Medical weight loss and adolescents: Camille's Story

Medical weight loss and adolescents: Camille's Story

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — When Camille was in first grade, she started to gain a lot of weight. At age nine, the weight really started becoming a problem. By the time she was fourteen, she was more than 100 pounds overweight.

"We moved to Utah when Camille was in first grade, and that was what really set it off and accelerated the weight gain," says her mother, Karren, of Salt Lake City. "Food was her comfort; she would sneak it in her room. As a parent, that was very hard. I got her a therapist, I took her to different doctors, I made her appointments with dieticians. I was very concerned because she kept gaining more and more weight, and they were all concerned as well. We tried different types of exercise; she joined Weight Watchers. We tried so many things, and none of it was enough. She had our family's full support, but she needed something more to really give her that success."

"I thought, ‘Okay, I'll just live fat for the rest of my life,'" Camille said. "I really felt like I couldn't do it. I was sad all the time; I'd cry all the time. I didn't want to be near anybody. I felt totally invisible at school. That really hurt. It is not fun being that person who no one includes, who no one talks to. In P.E., I would get made fun of a lot. Last year, we were playing ultimate Frisbee, and when I was running to catch it, a girl screamed, ‘Oh no, the giant is coming to get me!' That hurt so much."

Both sides of the family have members who have struggled with obesity; her grandfather is a diabetic and has suffered multiple heart attacks. For Camille, it has been a lifelong struggle as well.


"I saw my mom and sisters losing weight after their surgeries, and I wanted that too. I knew that I would not be able to lose the weight and keep it off if I didn't get surgery. So I told my mom, ‘I want to do this.' I did not want to die from being obese."

Camille received a gastric sleeve from the Bariatric Medicine Institute in June, when she was fifteen. At that point, she weighed 249 pounds. Since the surgery, she has lost over 65 pounds, and in just four months, she is over halfway to her goal of losing 100 pounds.

"She had to wait a while, and she had to prove that she could handle that kind of commitment. And she did, she proved herself. She has been absolutely amazing. She has followed those diet instructions to a T. She has come out of her cocoon and just totally blossomed. Her complexion has changed; her countenance has changed. Socially, she is more outgoing. Physically, she is much more active. She loves to exercise now and she is so much healthier. I am so proud of her."

BMI really helped Camille to learn how to eat properly and to make good food choices. They helped her to identify not only the problem, but also how the problem started, and how the problem can be fixed. They helped her to implement habitual changes as well as overall lifestyle changes. These techniques, in combination with the surgery, have helped Camille to not only lose weight, but to keep the weight off permanently.

"I know that surgery is a controversial topic, especially for teenagers," says Karren. "But I never went to her and suggested surgery; she came to me. She was so determined and wanted it so badly. The surgery is not an end-all solution, but it is a wonderful tool. This is my child, and I want her to live a long, happy, healthy life. So that's why we decided to go ahead with the surgery; it really has saved my daughter's life."

"Throughout my life, I've tried at least ten different methods of diet and exercise," says Camille. "Each time, I was fully determined to do it, and each time, I would eventually stop. Afterwards, I would feel like a total failure. I always imagined that I would lose the weight, I had hope that I would eventually be healthy, but it was so hard to make that a reality. The surgery really did make such a difference and has helped me to finally make a permanent lifestyle change."

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