There was no magic potion for George Hollen. No matter what regimen he tried to follow, George could not maintain a healthy weight. He could lose a significant amount of weight, but he always regained it and then some.
George was at the low end of his weight pendulum in 2010 when he proposed to his girlfriend, Rachel. They married three days later. By the time the couple celebrated their one-year anniversary at Disney World, George’s weight had ballooned to more than 300 pounds.
Rachel fell in love with Disney all over again, and she started dreaming about a fairy tale wedding at the resort. Her prince, though, continued to struggle. With a full-time job at PPD, three children, and a side gig working at UNCW basketball games, George’s weight climbed to more than 400 pounds.
Already on medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, he decided that he needed help to vanquish obesity for good. That’s when he called NHRMC Bariatric Surgery Program and scheduled an appointment with Dr. James Harris.
For years, George had contemplated bariatric surgery, believing that it was somehow the “easy way out.” When he met Dr. Harris and enrolled in the program, he quickly found out that slaying obesity is never easy, not even with a weapon as powerful as bariatric surgery.
Bariatric patients are required to lose some weight before the procedure. This accomplishes two things — it shows that the patient is committed to the process and it simplifies the surgical procedure.
“The process takes several months, but the results are dramatic,” Dr. Harris said. “Patients frequently reduce their medications or eliminate them altogether.”
George’s results were remarkable. His cholesterol dropped significantly, and he no longer takes blood pressure medication. Over two years, he has lost 200 pounds.
The weight loss has allowed him to pursue one of his favorite healthy activities — running. George recently completed the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon, and he was greeted at the finish line by his cheering, beaming bride.
The race came just months after the Hollens had returned to Florida for that dream wedding. The bride sparkled in her bejeweled strapless gown, and the groom looked confident and dapper in his pink tie and boutonniere as a photographer took photos of them in the ballroom, enjoying every moment of their “happily ever after.”
As much as the wedding was the fulfillment of Rachel’s dream, it was also a celebration of George’s transformation through the NHRMC Bariatric Surgery Program.
“I’m very proud of him,” Rachel said. “This was not an easy thing to do, but he made the choice to be healthier for himself, and for our family.”
George only wishes that he had contacted Dr. Harris years ago.
“Many people who have bariatric surgery have just one regret,” Dr. Harris said. “That they didn’t do it sooner.”
This year, George enjoyed the rides with his children at Disney, drawing laughs by mugging for the Disneycam. And when Rachel wanted him to join her, George didn’t have to consider whether the seat was big enough.
He has lost so much weight that he can fit comfortably inside any ride— even a teacup.