, she had to buy a whole new wardrobe. “Friday is jeans day at work,” she says. “It feels great to be able to put on a pair of size 10 jeans and have them fit.
“I work as a pharmacy tech and my coworkers and patients have noticed my transformation,” she adds. “I went from wearing size 2XL scrubs to size medium. People are taking notice, and they are excited for me.”
Jeananne’s transformation is also inspiring others. She was recently contacted by a high school friend who was considering bariatric surgery. “Sharing my story and how the surgery has improved my quality of life helped her decide to move forward,” she says.
Jeananne is still losing weight and hopes to one day reach her goal weight of 150 pounds.
“I don’t let plateaus on the scale frustrate me anymore,” she says. “I know it’s a journey.”
Interested in learning more about weight-loss surgery? Visit Akron General's Bariatric Center or call 330.344.4751.
Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute