Making the decision to have a weight loss surgery, like gastric bypass, is difficult. Many people who struggle with health-related issues caused by their weight struggle to lose weight with diet and exercise alone. Bryant Nall was one of these people. He had a mostly healthy diet and would work out, but he just wasn’t seeing the results he wanted.
Additionally, Bryant struggled with people in his life who insisted that he should be able to lose the weight without the help of weight loss surgery. For a long time, he convinced himself that his health issues were just something he had to live with because everyone in his family struggled with the same ailments: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. Once Bryant overcame this mentality and quit worrying about the judgmental attitude from others, he discovered Nashville Weight Loss Solutions and Dr. Houston. Since then, he has found a whole new life for himself.
We asked Bryant some questions about his experience so that other people considering weight loss surgery can see that there are others dealing with the same challenges. As people move forward with this life-changing procedure, there are options and support out there to help them succeed like Bryant.
What made you consider weight loss surgery?
Growing up, my mother was sick a lot. I had to grow up fast to help take care of her. I didn’t get many childhood experiences. The majority of my family has diabetes, high blood pressure and challenges with cholesterol. I wanted to make sure I cut generational curses; so that when I have children, they will know the benefits of healthy living.
I remember telling one of my cousins that I knew I would feel better and be more confident in who I am if I could manage my weight. Then I had another experience that encouraged me to lose weight - In 2013, I had my jaw broken and reset, and I was forced to only drink liquids for six weeks. I lost nearly 50 pounds and felt great, even though I knew it was temporary. I remember having this conversation with my friend that I felt better when the weight was off of me; I felt in control of my body and the things that my body could do when I didn’t have as much weight on me.
When you have a lot of weight on you, it literally weighs you down physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. I was taking medicine for diabetes and high blood pressure. I thought because my mom had high blood pressure and mine remained high despite my efforts to treat the condition (through diet and exercise), that I would just have to live with it my entire life. I had the wrong mindset, and I decided I didn’t want to live like that into my thirties - I knew that I needed to do something about it. I wanted to find the solution that would allow me to manage my weight and allow me to stay on track.
That’s why I considered weight loss surgery - not just because of low self-esteem, but because I don’t want to live like my grandmother, mother, and all of my family who is dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and all of those things that affect your health and your weight. I love my family; however, I decided that gastric bypass was the best solution for me to be able to sustain a healthy life through the management of my weight and what goes into my body.
What were the results you experienced after your weight loss surgery?
I was atypical and met my goal weight within 6 months. But it’s because I work out 4-5 times per week, and I’ve changed the way I eat and what I’m eating - because I’m vegan. I watched what I was eating and how much I was eating and did my weekly weigh-ins to check on what I was losing or how much muscle I was gaining.
The surgery encouraged me to look at food differently. I sought more ways to change how I felt physically and mentally. It’s been overall a great experience. Every now and then, my body will tell me if I’ve had too much sugar. I will get full very quickly. My body will speak to me and let me know when it’s time to give it up.
I no longer deal with high blood pressure issues. I no longer have high cholesterol - all my levels on all things health-related are normal according to my family physician. I struggle with getting enough protein and enough water down because the anatomy has changed, so you have to make sure you find the times during the day to get that water in. I have found tools, like the Baritastic app to help me keep track of when I need to drink water, and other resources to help me keep track and make sure I get what I need.
I’m still holding myself accountable. I continue to workout 4-5 times a week and do some kind of physical activity in the gym. I have not experienced a set-back or any stalls. I have continued to maintain an average weight of 195, but every time I see the scale get closer to 200, I’ll adjust to make sure I stay where I want to be. Overall, that’s how I’ve been able to manage it.
Why did you choose Nashville Weight Loss Solutions, and why do you recommend them to others considering weight loss surgery?
I chose Nashville Weight Loss Solutions because Dr. Houston and the program at Centennial are one of the Centers for Excellence for weight loss surgery, and I wanted to be a part of that. In my research about Nashville Weight Loss, I heard different testimonials about the experiences people had before the surgery and the tools they give you to manage your weight loss well after - every review and testimonial was positive and encouraging.
My friend had her weight loss surgery done at another place, but our experiences were very different. Nashville Weight Loss Solutions helped me maximize my potential for weight loss management in a way that the place she went to did not. The people at Nashville Weight Loss Solutions are there for you before and after in a way others aren’t. I can call them and get the support I need in order to move forward. My friend (who went to a different surgeon) never even achieved her goal weight because they didn’t offer the same support in weight management after her surgery.
