Mary Voss Is Enjoying Life ‘More Than Ever’ After Success on the Medical Weight Loss Bundle 

At one point a few years ago, Mary Voss weighed well over 400 pounds. She feared her health would mean less quality time with her grown children and grandchildren. “I was afraid I was going to die,” she said. 

Her weight made it difficult to attend her kids’ school functions, buy clothes or even sit and enjoy a Nashville Predators hockey game. It also made it harder to work in her job as an LPN in Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She got out of breath just walking to the mailbox each day. 

And there were other challenges that were more intangible: “The way people looked at you was embarrassing,” she said. “Looking back, I can see that there was stigma.” 

The practical difficulties coupled with feelings of shame convinced Voss it was time to take control of her weight. When her physician told her to lose 30 pounds prior to a knee replacement, she lost 33. Then he challenged her: “If you can do that, how much more can you lose?”  

By July of 2022, through diet and exercise and under the guidance of her physician, she had shed 115 lbs. But she wasn’t satisfied.  

Over lunch one day, a VUMC coworker asked Voss why she frequently ate salad. “I’m still trying to lose weight,” Voss said. Then the coworker told her about medical weight loss through Vanderbilt’s MyWeightLossHealth Bundle. 

When Voss made an appointment to check her eligibility, patient navigator Karina Nelson answered her call. “Everybody needs a Karina; she was there every step of the way,” Voss said. Karina signed up Voss for the bundle and helped set up her appointments. She also gave Voss emotional support when her weight loss journey wasn’t progressing as quickly as she had hoped.  

“She was what I needed to help it all come together,” Voss said. “Vanderbilt has all the pieces to the puzzle—you get a nutritionist, doctors and nurses, and a patient navigator. Even though I’m a nurse, I didn’t have enough knowledge about weight loss. With Vanderbilt, I’m much more successful now than I was by myself.” 

Voss has lost an additional 100 pounds since she started the Medical Weight Loss Bundle and is now down to around 180. “It’s been a blessing, and truly life-changing,” she said. For the first time in 30 years, she’s running in 5Ks and other races. Her energy level is up, and she’s no longer taking blood pressure or heart medications. 

Working at her job is much easier, too. “I can jump up and run to help someone,” she said. “I don’t mind taking the stairs. I’m even parking in the back of the parking lot.” 

She’s also able to get down on the floor to play with her six-year-old grandson. 

The MyWeightLoss Bundle is offered to VUMC employees on the VUMC Health Plan at no out-of-pocket costs. Voss thinks offering the benefit says a lot about her employer: “They want you to be healthy, and they care enough about you to offer it for free. No other hospital that I know of offers anything like this.” 

Voss is confident that she will keep the weight off. “The things I learned I’m going to take with me.” She emphasized that she does not consider herself to be on a diet. “I eat regular food; it’s just that I learned portion control and the plate method. I think I failed in the past because I was on a ‘diet.’” 

Looking back on her transformation inspires Voss to be an example for others. “If I can help one person go from where I was to where I am now, I’ll be successful,” she said. “I enjoy life more than ever.” 

Learn more about Vanderbilt's MyWeightLossHealth Bundles on this webpage.

Since participating in Vanderbilt's Medical Weight Loss Bundle, Mary Voss is running in 5Ks and other races. Her energy level is up, and she’s no longer taking blood pressure or heart medications. (photo by Julia Dunagan)