WEBSTER, TX (KTRK) --"I was just always like a twig as a young person," said Julie Rabat-Torki as she sat in the waiting room of a bariatric surgeon at the Bay Area Regional Medical Center.
Yet, for the past 20 years she has struggled to lose weight, trying everything from trendy exercises to fad diets --even a Jamba Juice flush to get rid of the extra 50 pounds she attributes to stress, work, children and aging.
"I want to get healthy now and I want to stay healthy so I can be comfortable and not be in the hospital and sick all the time as an older person," said Rabat-Torki.
She knew she had to do something, but surgery wasn't the route she wanted to go.
"Honestly, I would never have considered doing a lap band or any of those that really are invasive-type procedures," she said.
Rabat-Torki found the non-surgical answer in the ReShape Gastric Balloon procedure and Cleak Lake-area doctor Rizwan Chaudhry.
"It's a built-in portion control system that tells you okay, you're full now," said Dr. Chaudhry.
The FDA approved procedure uses two balloons to fill-up a patient's stomach while they re-learn what it means to be satisfied. The dual balloon is removed six months later.
"It's a game changer and it really helps people who really need it to lose 20 to 40, maybe 50 pounds without having to worry about having to undergo a major operation," Chaudhry said.
Since her procedure in June, Rabat-Torki has lost 25 pounds and she's hoping to lose another 25 before the balloons come out in December. A total of 50 pounds lighter, she says that is motivation enough to keep it off with diet and exercise once the balloons are removed.
"In my mind, I've always felt like if I could just get there, I'll be able to keep it up," said Rabat-Torki.
More than just her waistline, the ReShape procedure has also had an impact on her cholesterol, dropping from the mid-200's down to 177 after the procedure.
The ReShape procedure, including check-ups with a surgeon and dietitian, costs between $7,000 and $8,000. Currently ReShape is not covered by insurance because it is a relatively new procedure. Insurance companies could cover the procedure in the future after they study more long term data and success rates.