Bariatric Gastric Bypass Surgery Success Story – Lyonel Weld

Type of Surgery: Gastric Bypass

Highlight: this roller coaster enthusiast can now ride roller coasters again!

Lyonel Weld has struggled with weight all of his life. When he was 26, the California, Pennsylvania native weighed 540 pounds. He was able to lose 340 pounds over a three year time period, but unfortunately he gradually gained it back until one day he was nearly 500 pounds again.


“I was just miserable, absolutely miserable.”

Despite his best efforts to exercise and eat right, Weld could not lose the weight. He made the decision to seek medical help after watching his co-worker enroll in the Bariatrics program at WVU Medicine.

“I had a lot of friends who did it. There was a lady at work who had it done at Ruby and she had great success and looked great. I asked her about it and she gave me the number and told me to go in for a consultation.”

A few months later, Weld attended a WVU Medicine Bariatrics information session to learn more and decide whether this procedure was right for him. After attending a six month pre-surgery education program, Weld says both he and the team felt that he was ready to move forward.

“I felt comfortable with them and with going through the process. They went over all the risks and walked us through how it’s done. They showed us what the body looks like inside both before and after the surgery is done.”

Now, Weld says he does his best to continue exercising often and eating well balanced meals. He says through his support group, he has learned about healthy eating, how to keep the weight off, how to handle holidays, and more.

“I love the support group because it keeps me on track. A lot of places don’t have that kind of support. You get the surgery and they’re done. Some friends I know had it done elsewhere and didn’t get any help. Now, they ask me questions.”

That said, Weld says gastric bypass is not for everyone and it’s also not without complication. He himself has had a few complications.

“I would really say, I don’t think it’s for everybody. Food is an addiction just like anything else. If you aren’t ready to give it up, it’s not worth doing it because I don’t think it will work. Really think about it and think about your life and what you want to do with your life.”

For Weld, this surgery has been life changing. As a school teacher to a group of energetic sixth graders, he says that now, he can finally keep up with them. In fact, he says he seems to have even more energy than them.

“I work four flights up in a building. My knees and back were killing me. Now, I go up and down those stairs 20-30 times a day. I can walk now without feeling like I’m dying. I used to sweat and pant and now I can do it without losing my breath.”

Outside of work, Weld says he’s now able to partake in his favorite activities again, such as riding roller coasters. The roller coaster enthusiast says it’s something he was unable to do when he was overweight, so now, he’s making up for lost time. Just last year, he rode 68 new coasters that he had never been on before. His goal is to ride no less than 50 roller coasters a year.