Newly-thin models strut their stuff at the "bariatric" fashion show



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 1:56 PM


KENS-TV's Wendy Rigby

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A special fashion show over the weekend in San Antonio featured models of a different sort. The people on the runway had radically changed their bodies, and their health, with the help of weight loss surgery.

Two of the models were a San Antonio couple, Joe and Stephanie Ramirez. They've shared many experiences in their 11-year marriage, including an obesity problem.

"I've always struggled with my weight," 32-year-old Joe Ramirez said. "Since I was young, I was overweight."

Stephanie Ramirez, 29, was so heavy, she worried about her own mortality. "Will I make it to 50 years old? Will I even get that far? By the time I was 28," this mother of three said, "I was already taking high blood pressure pills twice a day."

At her heaviest, Mrs. Ramirez weighed 286 pounds. A year-and-a-half after gastric bypass surgery, she's a svelte 155 pounds.

Her husband once topped 350 pounds. A year-and-a-half after his operation, he's looking fit at 195.

Mr. and Mrs. Ramirez had their surgeries at , 8811 Village Drive. Dr. Sonny Cavazos of the says it's a last resort procedure for people who have tried every other avenue and failed.

"You have to be at the point where you're willing to put aside your old habits, your old patterns, maybe things that people at work or your family are still doing," Cavazos explained, "and say ' I'm going to do something different.'"

"When other people in the community have seen the results of their friends or family or coworkers, they're more willing to go through with something that I think used to be a more high risk procedure," Cavazos said.

Joe and Stephanie Ramirez are thrilled with their new look and their renewed health. "Now I can just go to any store and just fit into something," Joe Ramirez bragged. "I don't have to go look for a big and tall store anymore."

"What a huge difference our life is now after our surgery," Stephanie Ramirez said.

Dr. Cavazos performs about ten bariatric procedures each week. He says if patients have the right attitude and the will to change, it's a procedure that can truly save lives.