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  • Ronda Latterell

Ronda Latterell

200-pound weight loss: A journey in self-discovery

  • Ronda Latterell’s nearly 200-pound weight loss was a process over four years. During that time, Ronda explored low-calorie food plans, surgery and diagnosed with certain food allergies.
  • Today, Rhonda continues her work as a first-grade teacher and spends her days with her students, her husband and exploring new adventures in Florida and taking risks – like zip lining or power parachuting.
  • Ronda began to explore weight loss options with her doctor after she was working out two hours a day, four to six days a week and barely eating anything. Yet, the scale wouldn’t budge.
  • Ronda has settled in between 125 and 130 pounds but she is quick to point out that each person is different and needs to come to terms in his/her own mind with what their weight should be.
  • Ronda emphasizes that establishing routines and planning ahead are strategies that have worked well for her. Her biggest piece of advice: “Trust and believe in yourself. You’re the only one who can make the commitment to get healthy and be your best self.” height=

Ronda Latterell would be the first to tell you her 200-pound weight loss wasn’t just about shedding pounds, it was truly a journey of discovering herself and about how her body works.

The vivacious 5’ 4" 49-year-old first-grade teacher now spends her days with her students and her husband, exploring new adventures in Florida and taking risks – like zip lining or power parachuting.

But it wasn’t always this way.

She began to gain weight in her 20s and had years of failed weight loss plans, yoyo-ing up and down 30 pounds on the scale. She topped out over 300 pounds – 320 to be exact. It was August 2012, she was working out two hours a day four to six days a week and barely eating anything. The scale wouldn’t budge.

Questions filled her head. "Why me?" "What am I doing wrong?" "Is this the way my body is supposed to be?" "What more can I do?" "Where do I go next?"

Enter Cathy Matuska, MD. She had been Ronda’s doctor for some time and saw the struggle with elevated triglycerides and anxiety Ronda was experiencing. Both were also concerned about the potential for diabetes and high blood pressure. She encouraged Ronda to check out the seminar the CentraCare Bariatric (now Weight Management) Center offered.

"My rock"

Kristin Ewing, RD, and manager of CentraCare Weight Management, was Ronda’s primary contact at the clinic. She helped Ronda navigate the choices available to her – both a low calorie/high protein food plan and surgery options.

When Ronda had hit the brick wall, not knowing where to turn, it was Kristin who stepped in and help tumble down a few of those bricks.

"She was my rock, helping to map out a plan for me," Ronda noted. "She listened closely and kindly made suggestions for changes."

Initially, Ronda went through a battery of testing which helped uncover her vitamin A and D deficiencies and food allergies to gluten, eggs and fish. She dropped 30 pounds over nine months on a closely monitored low-calorie food plan.

Choosing a surgical option

After consultation with Kristin and a bariatric surgeon, Ronda underwent a duodenal switch surgery in June 2013. The surgeon created a sleeve pouch between her stomach and her intestines which resulted in short common channel that results in less food processing through the small intestine.

Her personal goal was to get under 200 pounds while her doctor wanted her to get down to 145-150 pounds. By August 2014, she was down to 140 pounds and continuing to lose weight, dropping to 118.

Something still wasn’t right. Her persistent "gut issues" continued – diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain.

She was avoiding gluten but didn’t completely wipe it from her diet. In 2015, further testing clarified that she had celiac disease and she now sticks to a strict no-gluten diet.

Trust in yourself

Ronda has settled in between 125 and 130 pounds but she is quick to point out that each person is different and needs to come to terms in his/her own mind with what their weight should be. "Numbers are just a guide," she said. "Stop letting others – your friends, family, the media – tell you what it means to be healthy."

She emphasizes that establishing routines and planning ahead are strategies that have worked well for her. Her biggest piece of advice: "Trust and believe in yourself. You’re the only one who can make the commitment to get healthy and be your best self."

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