Overcoming the Obesity Struggle

January 12, 2016

Everyone struggles with something, Michele Morton says. Some want to control their temper or be a better spouse or be more organized. They are private struggles, something they share only with their most trusted confidantes.

For Michele, though, her biggest life struggle was obvious at first glance. Michele was morbidly obese.

“I had been overweight my entire life,” said Michele, 35. She tried diets and summoned all the willpower she could muster. “But I couldn’t get ahead of it no matter how much work I put into it,” she said.

Michele, an assistant district attorney, was concerned about her health and was hoping to start a family. But she knew that she and the baby would be at risk if she got pregnant. Every year, Michele made a resolution to lose weight. But every year, she failed.

Two years ago, Michele finally admitted that she needed help. She decided to explore bariatric surgery, and through her primary care physician, she contacted Dr. David Miles.

Dr. Miles and his staff reassured Michele. “They understood what it’s like to be overweight,” Michele said. “They know we’re not lazy and that nobody wishes this upon themselves. They said, ‘We’re here to help,’ and they never judged me or looked down on me.”

Since surgery in February 2014, she has lost about 230 pounds. Surgery is not the easy way out, Michele learned. Discipline, dedication and support are required to be successful.

Michele has all three.

A month before the surgery, she told her friends at work about her choice to have surgery. She told them she could no longer join them for  lunches out, which was a bonding experience and a chance to step away from the stress of prosecuting a felony trial.

Now, her friends often accommodate her -- driving past the fast-food joint so Michele can find a more nutritional meal elsewhere.

Just as Michele’s struggle was visible to anyone in the room, now so is her success. People can’t see her lowered cholesterol or blood pressure levels, but they do notice her appearance.

Complete strangers stop her at the courthouse to congratulate her on her weight-loss and to ask questions. “Almost not a day goes by that somebody doesn’t tell me how great I
look,” Michele said.


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