HEY! Who is this lady bold enough to have her picture professionally taken for Christmas presents, while sporting a sassy black hat, a power-red designer outfit, and beautiful jewelry? I haven’t known her for a long time, in fact, I just met her a couple of months ago. It’s me, Debbie Van De Riet, and I’m so happy to be the lady in the picture!

I say I just met her a couple of months ago because that is when I marked my 100 lb weight loss. That was when something happened that would never have occurred without the fabulous Dr. Wittgrove, his incredible staff, and Gastric Bypass Surgery. I am here to tell you that I have NO complaints and NO regrets whatsoever!


I am sure that you’ve heard about the surgery via this website, the newspapers, magazines, friends and/or family. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories also. My story is all about the positive side of the surgery. I sailed right through the surgery and the recovery with only one issue. Let me first tell you about that “one issue” and then we will get to the awesome part of this experience.

During my second month post-surgery, I became dehydrated and had to be hospitalized for 24 hours to get hydrated again. I knew for about a week that I was getting in trouble and was in constant communication with Dr. Wittgrove’s office during that time. On Friday, we all agreed that a hospital visit was required to get hydrated again and stay there. TIP: Don’t let yourself get dehydrate. Finding veins isn’t fun when they are collapsed.

I don’t know why some people have problems and others don’t. I do know that I followed Dr. Wittgrove’s eating plan to the letter. When his plan said to eat vegetables, I ate them. When he said not to eat beef for six months, I didn’t. I also took my vitamins religiously.

Sure I threw up a few times, but I learned that the first two bites of every meal would set the tone for the rest of it. I also complied with follow-up requirements, which included checking in with him every three months during the first year. It’s simple. I did what I was told to do…..quite successfully.

I didn’t come into this surgery easily. A good friend of mine, and her daughter, had this surgery and were doing awesome, but I was a faithful Weight Watcher girl. Thinking back on it, I was an Atkins girl, a Jenny Craig girl, a Slim Fast girl, and even an Optifast girl.

In 2003 I made a major life change and moved from Seattle to San Diego. Now, there was no reason whatsoever for me to consider this drastic surgery. I had every intention of joining Weight Watchers again and walking every day! I don’t need to tell you that none of that happened! Needless to say, I was devastated. I was very heavy and gaining. It was time to face reality.

It was then I saw a commercial with Carne Wilson and realized I lived within 30 minutes of her physician, Dr. Wittgrove. I immediately called his office and scheduled me into his next informational seminar. From that moment on, I was absolutely committed to, and at peace about, having the surgery.

On April 20, 2004, Dr Wittgrove gave me the tool that would allow me six months later to meet myself: Gastric By-Pass Surgery. I didn’t go into the surgery with any preconceived ideas about changing my life. I just wanted to change my weight.

I had been very successful in life, in relationships, and in business, but could never get a grip on my weight. On the day of surgery, I weighed 284, was a solid 3X (size 20-22), and ready for a change.


I don’t have a lot of “before” pictures, simply because I would almost never allow my photo to be taken. I knew I was attractive. I knew I was successful. I didn’t need to look any further than from my neck up to feel good about myself. I never ever looked at me in a full-length mirror or window. I even refused to look at my shadow! I accepted myself the way I saw me…..only from the neck up.

I’m a forward-looking person and as such there is no need to talk about who I was at this weight. I did, however, include a bit about what made me successful and who I am today. Thanks for letting me share. I really liked the lady in the picture to the left but I love the lady below that I got to meet a couple of months ago.