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Lasting Results: 110 Pound Weight Loss Transformed Woman’s Life

Tanea Putnam, age 46, tried everything to lose weight.

“From Weight Watchers to liquid diets to supplements, I tried it all — but nothing stuck,” she says. “I would lose weight only to gain it back again.”

After years of yo-yo diets and juggling a busy work schedule as a paramedic/senior technician in Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s emergency department, Tanea found herself tipping the scale at 266 pounds in 2021.

“I was an athlete in high school and never had a problem with weight,” she says. “But once I had my kids and was a working single mom eating on the go, the pounds started to creep on.”

Although she had considered bariatric surgery in the past, the pandemic delayed her plans. In 2021, she gave it another go and made an appointment at Akron General’s Bariatric Center that would change her life.

“Preparing for bariatric surgery is a big commitment and a complete lifestyle change,” she says. “There are a lot of appointments, You must track what you eat, exercise regularly and lose a certain amount of weight prior to surgery.”

In October 2022, Tanea underwent a successful gastric sleeve surgery with bariatric surgeon, Marita Bauman, MD. As the weight came off, the benefits to Tanea’s quality of life were evident. She could manage her work demands with ease, transporting patients without the back and knee pain that used to hinder her. She had more energy, and her sleep apnea and heartburn went away.

Before and after photos of Tanea showing the results of her bariatric surgery.
Before and after photos of Tanea showing the results of her bariatric surgery. (Courtesy: Tanea Putnam)

Beyond the physical changes, Tanea cherished the nonscale victories like shopping for stylish clothes in smaller sizes and being physically able to jump on the trampoline with her granddaughter.

"I used to wear camouflage to hide," she says. "Now, I wear small or medium sizes in cute and form-fitting clothes, It feels amazing!”

Losing weight hasn’t just boosted Tanea’s confidence, it’s made her life better. “I’m happy,” she says. “I have been traveling more and have been dating someone for about a year.”

Even Dr. Bauman didn’t recognize Tanea when she saw her in the hall at work. “She recognized my voice before she recognized me,” says Tanea. “I’ve basically lost a whole person from the time I first met her.”

Tanea says she appreciated Dr. Bauman’s straightforward but encouraging approach to success in the program. “She is to the point, but she is sweet and very caring,” she says. “She reinforces that if you are willing to follow the program, you will have results.”

Over the past year, Tanea has learned what her body can and can’t tolerate. “I eat a lot of protein like tuna pouches and eggs with turkey sausage,” she says. “I can’t do spicy or acidic food.”

She also takes daily vitamins to help ensure her body gets all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Although she lost weight quickly, Tanea still puts in the work in to keep it off.

“People really need to do a lot of soul searching and decide if they are in the headspace to take it seriously because it won’t work if you don’t,” she says.

Having lost 110 pounds by February 2024, Tanea wants to put some weight back on — in the form of muscle mass. To do that, she plans to start a weightlifting regimen. She also wants to inspire others facing similar struggles.

"If I can do it, anyone can," she says. “I wish I would have done it years ago.”

Inspired by Tanea's story? Learn more about weight-loss surgery at Akron General's Bariatric Center or call 330.344.4751 to take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

Related Institutes: Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute
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