Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 21, 2014
Pick a diet. Any diet. KVET-FM’s Heather White says she tried them all — and none worked long term.
When she hit 40, her health took a turn for the worse. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was told she was borderline diabetic, among other ailments.
"I’d always been a big girl," White told me, "and I wasn’t very active."
White, who co-hosts KVET-FM’s "Bama, Rob and Heather" morning show, knew it was time for something drastic, so she signed up for bariatric weight-loss surgery — a gastrectomy — in 2010.
Dr. Sashidhar V. Ganta performed the laparoscopic procedure, which entails shrinking the size of a person’s stomach, at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center.
After losing more than 140 pounds, White says it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made. Once a size 28, she’s now a 14. She’s able to keep up with her kids and is far more active than ever before, even participating in her first 5K recently.
"I feel great," she said. "It’s totally changed my life."
White says recovery took about a week. No foods are off limits but, because of the surgery, it takes a lot less to make her feel full. Steering clear of booze most of the time has helped, too, she says.
The radio host is a little shy about sharing her weight — hey, I don’t tell people what I weigh, either — but she admits that, before the surgery, she was "in the NFL linebacker range."
Something she’s not shy about is sharing her experience with others – in person and on the air. She even pops into support group meetings from time to time to offer encouragement.
"I tell everyone — even people who probably don’t want to hear," she said.
One of the highlights of shedding all those pounds meant White got to shop for a new wardrobe. To highlight her amazing transformation — and those of other Central Texans who’ve undergone the procedure — White will host a first-ever bariatric fashion show at North Austin Medical Center on Saturday. She anticipates more in the future.
About 200,000 people undergo weight-loss surgery each year, according to St. David’s, and with approximately 1 in 3 Americans considered obese, that number continues to grow.
While the thought of setting foot in an operating room might be scary to some, White encourages people with weight issues to take a serious look at bariatric surgery.
"You’ll be so glad," she said. "It’s a whole new world."
Bariatric Fashion Show
6:30 p.m. Saturday
North Austin Medical Center
‘Bama, Rob and Heather’
5 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays