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Our Patients Say it Best

Your friends and neighbors from throughout southwest Michigan and beyond share their experiences at Spectrum Health Lakeland. Do you have a story to share? Click on the "What's Your Story" button and complete the form. 

Jun 4, 2021 Reporting from Niles, MI
A weight off her mind - Katie Pugh
Jun 4, 2021
If you are struggling with obesity and other health-related problems because of your weight, you are not alone and it’s time to get help. Take the first step to living the life you have always imagined. Visit

A weight off her mind - Katie Pugh

SpectrumHealth Lakeland

A weight off her mind - Katie Pugh

Jun, 2021

Physicians:  Seth Miller, MDRebecca Wolff, NP

If you are struggling with obesity and other health-related problems because of your weight, you are not alone and it’s time to get help. Take the first step to living the life you have always imagined.

Visit to watch a free, online seminar and complete a short evaluation.

Niles resident Katie Pugh struggled with her weight for many years. At 34 years old, it wasn’t just affecting her physically. It took a heavy toll on her mental health as well.  

“I had no energy and found myself unable to go play with my daughter and keep up with housework,” said Katie. “I also felt increasingly depressed. I didn’t want to go out and do things. I was embarrassed about my weight.”

Katie tried different ways to lose weight, including weight loss pills under the guidance of her primary care physician, yo-yo diets, fad diets, and more. But when a friend suggested that she visit the Lakeland Weight Loss Center, it finally clicked.

“When I decided to do this, there was no looking back,” said Katie. “You get out of it what you put into it. That’s really important.”

Katie joined a six-month program at the Lakeland Weight Loss Center to prepare for bariatric surgery, which included a consultation with bariatric surgeon Seth Miller, MD, and monthly meetings with Rebecca Wolff, NP, and registered dietitians, Selena Diaz, RD, and Halley Harmon, RD.

“I loved the meetings,” said Katie. “I really felt prepared for what was to come. They gave me the tools I needed, from education like hand-outs and samples, to emotional support. I don’t know if I would have been successful without them.”

During those months, Katie also learned how to make necessary diet and lifestyle changes.

“I really appreciated learning how to read food labels properly,” she said. “A lot of things are labeled as healthy and they’re really not. I learned what’s good for my body and how to shift the way I thought about food.”

Katie underwent a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. The minimally invasive procedure removes approximately 60 to 80% of the stomach, leaving a banana-shaped “sleeve.” By making the stomach smaller, patients feel full much quicker.

“Dr. Miller was very knowledgeable,” said Katie. “He took everything very seriously and answered any questions I had.”

Since the start of the program, Katie has experienced dramatic results.  She is down 84 pounds and getting closer to her goal weight every day.

“Life has changed a thousand percent since the surgery—I have so much energy now,” said Katie.

That increased energy means long walks with her dog. It means housework doesn’t seem quite so exhausting. On a recent vacation to an amusement park, it meant Katie could fit comfortably on rides with her daughter.

And just like the excess pounds were weighing her down physically, Katie now feels lighter mentally as well.

“I’m happy, clear, focused, and driven. It’s a complete change. And I’m so, so happy,” said Katie.

For anyone considering weight loss surgery, Katie recommends researching it, considering the options, and just going for it, if it’s the right fit.

“Sometimes, weight loss surgery can have a negative stigma but I want others to know it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” shared Katie. “I’m so happy I did it. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”

Watch more of Katie's story in the video below: 


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