When the school bell rings at Neidig Elementary School in Quakertown, Megan Mecleary is filled with energy and ready to teach her class of knowledge-hungry third-graders. She credits her
newfound spirit to what she calls the best decision of her life: the choice to have weight-loss surgery.
“My confidence has boosted tremendously in both my work as a teacher and in my social life,” says Mecleary, 28, of Sellersville. “My clothes fit better, and when you look good, you feel good.”
It wasn’t always that way for Mecleary. From age 3 through her teenage years, she danced at Miss Cindy’s School of Dance in Quakertown, but “I always felt larger than the other girls,” she says. When she went to college, she became less active, and she started to gain weight.
“I tried diets, diet pills, Weight Watchers, went to a nutritionist,” Mecleary says. “Weight would come off for a time, then come back. It was a constant battle.” Mecleary’s mom first mentioned the idea of weight-loss surgery to her in 2018. “At first, I was against it,” she says. “I was determined to lose weight on my own.”
By May 2019, she had decided to start learning more about surgical options. So, she met with bariatric surgeon Michael Fishman, MD, with Grand View Health Weight Management, and she began the four-month pre-surgery process. But she eventually chose to postpone her surgery.
“I wasn’t mentally ready yet,” she says. “Those four months went by fast. I needed more time to understand what was going to happen to my body.”
She took that time to attend more Weight Loss Surgery Support Group meetings hosted by Grand View Health. Along the way, she built a small community of people she knew who had experienced weight-loss surgery success. Then, in January 2020, she returned to Dr. Fishman and restarted the process.
Her surgery was scheduled for April 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, on June 22, 2020, Dr. Fishman performed a procedure called vertical sleeve gastrectomy,
which reduces the size of the stomach to help with portion control and increases the body’s metabolism.
Before and after surgery, Mecleary bonded with Dr. Fishman and the Grand View Health weight-loss surgery team, including registered dietitian Marcie Amerstein and certified physician assistant Brittney Spears.
“I felt so comfortable with Marcie, and Brittney came to the hospital with Dr. Fishman to check in on me,” Mecleary says. “It felt like they already knew me, which is comforting when you’re making such a major life change.”
After surgery, Mecleary adapted quickly to a high-protein, low-carb diet. In a little more than a year, she’s lost 85 pounds. Today, she shares her story on her Instagram page (@vsg_with_meg), posting updates and recipes regularly. “I started my blog to help others the way they’ve helped me,” she says. “Blogging also keeps me accountable.”
Mecleary also pays her gift of weight loss forward by helping others. When a former co-worker chose to have weight-loss surgery, she mentored her through the process. “She had the procedure in March 2021 and is blogging now, too,” Mecleary says.
Her biggest lesson from her weight-loss journey: Rely on others. “My parents, my two best friends, my brother and sister and sister-in-law—they’ve all helped me,” she says. “I found a whole community of supporters out there in my personal life and on social media. It’s pretty inspiring.”