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Thursday, March 9, 2023

Woman Takes Control of Her Health and Changes Her Life Through Weight Loss Journey

Posted By: Advancing Care

Even as a child, Noris Soriano struggled with her weight.

“I was always a little chubby,” recalled Soriano, now 36. “I tried so many things: diets, meal prep. None of them worked.”

She had twice before scheduled bariatric surgery for weight loss, only to cancel at the last minute. “I just wasn’t ready.” At one point, Soriano weighed more than 275 pounds.

In early 2021, a family member close to Soriano died of a stroke. Soriano said the loss gave her a new perspective on her health and the extra incentive she needed to lose weight.

Dr. Ashutosh Kaul led the team at Westchester Medical Center
Dr. Ashutosh Kaul led the Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery team at Westchester Medical Center.

“There were others in my family who died of strokes. I thought ‘this could happen to me.’ I got scared, so I said, ‘I am going to do this for me. You must do it for yourself, not when others want you to.’”

Soriano researched many weight-loss surgery programs and chose the program at Westchester Medical Center.

Despite Soriano’s eagerness to lose weight, the bariatric surgery team did not rush her into surgery. Rather, the team – led by Ashutosh Kaul, MD, Section Chief of Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Westchester Medical Center - encouraged Soriano – as it does for all the program’s bariatric surgery candidates - to lose weight on her own for six months before scheduling weight loss surgery.  

“They wanted me to ... prove my commitment to the program,” explained Soriano.

Soriano was linked to the program’s certified dietitians and other program specialists who devised a weight reduction plan tailored to Soriano specifically.

Soriano described the team as “strict” during this part of the process, but it was all worthwhile as the weight loss strategy worked like a charm. In those six months, Soriano shed 30 pounds.

“Then, I was ready,” she said.

Soriano’s weight loss surgery – sleeve gastrectomy – was performed at Westchester Medical Center April 30, 2021. Since then, she has lost an added 115 pounds. Moreover, because she stuck to program guidelines, Soriano has not had a single negative side effect from the surgery.   

Her current weight: 132 pounds.

Noris Soriano: Before and After
Soriano before her weight loss (L) A more recent photo of Soriano (R)

Soriano said that in addition to the surgery, her work with a program dietitian has been invaluable and she has learned to manage her weight by changing her eating habits.

“I pay more attention to sugar and calories. I read the labels more. I used to love chips and other salty snacks. Now I try to substitute things. Cut back on carbs, sugar and bread and I’ve added more veggies,” she said.

”For so many years, I had to go to the plus size stores. Now I can go to any store I want. Before I couldn’t enjoy sports, but now I can do all those things I always wanted,” Soriano happily shared.

What advice does Soriano have for others considering surgery?

“Do it for yourself, be positive, and trust yourself.”

Westchester Medical Center offers bariatric surgical services, aftercare and post-operative counseling and nutritional planning. Individuals considering weight loss surgery can send an email to WMC_Bariatric@WMCHealth.org for more information.