Stephanie’s Testimonial

For 45 years, Stephanie’s weight held her back — but now she’s celebrating as her wins take center stage. Wins like seeing the scale in the 100s for the first time in years and earning gold in her first pickleball tournament!

Benefits of weight loss surgery

  • Normalized Blood Pressure
  • Normalized Blood Cholesterol
  • Type II Diabetes Disappears
  • Asthma Relief
  • Lowered Risk of Heart Disease
  • And More.

To learn more about the benefits of weight loss surgery, click here or call 770-629-0700.

Contact Us

Play Video

Celebrating the wins.

Stephanie Clower was tired of feeling self-conscious, tired of the gnawing frustrations and doubts that had been part of her life for almost 50 years.

She was tired of fad diets and aesthetic medical procedures – none of which had ever really worked for long.

And so she decided to do something different about her weight issues, something that offered lasting success. It was then she discovered Dr. Robert Richard and Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management.

It was a discovery that led to a life changing decision and the realization of a lifelong goal – something so emphatic and positive that she’s writing a book about the experience.

“I had been overweight my entire life, since I was 7,” Stephanie said. “Even though I was athletic – I played tennis in college on scholarship – I was still overweight. And I felt incomplete. So, last year, I moved into a new over 55 community in Hoschton, and I decided to do something for myself, something that would help me to lose weight and keep it off for good.”


While doing online research about surgical weight loss solutions, Stephanie happened across a video of Dr. Richard discussing his practice and goals in helping those patients in need of weight loss and was so intrigued that she booked an appointment at the Center for Weight Management.

“The disease obesity is a very dangerous medical problem that tends to decrease life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, so it’s something that requires treatment,” Dr. Richard said. “(Obesity) affects their entire life, how they interact with their kids, how they interact with their co-workers. It affects their health; it affects almost every aspect of their health. So, when we make a change in a patient’s weight, we are able to make a change in their entire life.”

It was an approach that made an immediate connection.

“I felt perfect with him and at his clinic,” Stephanie said of Dr. Richard. “After meeting with him I put my full trust in him, and he helped me select gastric bypass surgery.”

This was not a decision arrived at casually, as Stephanie fit a number of criteria that must be present in order to become a viable candidate for surgical weight loss.

Stephanie's transformation“I had done EVERY diet I could find; I mean every diet. I did Weight Watchers, Nutri-System, the Richard Simmons diet; I had even had liposuction and gotten a tummy tuck. And none of it had any lasting effect,” said Stephanie, who prior to surgery weighed 215 pounds and has since lost more than 60 pounds. “I had also dealt with some health issues due to my weight, including depression.”

Surgical weight loss – known as bariatric surgery – is performed to help patients overcome morbid obesity, a potentially life-threatening disease. Patients who suffer from this condition are at a higher risk of developing more serious health concerns, including pulmonary disease, cancer and stroke, and this aggressive approach to weight loss can help the patient to avoid these outcomes or reverse the trends that are leading toward these outcomes.

As effective as weight loss surgeries may be, true success is obtained when the patient determines to follow through on post-surgery procedures and makes a commitment to real life change. Bariatric surgery is no shortcut to health says Dr. Richard, and the Center for Weight Management does its best to ensure this ultimate success by screening patients for both their psychological and physical traits, while also providing the most supportive atmosphere possible to ensure lifelong health.

That is why Stephanie’s mental approach to a bariatric procedure was and remains a crucial factor in her weight loss.

Dr. Richard performed a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure known as a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RNY) on Stephanie in October 2020 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. During this surgery, Dr. Richard surgically divided a golf ball-sized part of her stomach before removing the remainder. Stephanie’s now-smaller stomach severely restricts the amount of food she can eat, which makes her feel full much sooner than with her previous, regular-sized stomach. The procedure also changed her gut hormones, which also help her to feel full for longer.

This type of approach requires the patient to stay on top of their diet, however, as going off a very strict plan may make the patient feel ill. A steady supply of supplements are also necessary, as the stomach is not digesting large amounts of food with which to supply the body with all of the necessary nutrients.

“Protein is my number one thing now, getting the right protein and making sure it’s something you enjoy. And you eat so very little, it’s an easy habit to maintain. Supplements are also not a problem; I know what I have to do, and I make sure I get it done,” Stephanie said. “I haven’t had any real issues. Frankly, it’s been pretty easy for me, and I think a lot of that is because my mindset was, ‘I’m going to do this.’ I was 150 percent in from the beginning. This is my life, and I’m going to make the most of it.”


Less than a year after the procedure it is clear that Stephanie has done just that, as she has lost more than 60 pounds over the first six months.

“It has been the decision of my life. I’ve never had so much energy. I feel great! And I keep meeting goals. First it was to get down to 165 pounds, but I blew through that, so I keep setting new goals,” said Stephanie, who has become far more active now than in recent years.

“Thanks to the surgery, I’m an avid pickleball player now. I play five-six times a week, and I won a gold medal in the first tournament I ever played in. I would never have been able to do that a year ago. I swim a lot too,” Stephanie said. “A dear friend even told me, ‘That’s enough; you’re getting too skinny,’ and that’s never been in my mind that I would ever hear that.”

Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery

Learn More

Colleagues and the students she encounters during her job as a high school IT specialist have also noticed the changes.

“Everybody has been so supportive and helpful. And that makes you feel good; that affirmation keeps you going,” said Stephanie, whose experiences prompted her to put all of her thoughts down on paper – a pursuit which led to the idea for a book that she is currently writing.

You can be certain that within that book will be notes on the help and continued support of the team at the Center for Weight Management. Designed to specifically provide a constant and valued resource for its patients, Stephanie has appreciated their support every step of the way.

“Dr. Richard and his team have been incredible. He’s the kindest most compassionate man, and he’s been so positive,” she said. “He’s changed my life, and you can’t say that about many people.”

“Our job as bariatric surgeons isn’t to cure the disease but to help these patients manage it long term and to understand that we’re not to judge them but to get through this long term,” Dr. Richard added.

Already in the midst of her own storybook experience, Stephanie’s commitment, combined with the Center for Weight Management’s expertise and help, seems destined to provide what previously seem an ending only dreamt of or laid out in fairytales.

“For these patients to feel so downtrodden and like they had no control for so long, some of them feel so empowered now, and that’s really great to see,” Dr. Richard said.

No surgery is without risks. To learn of all the potential risks with weight loss surgery, click here.

More Patient Stories

The decision to have weight loss surgery is more than just a quick fix – it’s a lifelong journey. But for many who make the decision to change their lives, the long-term effects mean more than just a smaller number on the scale. We invite you to explore just a few of the many tremendous stories we witness each day.

Read More

Contact Us

Our specialized bariatric care team is here to answer your questions and help you achieve your weight loss goals.


Get Started

Locations We Serve

Longstreet Clinic Center for Weight Management has three convenient locations across Northeast Georgia plus telehealth options making appointments available across the U.S.