Back in the Saddle After 107-Pound Weight Loss

Julia Huber grew up on a horse farm and started riding as a toddler. “My lifelong dream was to train horses,” she says.

But 10 years ago, Huber had to stop riding. “I just got too heavy,” says Huber, who had become a “comfort eater” over the years. “I’d eat to feel better, then I’d feel guilty,” she says. “It was a vicious cycle.”

When Huber’s weight surpassed 250 pounds, she began researching different weight-loss surgery programs. Her primary care provider, Ashley Lehman, CRNP, with TriValley Primary Care – Western Bucks, recommended she see weight-loss surgeon Michael Fishman, MD, with Grand View Health Weight Management.

For Huber, who also lives with Crohn’s disease and psoriatic arthritis, Dr. Fishman recommended a type of weight-loss surgery called sleeve gastrectomy. It reduces the size of the stomach and decreases the amount of a hormone (ghrelin) that causes hunger. “He told me that surgery would help me eat to live, and not live to eat,” says Huber, 39, of Quakertown. “That was huge for me.”

Huber spent the next six months preparing for surgery by losing weight on her own, attending pre-surgery classes and consulting with a behavioral health professional, all of which is required in Grand View Health’s program. “It takes commitment, and it’s worth it,” she says.

She had the surgery in August 2019. One year later, she’s 107 pounds lighter, and she’s lowered her cholesterol level to normal. “Before the surgery, Dr. Fishman said he’d be happy to see me at 150 pounds, and I’ve made it,” she says. Her energy levels have soared, and her Crohn’s disease and psoriatic arthritis symptoms have lessened.

After recovering from surgery, she started exercising by cleaning stalls at a barn. Then she began riding again, and now owns two horses. She even performed a follow-up visit with Dr. Fishman on horseback by using the Grand View Health patient portal on her smartphone!

“I’m having the best time of my life,” she says. “It’s like I’m 18 again, but even better, because I have my husband and our three boys by my side.”