Despite being active with sports and dance, Natalie Semon was always bigger than everyone else her age. Very early in her life, she developed an unhealthy relationship with food which persisted through adulthood. Her home was always filled with processed foods and her diet was unbalanced. Food was a reward when things went well and a comfort when they didn't.
In fifth grade, she had blood drawn during a routine checkup and her levels were so off that the doctor thought there had been a mistake. After a second draw, she was immediately referred to a specialist. At age 10, she was put on medicine for high cholesterol. As an adult, Natalie described herself as a "yo-yo dieter," losing weight and then gaining it back time and time again. Each time the weight came back, she was a little heavier than she was before.
Her cholesterol was under control, but it was beginning to rise again. It was around this time that a close friend "basically forced" her to start exercising; she began training for 5Ks and half marathons. She walked — Natalie had a strict rule that she would only run if she was being chased — but she finished the races and she began losing weight again.
Everything changed when she adopted her son. She became sedentary and gained back all the weight she’d lost and more. With her blood pressure now rising, Natalie worried that she may not be around to watch her son grow up. It was time to do something different than anything else she had tried. After researching local bariatric programs, she decided to try GBMC's Comprehensive Obesity Management Program (COMP). She knew after her first consultation that weight-loss surgery was her next step.
A year and a half later, Natalie is running marathons. She looks good, she feels good, and her bloodwork is normal. Natalie never set a goal weight for herself; all she wanted was to be healthy and to be comfortable in her own skin. She made it. Every day she can feel her stamina and endurance improving and she is an active part of COMP's RUNGBMC group. She has become close friends with people she met through the program and loves the camaraderie in the support group. Natalie has more hope for her future that she has ever had before. Most of all, she’s proud that she'll be able to watch her son grow through the years.