Skip to main content

Health library

Back to health library

Success With Weight Loss Surgery

Les Hellewell's weight was causing serious health issues. But he made the decision to change and has lost 140 pounds with the help of lifestyle changes and weight loss surgery.

Les Hellewell, 58, knew the moment of truth had come when he and his brother were in Las Vegas to purchase some real estate. Walking around to view properties was difficult for Hellewell, and he was breathing very hard. His brother said, “Brother, I love you, but I’m afraid this property is going to make your wife’s second husband a rich man.” Hellewell realized that day that he was killing himself quickly.

Considered morbidly obese at 320 pounds with a BMI of 48, Hellewell had diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. He had been on a CPAP machine for sleep apnea for 12 years.

A Momentous Decision

“I knew that day in Las Vegas I had to get serious about losing weight, but I had already tried every program around—Weight Watchers, Atkins, Optifast, to name a few,” Hellewell says. “My doctor recommended I do some research on weight loss surgery—thankfully I found the ValleyCare program.”

“With all of my health issues, I hit a grand slam to meet the criteria for weight loss surgery,” he says. He attended the Introduction Class at ValleyCare four different times before deciding to proceed. “I needed to hear everything about it and picked up on something different each time I attended. I realized then I needed a complete lifestyle change.”

As part of the requirements of the program, Hellewell had to lose 14 pounds prior to surgery. He ended up losing 30 on the nutrition plan that Program Coordinator Valerie Simler, RD, had set up for him. After meeting with the surgeon and psychologist, his gastric bypass surgery was scheduled for November 2011.

Spread the good news!

Hellewell has lost 140 pounds since—and he feels terrific! “I’m a poster child for this surgery,” he says. “I’m completely medication-free. My cholesterol and blood pressure are normal, diabetes is gone and I don’t need the CPAP machine anymore. In fact I couldn’t use it because after the weight loss it was blowing too much air.”

A professed workaholic, today Hellewell still keeps a daily food log, walks an hour every day and rides a bike. As a visual reminder, he hasn’t replaced the huge belt he used to wear. “Each day I put it on and have to wrap it twice around me,” he says. “I get such a kick out of people who haven’t seen me in a while and walk right past not recognizing me.”

Hellewell still attends the support group meetings. He says he received inspiration from these meetings and feels he can also inspire others to have this surgery and make the necessary lifestyle changes. “This has been a journey of exploration for me—and I couldn’t have come this far without the fantastic support, education and expertise that ValleyCare offers,” he says. “Everything happened exactly as I was told it would. ValleyCare folks certainly know what they’re doing.”




ValleyCare’s Weight Loss Surgery Program has been accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. This designation is given to programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes. For more information, call 800-577-5030.
Related stories