Shelby Enjoys Life the Way She Wants After Weight-Loss Surgery

Gulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 9, Issue 1 - Baptist Health Care

Shelby riding a bike

Shelby Villatoro was vacationing in Seattle with her husband, Hugo, for their one year anniversary. This was their dream city that they looked forward to seeing and had planned the trip for months. Shelby’s body, however, could not keep up with her enthusiasm. Walking around Seattle’s hills and steep areas left her feeling tired and achy, with swollen joints.

Shelby was at her heaviest during this vacation at over 400 pounds. Instead of it being a happy, romantic trip, she felt defeated and discouraged.

“That was the turning point for me on that trip that I had so built up in my mind,” said Shelby. “Because there and then I could not physically do the things I wanted to do. When I returned to Pensacola from that vacation in January of 2017, I made an appointment with my primary care physician to ask for help with my weight concerns."

“That was the turning point for me on that trip that I had so built up in my mind,” said Shelby. “Because there and then I could not physically do the things I wanted to do. When I returned to Pensacola from that vacation in January of 2017, I made an appointment with my primary care physician to ask for help with my weight concerns.

“Dr. Schopmeyer worked with me on a diet plan to start my weight loss. I followed his food and fitness recommendations. I did lose weight, but I quickly realized that continuing this path would take a long time, and I wanted to feel relief sooner so I could enjoy my life.” 

Dr. Schopmeyer suggested that Shelby visit The Baptist Weight Loss Center to discuss if she would be a candidate for weight-loss surgery. She met with Patrick Gatmaitan*, M.D., bariatric surgeon, Ashton Wilkins, bariatric dietician, and their team to discuss the right path for her health. Shelby had her first appointment in July 2017 and has never looked back. She scheduled the bariatric surgery in January 2018.

Shelby spent the six months prior to surgery changing her mindset and letting go of her food addiction. She documented her journey online and created an Instagram page called “Subtracting Shelby” to share her experiences. She found her new online community very supportive and encouraging. 

“I told myself, ‘This is it. I’m doing it!’”

Shelby returned to work a week after surgery. Over time as she progressed through her post-surgery nutrition program, Shelby’s body adjusted, and she once again found her energy and determination. 

It’s been two years since her weight-loss surgery, and Shelby has lost more than 200 pounds and is still losing. She embraces a new, active lifestyle. Shelby and Hugo moved to Orlando in 2019, and they take advantage of the parks within walking distance near their work and home. 

Shelby still calls The Baptist Weight Loss Center with questions even though she is living in Orlando. She said the staff continues to support her even two years after her surgery. 

Shelby said she could never go back to her old ways or those size 28 pants she wore. She finally threw them out last September. The journey has not been easy, but the life she’s living now is worth it. 

"The excuses people tell themselves for not having weight-loss surgery cannot compare to how great you’ll feel afterwards, when you get your life back. I love how I live now and that I can do whatever I want. "



To read more about Shelby's weight-loss story please read Gulf Coast Healthy Living - Winter 2020 edition or visit eBaptistHealthCare.org/weightloss