I have recommended many people Dr. Houston and his team at Nashville Weight Loss Solutions because of my success and the experience that I had. They are caring, nurturing, and a team of individuals that continue to follow your success. They have created a support network that continues to support and push me. They have social media pages with a community of people who support each other. I am disciplined but I needed the team at Nashville Weight Loss Solutions to teach me how to be disciplined with food.
How did Nashville Weight Loss Solutions prepare you for this and what tools did they give you?
I appreciate the psychological visit I had before getting the gastric bypass to make sure I was mentally prepared. They want to make sure you are prepared overall because this isn’t a diet, it’s not a fad - it’s a lifestyle change. That mental preparation is very key.
Not only did I need to prepare myself mentally, but I had to prepare my partner as well. We used to cook for each other entertain guests, but we don’t cook for each other anymore - he’s scared he’ll prepare something wrong. Even now, he leaves my style of eating to me, and he does his own.
They help you with getting on track of eating certain foods before the surgery. They prepared me with the support network and support groups, so I knew what to expect in the journey. They prepared me by discussing all of the changes I would go through with my body. They give you guides and manuals to go through and make sure you have some kind of physical activity incorporated into your daily life - so it’s an overall lifestyle change.
They’re always available. They gave me a preview of the requirements of how I would eat moving forward. Sitting down and talking with the dietician was very helpful. All of these things are still very helpful. These are the tools and resources that continue to be helpful.
How has your life changed after the gastric bypass surgery?
I feel better about being able to go shopping and maintain a wardrobe. When I was at my highest weight, there was a lot of back and forth trying to figure out what I could and couldn't wear. I feel better about myself. I don’t feel so self-conscious about what I look like, and I feel better about that. I have a lot more energy to do what I want to do. I feel more alive and in tune with who I am. The biggest takeaway and response is that I’m able to look at myself and feel good about myself. I can go into average stores and buy clothes.
Do you wish you’d gotten the surgery sooner?
Absolutely!!. I definitely would have gotten it a lot sooner had I been more knowledgeable about it. It’s also coming to terms with individuals who would have placed judgment on it and the judgment I placed on it. I went back to a close friend who had the surgery, and after I saw the results of my surgery and realized the real struggle of losing weight, I felt that I had to apologize for saying that she should be able to do it by myself.
What advice would you give others?
Do a self-assessment first. Dig deep within yourself and find out if you are really ready to move forward with a lifestyle change. That has been the most important thing for me. I wanted a lifestyle change. I didn’t want another diet - not another eating plan - I wanted a lifestyle change that I could pass down to my children and my children’s children about understanding health and managing your weight.
I would tell people who are considering this surgery to find others who will be encouraging and authentic and hold them accountable. I still have an accountability partner who I help and encourage as we go through mental and physical changes. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a continuum. That’s my encouragement to individuals - you’ve got to keep pushing and moving forward if this is what you really want. And you’ve got to be sure that this is what you really want because there are things you can’t eat and things you can’t drink, so you have to be intentional about why you do it and what you want to accomplish.
Would you recommend Dr. Houston to other people?
I would absolutely recommend Dr. Houston to other people. Even my dentist is impressed by my progress. He has been encouraged by my weight loss, and he’s considering it himself. I feel like I’m a walking billboard for Dr. Houston. Many people have different stories, and they want to make a change. I think Dr. Houston and his staff can be the agents of change to help people live long lives and understand how weight is impacting their life. I encourage people who really want to make a change - people I can tell will really make a change - to look into it. It’s life-changing. Diets don’t change your life - but Dr. Houston will.
Is there anything you would like to add about your experience or any last thoughts you’d like to give?
I want to say thank you to Dr. Houston and his entire staff for continuing to push me. Thank you to everyone who is part of the program. I will continue to be a walking billboard for gastric bypass surgery and Dr. Houston’s staff, because this has made such a big difference in my life. His team will keep it real with you and push you and encourage you all at the same time.
I think this is important for people to understand, especially individuals in the African American community. I’m a 31-year old African American male who felt the need to make a difference in my life and felt the need to seek help to make the change. It’s not every day that people in my community do that. We are scared to seek out help when we need it. There are opportunities for you to make a difference in your life and there are people who are there to help make that difference in your life. If I can do that, then you can do it too. You don’t have to stay living with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. You can break the cycle. There are solutions!
Contact Nashville Weight Loss Solutions for more information about gastric bypass surgery.
Are you dieting and exercising on your own but still not getting the results you want? Nashville Weight Loss Solutions offers a comprehensive range of proven weight loss programs to help, whether you need to lose 20 pounds or 200. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation!