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Woman Rides Roller Coaster for First Time in 18 Years

Bariatric Surgery Patient is Fully Embracing a New, Healthy Lifestyle


Jennifer Coleman battled obesity for much of her life. Her two daughters inspired her to look to Abington – Jefferson Health’s Institute for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (IMBS) for the help and guidance she needed to become a healthier version of herself. Today, 126 pounds lighter, Jennifer is both looking and feeling great and cherishing all the little things in life that she is now able to do.

Jennifer struggled with her weight for decades. She not only felt handicapped by her physical weight, but also by the emotional weight of being judged by others. She says before coming to IMBS, she was sometimes belittled and treated unkindly by physicians. After years of trying countless weight loss methods and programs, she decided it was time to make a change. Jennifer wanted to become a more active parent for her biggest inspirations – her daughters.

After a year of researching surgical weight loss programs in the region, Jennifer decided to become a patient of IMBS based on the recommendation of a friend, and the high success rates of Fernando Bonanni, MD. Her weight loss journey began on January 15, 2015 at age 31, weighing 306 pounds. From the very start, Jennifer knew she had found the right place. There was comfortable seating in the office and patient gowns that can accommodate obese or morbidly obese patients. In her previous experiences at medical offices, she received gowns that were too small and made her feel inadequately covered.

In less than four months, Jennifer completed all of the pre-surgery requirements and never once was given a number to strive for on the scale. Instead, her IMBS team focused on helping Jennifer find a healthier version of herself. “Jennifer was not offered a target weight because what is most important is the resolution of obesity related physical and psychological problems that impair a patient’s longevity and quality of life,” Dr. Bonanni explains. IMBS does strive to help patients lose at least 50 percent of their excess body weight, but, Dr. Bonanni clarifies, “how much you weigh in pounds is not what we are about.” Together, Dr. Bonanni and Jennifer chose the surgery that best suited her. “Many clinical factors determine which procedure will most likely resolve a patient’s co-morbid disease. For Jennifer, the procedure was a vertical sleeve gastrectomy,” Dr. Bonanni explains.

A year after surgery, Jennifer is 126 pounds lighter, and has never felt better. The vertical sleeve gastrectomy was the tool Jennifer needed to kick her weight loss journey into high gear and it’s been up to her to continue down the right path since then. Her new lifestyle consists of working out multiple times a week and doing hotbox yoga. Jennifer also visits with a therapist, personal trainer and nutritionist to maintain her multi-disciplinary approach to new health. Even to this day, “my success is not the number on the scale, but instead, my improved quality of life with my loving husband and two beautiful girls,” Jennifer proudly states.

Jennifer was very motivated to find success in her weight loss journey and was willing to make all the lifestyle changes that were necessary after having bariatric surgery. “Jennifer is a poster child for bariatric surgery. She was the perfect candidate because she accepted that the journey to a healthy life required her to understand her disease, learn about her surgical options and accept her own role in her success,” Dr. Bonanni explains.

She says her experience at IMBS was the first time she felt truly embraced. From the two smiling secretaries who greeted her at each and every appointment, to the nutritionist who set the foundation of a healthy diet, to the caring post-surgery call from Dr. Bonanni, Jennifer credits her weight loss success to the extensive, genuine guidance and support she received from the IMBS team.

The best part of her new lifestyle is enjoying the small but special things in life. In October, Jennifer was able to ride a roller coaster with her daughter. She cried tears of joy because it was her first ride in 18 years. “My girls, my very supportive husband, family and the entire IMBS team helped me to preserve longevity of my life and experience all the greatness life has to offer without being handicapped by weight,” she says.