For years, Ashley Hottenstein eagerly tried every new diet, hoping to melt away the extra pounds she’d struggled with since childhood. Two years ago at age 26, she finally admitted defeat.
“I weighed my highest – about 230 pounds,” says Hottenstein of Bethlehem. “I had trouble climbing stairs, couldn’t walk for long, and found it hard keeping up with my 2-year-old daughter, Giuliana. I was tired of clothes not fitting, not being comfortable with myself and worrying about developing health problems. I started looking for another way to lose weight.”
Her research uncovered a possibility she’d assumed was only for older people: weight-loss surgery. But after meeting with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) bariatric surgeon Richard Boorse, MD, of LVPG General and Bariatric Surgery, she learned that younger people also can benefit from surgery.
In June 2014, Boorse performed laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery to remove 70 percent of Hottenstein’s stomach where the hunger hormone ghrelin is produced. The procedure helps patients feel less hungry and feel full faster.
New habits for a better life
Two months later on her wedding day, Hottenstein had already dropped 50 pounds. Now she’s down nearly 100 pounds, her lowest weight since before high school. “I’m very comfortable and just want to maintain my weight,” she says.
With support from her husband, Jonathan, and classes at LVHN Weight Management Center, Hottenstein avoids high-carbohydrate foods like pasta and eats smaller portions. Weight training and cardio workouts also motivate her. “I set goals and try new things,” she says.
Hottenstein even felt confident enough to have another child. “My biggest fear was not maintaining my weight during pregnancy, but I only gained 10 pounds with my son, Gavin, and lost it within two weeks,” she says.
Today, Hottenstein is on-the-go with her family, including annual trips to Disney World. “Younger adults don’t always know their weight-loss options,” she says. “I wish I’d heard about weight-loss surgery sooner.”