Brittany Ratliff is Now Loving Life!

December 12, 2012

Ratliff is Now Loving Life!

by Lynn Wiesen, Communications Coordinator at United Regional Health Care System

OH Magazine

“Since I was 13 years old, I have either been trying a new diet or visiting a diet doctor,” says 29-year-old Brittany Ratliff. “And other than my nine months of pregnancy, there has not been a time since that I haven’t been doing something to lose weight.” Like so many of us, Ratliff always knew she had to be cautious of what she ate; any slip was an invitation to the weight that she so desperately tried to keep off. “I knew in the long-term nothing would last,” recalls Ratliff. That was until the Lap Sleeve surgery was introduced as an option to Ratliff; now she is living at a size she is happy with.

Born and raised in Iowa Park, Texas, Ratliff led the life of any normal child growing up. She participated in all the regular activities at school and had friends just like everyone else, but it was obvious to her that she was bigger than most of her friends. The years leading into her adult life were full of frustrating battles with diets and weight loss programs. Ratliff was no stranger to losing weight; it was keeping it off that never seemed to work. “Some things I tried had good results in the beginning, but as soon as I tried to eat ‘normal’ food, the weight came right back,” she explains. Ratliff attributed her weight to genetics, but found it hard to accept.

Over the years, Ratliff’s weight had varied from 235 pounds to 138 pounds. The ups and downs of the weight and the roller coaster of emotions became too much to handle. “It took everything I had to try to maintain my weight, and I was still gaining. I was at the end of my rope, and I had no hope in any other diet or program,” remembers Ratliff. “I wasn’t sure if I was a candidate for weight loss surgery, but after getting online and reading the requirements, I was excited, as it seemed I was.”

Ratliff wasted no time in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Christopher Finnell, a bariatric surgeon at United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls, Texas. Dr. Finnell and his staff took the time to educate Ratliff on all the surgical choices, explained post-surgery expectations, and narrowed it down to the procedure that would best fit her individual needs. From that information and her own research, Ratliff evaluated her options and was enthusiastic about her decision to have the Lap Sleeve surgery. “There is only limited aftercare required, just regular checkups to weigh-in every 2 months for the first year, then only annual visits after that. There are no foreign objects left in your body, nothing rerouted, so food and nutrients pass along the same digestive tract, and no food restrictions because the opening to your stomach hasn’t changed. The only thing the sleeve does is limit your portion size. The more I learned, the more I became confident this was the best choice for me.” Ratliff exclaims, “I was counting down the days!”

On December 8, 2011, Ratliff went into surgery weighing 227 pounds. Six months and 64 pounds later, Ratliff feels great about her results thus far. “My biggest problem before surgery was joint pain. I played sports in high school and was very active. As I continued to gain weight, I found it hard to even get up and down, much less exercise. Six months after surgery, I can do anything! It’s the simple things such as crossing your legs or walking up and down stairs that I notice now. Having more energy and looking great in my clothes makes every day better,” Ratliff proudly states. “I feel fantastic! Better than I have ever felt. I still have about 10 pounds to be at my goal, but I tell people if I didn’t lose another pound, I am still completely happy.”

Ratliff is blessed with a caring family. Some of her biggest supporters are her husband, Brandon, 3-year-old daughter, Makiya, her mother, and grandmother. “As long as I had my family’s support, nothing else mattered,” she admitted. Ratliff and her grandmother continue to share a tradition of eating out together every Friday. “I can eat any type of food; I have just changed the amount I eat. Now, this is normal to me. I have absolutely no regrets, and would do it over every day if that’s what it took to stay at a healthy weight.”

Ratliff was very impressed with her experience and the attention given by the staff. “I am so thankful I choose United Regional,” she says. “I absolutely love Dr. Finnell and his staff; they have been fantastic through the whole process. Amber, Dr. Finnell’s nurse, was very helpful on preparing me for what to expect after surgery. Everyone provided their cell phone numbers, so that I could contact them at any time. After surgery, it felt like Dr. Finnell was with me constantly, way more than I expected. He made sure I was safe and comfortable before he released me from the hospital. The day after I came home, he even called to check on me and also provided his cell number if I had questions. It honestly showed me they really cared. I would recommend them to anyone considering weight loss surgery.” In fact, she has. Ratliff’s mother-in-law had the same surgery in May. Her father-in-law is following suit.

If you, like so many others, are struggling with weight issues of your own and are interested in more information about weight loss surgery, contact Dr. Finnell and his staff at United Regional Solutions Weight Loss Program at 940-764-7220, or visit them on the web at