PEORIA, Ill. -- When it comes to losing weight, doctors say diet and exercise are key but for one New Holland woman diet and exercise were not enough. So she decided to go under the knife last year ago to get her life back.
"I've been battling weight all my life. As a kid, I wasn't a chunky child, but after I had my first two kids in my early 20's, weight was an issue with me," said Dana Entwistle.
So much of an issue that the 41 year old heavily researched and underwent a relatively new weight loss procedure called "sleeve gastrectomy".
During the operation, 80 to 90 percent of the stomach is removed and the rest is shaped into a sleeve. This reduces the amount of food you can consume and ultimately leads to an incredible amount of weight loss.
"It's been a year and she has not come to the hospital for any problems, so that's an indication that the patient has done excellent with the surgery without any side effect of the surgery," said Dr. Jayaraj Salimath with the Mid Illini Surgical Associates who performed Entwistle's surgery.
Entwistle said she hit a tipping point where she knew she had to do something.
"My joints hurting when I would go up and down steps. I was a yo-yo person. One minute I would lose 10 pounds. Another minute, I would gain 20 pounds," said Entwistle.
She underwent the surgical procedure January 10, 2012 and soon she was shedding pounds and shedding them fast. Just one month post-surgery, Entwistle had lost 30 pounds. By July, she was down 90 pounds. In October, she had lost 120 pounds and now she has shed a total of 150 pounds.
"It's been phenomenal, it's been wonderful, no side effects, my energy level has gone through the roof. I can sleep normal now, I don't need my c-pap machine anymore, my joints don't hurt," she said.
It's important to remember though that with the surgery, comes a major lifestyle change, particularly when it comes to the food you eat.
"I'm eating extremely healthy, I have to watch my protein, I have to watch my vegetables, I have to watch everything," she said.
Instead of hitting up the vending machine for a snicker's bar now or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, she chooses to have an apple sauce, a four-ounce apple sauce which is just enough to fill her up.
"It's re-learning to eat, actually eating the proper way, we as a society have been three meals a day and do you want to super size that," said Entwistle.
She is anything but super sized now. She's gone from a size 24 to a 4. While peers have accused her of cheating and taking the easy way out, Entwistle said that is just not true.
"It's just something that you cannot rely on that one thing, and I did have some people say you know, you're cheating, I said no I'm not, I said the surgery is just another part of weight loss and countering it."
Another part of countering it is to make sure you are following up with your doctor.
"We want to make sure they are taking their proteins and carbohydrates appropriately and also at these events, we do give them nutritional counseling as to what they are supposed to be eating," said Dr. Salimath.
Entwistle's success has even rubbed off on her family. Her son has cut out sweet tea and soda, started riding a bike, and lost 30 pounds last summer.
"My kids have been more aware of it and I also tell them too if you start reaching, feeling like your full, then stop, don't keep eating. You don't have to clean your plate," she said.
Entwistle has a few more pounds to lose before Dr. Salimath said her body will plateau.
She said, more a year later, she does not regret having the surgery one bit.
"When you put all the pieces together, the end result is being in better health and being a healthier person."