Dr. Lloyd Stegemann and his team at The Better Weigh Center offer state-of-the-art weight-loss surgery options to take Corpus Christi from fat to fit.
By: Sarah Tindall
Photos By: Dustin Ashcraft
Dr. Lloyd Stegemann spends every day improving the health and quality of life for folks in Corpus Christi.
Stegemann owns and operates The Better Weigh Center, a medical and surgical weight-loss center at 5826 Esplanade Drive, Ste. 102, on the city’s south side.
Corpus Christi and the surrounding areas have been hit especially hard by the obesity epidemic that has swept the United States over the last 20 years. In fact, in 2010, Corpus Christi earned the dubious title of America’s Fattest City. Stegemann hopes to change that and eventually lead Corpus Christi to America’s Fittest City list. According to Stegemann, the problem with obesity isn’t cosmetic.
“We know carrying extra weight leads to a host of serious medical problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many types of cancer,” he says. “The good news is when people lose weight, even a small amount, many of these health problems improve.” Stegemann says he is also concerned about the negative impact carrying extra weight has on an individual’s quality of life. “It just makes it harder to do the things that bring joy to our life.”
Stegemann, a board-certified general surgeon, has focused his practice exclusively on weight-loss surgery since the very beginning. He practiced in San Antonio for several years and gained a national reputation for his technical skills and the passionate care he delivers to his patients.
A Texas native and a graduate of Carroll High School, Stegemann returned to Corpus Christi to open The Better Weigh Center in 2011. “It was great to come home, but I quickly realized I had seriously underestimated how profound the weight problems were in our city,” he says. “I was also surprised at how limited the treatment options were for people who were serious about losing weight.”
The Better Weigh Center initially focused on surgical weight loss, but now has expanded into medical weight loss to give patients more options and to fill a void in the community. “We now offer medical and surgical weight-loss plans, so we can help people lose five pounds or 100 pounds,” Stegemann explains.
He does this by offering a range of options personalized for every patient who walks through the doors. “The first step we take with patients is to find out what they want,” he says. “What are their weight-loss goals? Once I know what they are trying to achieve, I can create a plan for them to help them achieve those goals. It’s about meeting the patient where they are at in their weight-loss journey.”
Using the latest in weight-loss science, Stegemann and his team create a plan for the patient that addresses the main causes of weight gain: eating behaviors, food choice, exercise, sleep, stress management, medications and hunger control.
“Weight loss is certainly related to calories in and calories out, but there is much more to it than that,” he says. “We try to create a plan for each patient that will work for them for the long haul – a life change instead of a temporary solution. We offer several different plans for patients, but every one of them is based in science. We don’t offer any of the unproven, gimmicky types of weight-loss things like HCG, fat-burning shots and nonsense like that. Patients can choose to do as much or as little as they want within our program. If they only want to meet with the nutritionist, fine. If they only want to do metabolic testing, fine. It really is up to them to decide how involved they want to get in the programs we offer.”
Most patients who visit The Better Weigh Center already know if they are interested in weight-loss surgery or if they would rather go the medical route, but some still aren’t sure which is right for them. “That’s what’s great about doing both,” Stegemann says. “We can give people the information they need to help them make that decision.”
For those who choose the surgical route, Stegemann offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric band surgeries, as well as revisional surgeries. He has performed more than 1,500 weight-loss operations and is a nationally recognized leader in the field.
“I’m really excited about bringing state-of-the-art weight-loss surgery options to Corpus Christi so that people no longer have to leave the city to get their care,” he says. “In most cases, we can perform the surgery in Corpus Christi, which makes it much more convenient than traveling to San Antonio, Victoria or other locations.”
And according to Stegemann, having your surgeon immediately available to you can also make the difference between life and death in many circumstances. “Luckily, severe complications are uncommon, but it should be reassuring to know that if they do occur, your surgeon and you live in the same city.”
Stegemann adds that it also makes a big difference in how patients do long-term. “We have several studies that show the further you are away from your center, the less likely you are to follow-up, which can make it harder to keep your weight off over time.”
Regardless of whether patients choose to pursue medical weight loss or surgical weight loss, The Better Weigh Center takes a team approach. “We know that if we don’t address all of the issues that lead to weight gain, it will be difficult for people to maintain any weight they are able to lose,” Stegemann says. This is true of both surgical patients and medical patients. He continues, “Much of what we do early on is to get people out of a ‘diet mentality’ and more into a ‘healthy living mentality.’”
Clients at The Better Weigh Center have the opportunity to work not only with the medical team, but also with nutritionists, exercise personnel and behavioral health specialists to lay the groundwork for creating sustained change.
“Certainly we have to look at what people eat, but it is just as important for them to understand why they are eating and why they are choosing the foods they choose,” Stegemann says. “We have to look at what people enjoy eating and see how we can work than into a healthy eating plan. We also have to get people more active and look for ways to increase activity in their daily lives. At different stages of weight loss, each team member takes center stage as their area of expertise becomes most important at that moment in the journey.”
And the benefits of weight loss are nothing short of miraculous. “I think the best part of my job is that I not only get to see my patients get healthier, I also get to see them blossom as individuals as they shed the baggage of extra weight,” Stegemann says. “I sometimes think I’m an anti-doctor; I get to take people off medicines instead of putting them on more.”
Stegemann is committed to making his hometown a better place by serving his patients and volunteering for the community at large. He served as chair of the Nueces County Medical Society Health Fair this year, and he has sponsored numerous health-related events. “We want to help our friends and neighbors get control of their weight so they can enjoy all that life has to offer,” Stegemann says. Now that’s a Better Weigh.
For more information about The Better Weigh Center, visit www.betterweighcenter.com or call 361-500-2898 to schedule your consultation.