National weight loss campaign features Boone patient’s success

Hula-hooping on an old lady’s lawn in California for a Hollywood camera crew — Wendi Wood never imagined she’d be doing this.

But now, the whole country can see the result.

The photos are part of a national Allergan Lap-Band ad campaign and Wendi’s ad is in the May editions — out now — of several popular magazines: Rachael Ray, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens and Real Simple. In June, she’ll be in Oprah’s magazine.

“It’s one of those things that’s just too good to be true,” said Wendi, a teacher from Clarence. “I never thought I’d be that girl to be in a magazine.”

Looking back, it’s amazing how far Wendi has come in her transformation.

While she was fit and healthy as a teenage cheerleader, Wendi said she added about 50 pounds for each of the three children she carried in adulthood.

As she reached her mid-30s, Wendi said that when she looked in the mirror, she felt like the person looking back at her was not the Wendi she knew. She began avoiding getting her picture taken and stopped going out of the house as much.

Wendi, before the weight loss surgery in 2008.

“I used to make excuses not to do things, not to go places because I was embarrassed,” she said. “I was just ashamed of myself that I had gotten this far and had let myself go.”

She tried dieting many times, but the weight always came back. Eventually she turned to Boone Weight Loss Surgery.

On Nov. 19, 2008, Wendi came to Boone Hospital and had a gastric band placed. She said the procedure was quick and easy — she was out of the hospital that same morning.

Since the surgery, Wendi has lost 156 pounds. Her swimsuit is down to a size 8, compared to a size 24 just a few years ago.

Last year, she was featured in Boone Hospital’s local marketing for the weight loss surgery program. Then, in January, a marketing company contacted her about Allergan’s national Lap-Band campaign. She was asked to submit photos and a video of herself.

She made the cut and in early February she was flown to California with her husband for the shoot.

During the trip, Wendi said she was treated like a star. She was driven around in limos and stayed at a luxury hotel near the Santa Monica pier. She said her jaw was practically on the floor the entire trip.

Wendi at a Boone Hospital photo shoot in 2010.

“The guy who did my wardrobe had done a Will Ferrell movie the week before. The girl who did my make up does the Oprah show,” she said. “It was just a state of disbelief. It was the experience of a lifetime.”

Even today, when she sees her photo in the Lap-Band ad, Wendi said, “still, I don’t really believe that it’s real.”

Thinking back to years ago, and the progress she’s made since then, she said she gives credit to surgeon James Pitt, DO, at Columbia Surgical Associates and the Boone Weight Loss Surgery program.

“I would have never imagined that all this could happen,” she said.

For more information about Boone Weight Loss Surgery, visit www.boone.org/weightloss.

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