About me, Reeger Cortell, FNP-C

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Hello and Welcome!

I am thrilled you’re here. I imagine you found your way to this page because you listened to my podcast. I really hope you like what you hear, after all, I created the podcast for you!

I launched this podcast in June of 2013 because I felt there was more to talk about when it comes to bariatric surgery. Even though I have been working in bariatric surgery since 2007, I had questions and I knew you had questions too. So, what better way to ask questions and get answers (or at least opinions) than to launch a podcast?!

This podcast exists to tell the stories of obesity and bariatric surgery one episode at a time.

My work, the podcast, and this website are:
1) Dedicated to YOU, on your bariatric surgery journey, in all your glory; your honesty; your vulnerability; your amazing, incredible, regular ol’ humanness
2) Driven by evidence-based, bariatric surgery-focused education
3) Here to support, motivate, and encourage you
4) My way of relating my unwavering belief in you
5) My creative way of saying you are brave, strong, and incredible, and I know that life can be messy, confusing, and challenging, but far from impossible and in the end we all get what we put into it, so let’s put a lot!

What this website and the Weight Loss Surgery Podcast are not:
Replacement for any version of your medical care. There are rules and regs about this sort-of thing. I value and respect you. I also value and respect my FNP license. You deserve and need a licensed medical provider who meets you in person, physically examines you, diagnoses any health-related issues you may be having, and prescribes a treatment. This website and the podcast are NOT those things. If you need more lawyerly clarification on how serious I am about this issue I refer you to the disclaimer at the end of my podcast or my disclaimer page.

Again, I am SO glad you are here. I hope you keep coming back and stay in even closer contact by signing up for my email list (currently located on my home page).

In Peace and with Connection, 


Reeger Cortell, FNP-C


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Connie Stapleton August 28, 2013 at 3:31 am

Reeger –

I am so glad I had the chance to meet you. I have listened to all of your podcasts and have learned a great deal – in spite of having worked in the weight loss surgery community for a decade! Thank you for sharing medical information in a way lay people can understand it. And thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your passion for people and for life through your work!



reeger August 28, 2013 at 3:50 am


Thank you so much for your feedback. It means a great deal to me. Really. And thank you for your work. We share very similar passions for this amazing group of (WLS) people. I, like you, am inspired by them every day.



Suzie Farthing September 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm

You are doing a fabulous job inspiring and educating bariatric patients and clinicians with your Weight Loss Surgery podcast! Keep up the good work!
Plus, it is so nice to be acquainted with another nurse podcaster. May our numbers continue to increase!


reeger September 25, 2013 at 3:01 am


Thank you for your kind words and the same right back at you! I have really enjoyed meeting everyone in the podcasting community but most especially you, a fellow podcasting nurse.



Jacqui Walton December 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

Dearest Reeger
I have only recently found your podcast. I am 1 year and 8 months post Roux-en-y gastric bypass. I am at that place where I have started to put on a little weight and it is so easy to let all the things I should be doing slide.
Thankyou so much for this podcast. It is inspiring and motivating and thought provoking.
The tools and information that you share are invaluable – will continue to listen to your podcasts from now on and will not hesitate to recommend it to fellow patients who have shared this saame journey with me here in Sunny South Africa.
Much thanks and appreciation


reeger December 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Dear Jacqui,
You are so very welcome! Life after weight loss surgery can be challenging in ways many people did not anticipate before surgery. Luckily, it also rewarding in more ways than a person can count. Is it easy? Heck no! But that which is worthwhile is rarely attained easily. It take daily commitment, dedication, and determination. As Cari De La Cruz, from A Post-Op & A Doc, says, “Every day when I put my feet on the ground I make a commitment to my health.”

Keep doing your part, surround yourself with supportive and loving people, and never forget that you deserve to be healthy and happy!

In peace and with connection,


Emily February 11, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Hello Reeger,

I have just found your podcasts and find then extremely informative! I have a few questions for you. First, a little backstory on my self. I was banded in December 2008. I was a self pay patient here in Tampa Florida. I began my journey at 264. Initially I feel like I received lots of support from my doctor and his team for the first year. However after that it was more like they would get me in the office for a quick fill. Over the first. 3 years I list 83 pounds. The last 40 were due to lots of PBing and eating around the band. I thin had an unfill and gained 25 pounds before be Becoming pregnant. I managed to maintain my weight throughout the pregnancy and only gained 10 pounds. After the birth of my daughter I was inexplicably right to the point I couldn’t drink water so I had another unfill and gained 26 more pounds. Since then I have been trying to get on track but I feel like I lack the support from my doctor. What I am trying to do is get educated and weed through the diet and exersise myths and use my lap bad as the tool it really is.

I have a few questions. During your 2nd podcast about the lap band you talk about how to determine if some one needs a fill. One thing you talk about is eating whole foods. What are some examples of whole foods, what should be the average portion size if a meal, and should one eat snacks or just 3 meals a day? Also, you talk about exersise. There are so many options for exersise. In your opinion what is the best mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching? What is the optimal about of time for each, the optimal amount of days a week and the intensity I should be working out to achieve weightless.

I would appreciate your feedback if possible.

Thank you


reeger February 12, 2014 at 5:55 am

Hi Emily,

I am very glad you find the podcast helpful, that is my intention! And congratulations on having a daughter. I have two of them myself : )
As far as your questions, as I am sure you understand, I cannot advise you specifically as I am not your medical provider. I strongly encourage you to return to your Lapband provider with specific questions in-hand as to what you are struggling with and what questions you seek answers for. I know when patients bring in questions for me, that they have taken the time to write down, I always take the time to answer them.

To your question about “whole foods,” thank you for asking for clarification. I mean healthy, whole foods that did not require a lot of science to create them. