National weight loss campaign features Boone patient’s success

April 20, 2011

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.


Weight loss surgery changes teacher’s life

September 2, 2010

Clarence resident Wendi Wood was a 123-pound cheerleader as a teenager and her active lifestyle helped keep her fit and healthy.

Wendi Wood

Wendi Wood lost 160 pounds after having a gastric band placed at Boone Weight Loss Surgery.

But when Wendi became a mother, she gained 50 pounds for each of the three children she carried. The added weight took a toll on her daily life.

“It was hard to bend over,” she said. “It was exhausting just to make a trip to the mailbox.”

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.

“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.”

Wendi said she tried dieting many times, but the weight always came back. After seeing an advertisement about gastric banding technology, Wendi decided to contact Boone Weight Loss Surgery.

Wendi Wood before surgery

This picture was taken before Wendi had her gastric band placed at Boone Weight Loss Surgery.

Although her insurance would not cover the procedure, Wendi decided to take out a loan from a local bank to cover the procedure.

“My health is important and this is an investment in my future,” she said. “It was worth it because I wanted to be here to see my children graduate from high school and to see my future grandchildren. I knew my health would not have held out for long.”

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.

Wendi, a teacher, said the procedure happened on a Wednesday and she was back in the classroom the next Monday.

Since the surgery, Wendi has lost 160 pounds.

Today, Wendi is back to an active lifestyle. She said she spends more time outside and with people — she even does cartwheels at school with the kids.

She even has situations where people no longer recognize her slimmed-down body. She said this summer’s swimsuit is a size 8, compared to a size 24 just a few years ago.

“This is the best money I have ever spent,” she said. “It totally changed my life.”

For more information about Boone Weight Loss Surgery, click here.


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