When Alecia Patranella’s weight approached the 300-pound mark, even routine activities left her breathless and in discomfort. A simple trip to the dentist, requiring a climb up a flight of stairs, would fill her with anxiety. Her knees and back were in constant pain, and she struggled with depression.
Her husband, Jason, was grappling with his own battle against obesity, weighed down at 245 pounds. The couple, both 44 years old, had made numerous attempts with various diets, spent thousands on personal trainers and fitness classes, but long-term success remained elusive.
Their turning point arrived in 2022, during a visit to an Astros baseball game in Houston, Texas, one of their favorite pastimes. Alecia’s experience in a stadium bathroom stall shook her to the core, an incident she described as “humiliating.” She recalls the moment vividly, saying, “When I walked out of there, I just knew I could not keep doing what I was doing. Something had to change.”
On the drive back home to Huntsville, Texas, she started researching weight-loss surgery, and upon returning, she revealed her decision to her husband. To her surprise, Jason promptly decided to join her in undergoing the surgery, stating, “I knew we needed something. We needed a swift kick in the behind, I guess you could say.”
A year after both Alecia and Jason Patranella underwent sleeve gastrectomy procedures performed by a bariatric surgeon at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center in Texas, the couple collectively shed an astonishing 190 pounds.
In November, Alecia celebrated a personal milestone, weighing less than her husband for the first time in 17 years.
Their Journey and a New Perspective on Weight Loss
The Patranellas’ weight struggles began in 2005, shortly after their marriage, when Alecia remained undiagnosed with an underactive thyroid and PCOS for a year, resulting in a 50-pound weight gain. She also faced depression and infertility before conceiving their son, now 11.
The pregnancy proved challenging, with gestational diabetes, which led Jason to become a “sympathy eater,” indulging in foods Alecia couldn’t consume, and he typically didn’t enjoy. It was a period marked by unhealthy food choices, fast food, sugary drinks, and minimal cooking at home.
Alecia’s emotional eating habits exacerbated her condition, with bingeing on chips or cookies serving as a coping mechanism. By the time she encountered difficulties fitting into the bathroom stall at the baseball game, she weighed 294 pounds, standing at 5 feet 7 inches.
Jason, an inch taller, weighed 245 pounds, and he grappled with high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and prediabetes. His triglycerides and cholesterol levels were alarmingly high.
Alecia Patranella underwent weight-loss surgery in September 2022, with Jason following suit two months later to ensure that one of them could always lift their 3-year-old daughter, a requirement due to post-operative lifting restrictions.
The sleeve gastrectomy procedure removed approximately 80% of their stomachs, reducing their food intake capacity, curbing hunger, and increasing the sensation of fullness, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
A year later, Alecia lost nearly 120 pounds, and Jason shed about 70 pounds, bringing both their weights to approximately 175 pounds. Alecia was particularly thrilled to weigh less than her husband, a milestone she had not achieved since their wedding.
Jason no longer needed medications to manage his blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Both credit their smaller stomachs for changing their perspective on food, making them prioritize nutritious, body-nourishing options, focusing on a high-protein, low-carb diet, and engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking or running three miles most days of the week.
While they still dine out, their choices have shifted towards healthier options like grilled chicken and salads, often sharing meals. Alecia’s goal is to lose an additional 20 pounds, and she uses a scale measuring body fat to track her progress, which she documents on Instagram.
The couple emphasizes the significance of undertaking this weight-loss journey together, considering it a vital factor in their success. “I never could have done it without her. She has been my inspiration and driving force,” Jason says. They view their journey as a family effort, aspiring to set an example for their children regarding a healthy relationship with food, fitness, and exercise.