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Mitchell County Couple Goes Through Successful Weight Loss Journey Together

Americus, GA | May 16, 2024 – For Pelham couple Modest and Mia Bell, maintaining a healthy weight was always a challenge.  “It’s been a lifelong struggle,” Modest, an accountant, said.

His wife, a registered nurse, agreed.  “I couldn’t walk 200 feet without giving out of breath,” Mia said, recalling life at her heaviest weight of nearly 400 pounds.

Almost three years ago, they embarked on a weight loss journey together at Phoebe Bariatrics, Phoebe Putney Health System’s surgical weight loss program headquartered at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus.

“It has been a phenomenal, life-changing event for us,” Mia said.

Mia had her surgery in November 2021, and Modest underwent his procedure the following month.  He has dropped from 320 pounds to 205, and she is now down to a healthy 178 pounds.

“When I started this, I had hypertension, sleep apnea and back pain.  Now, I feel great.  I don’t use the c-pap machine (for sleep apnea), and I don’t take any blood pressure medicine,” Mia said.

Dr. Jeremy Joyner, the bariatric surgeon who performed the couple’s weight loss procedures says that type of outcome is common for his patients.  He credits the comprehensive services and team approach Phoebe Bariatrics provides.

“It’s not just about the surgery.  Our team includes nurses, dietitians and mental health professionals, and we spend a lot of time with our patients before and after their surgery to ensure their long-term success,” Dr. Joyner said.

Use of drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy – initially approved to treat diabetes, but now commonly prescribed for weight loss – has exploded in the last few years.  But Dr. Joyner says those drugs aren’t for everyone, and bariatric surgery has many advantages.

“Long-term use of those medications is often necessary to maintain weight loss, which can be costly and lead to side effects that may be serious.  Bariatric surgery is safe and effective.  It’s often more effective for people who need to lose a lot of weight, and we generally see significant improvement in other health problems with our patients,” he said.

The Bells say the Phoebe Bariatrics team provided them a level of care, compassion and support that helped them succeed.

“I have never ever seen the kind of support that this office gives,” Mia said.  “Dr. Joyner saved my life.  I tell anybody that wants to talk to me about this, ‘if you want it done right, this is where you want to go.’”

“It’s really a one-stop shop for weight loss.  Everything you need is under one roof,” Modest said.  “The whole staff is so friendly and engaging, and Dr. Joyner spends as much time with you as you want each time you see him.

Going through the same experiences at the same time also helped the couple reach their goals.

“It really made a difference to go through it together.  We take care of each other.  Just having someone help you out and encourage you helped us a lot,” Modest said.

“I can cheer him on, and he can cheer me on.  He says, ‘get your behind up and exercise,’ and I’m the one that says, ‘we need to eat like this.’  I handle the nutrition part and he’s the coach,” Mia said.

Modest and Mia are thrilled that they’ve been able to keep the weight off and enjoy much-improved health.  They’re also glad they can now enjoy some simple pleasures that once seemed like distant dreams.

“I had never been able to put on a bathrobe in a hotel, but when we went to San Destin and they had a nice robe in our room, I put it on and modeled it,” Mia said with a smile.  “Sitting on a plane and being able to have extra room in the seat has been just the most exciting thing.  Being able to go to a regular store to buy clothes without having to go to the plus size – it’s a life-changer.”

And that life-changing experience started with one simple meeting.  Phoebe Bariatrics holds regular online seminars for people interested in learning more about their services.  You can sign up for a seminar at or by calling 229-931-7144.