Sharlett Stiefvater's Weight Loss Success Story

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Sharlett Stiefvater's Weight Loss Success Story

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Sharlett's Weight Loss Success

“I turned 40 this year. I’m a now a happy, thriving mom of three beautiful children. Before weight loss surgery, with each pregnancy all I thought was – weight gain and how was I going to get the weight off afterward. I had my first child at 23 years-old and I bounced back with no problem. My second child was a little harder - I was 32, and I weighed 240 pounds standing only at 5’2” – I was obese, but made it through the pregnancy with little to no complications. 


When I had my third child, my son, I ended up in the hospital and had to have a blood transfusion. I was a high-risk pregnancy due to my weight, and I barely made it through the delivery due to my high blood pressure. It terrified me. It wasn’t until a year later that I decided drastic change need to happen. That year, I passed out in my bathroom because of a surprise pregnancy and our son was attached to the opening of my uterus. I had to have an emergency dilation and curettage surgery – this procedure is often performed after a first-trimester miscarriage; it saved my life. These health scares were my "final straws.” It was time to consider bariatric surgery. It was time to lose weight.  

The UnityPoint Clinic Weight Loss – West Des Moines team welcomed me at my first informational meeting. They held my hand through the entire process. Reassuring me the entire way they were there for me. I had only heard about Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Procedure before starting my journey with UnityPoint Clinic. This form of bariatric surgery allows a patient to be able to lose weight by changing the way your small intestine and stomach processes food that you consume. The process is done laparoscopically. I went to an informational meeting with the weight loss team at UnityPoint Clinic and heard about the different options I could take to tackle my obesity. 

I heard about Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery and what I would have to do before and after surgery to commit to my weight loss journey. After hearing the weight loss specialists talk about the options, it then clicked with me and I understood the outcome of my surgery would be life-changing. But what I really heard was I had to work for this – surgery wasn’t going to be a quick fix – it was a lifestyle change and commitment. Leading into the surgery, one thing I had to do was cut out soda entirely. I already knew that making that change was going to improve my health but this time around it was different, I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and have a bigger purpose. Surgery with a purpose changed the way I executed my daily living. 

Closer to the surgery, my fear started to take over. I had read all the horror stories online, and I wish I had talked to more people who experienced success. The more I went to the weight loss support group over the weekends and heard more stories of people who had undergone surgery who felt it was completely worth it, I gained confidence that I would have a positive experience. The two weeks after surgery were the hardest two weeks of my life. It was all about learning about my new body. One of my friends who went through the surgery told me to drink everything at room temperature because cold drinks can upset your stomach, and that was true for me. 

During the first month, I found myself constantly chewing gum because I went from eating three times a day to being on strictly liquids. The hardest part was adjusting to the new lifestyle and essentially I was retraining my brain. The team worked with me months ahead of surgery to educate me that this wasn’t a quick fix – it’s a lifestyle change, and it absolutely was and continues to be. As a family, we have pretty much-taken bread out completely unless it is whole wheat. Our plates at meals consist of half vegetables and fruit, with a small portion of protein. No matter how difficult it was, I would 100% do it again. I wish I would’ve done it earlier, so I could have experienced this quality of life sooner. 

My biggest accomplishment is that I can walk without my knees hurting and I finally enjoy trying clothes on while I shop – I love my life today. UnityPoint Clinic Weight Loss – West Des Moines is the most incredible team of doctors that I have ever encountered. Anything you thought was a problem could be resolved by them or they would find the answers. I had a great support team. I have never had a bad experience at UnityPoint Clinic, so I didn’t even look anywhere else. If someone you or someone you love are curious about weight loss surgery – call the clinic. You will not regret your decision, they changed my life.”

- Sharlett Stiefvater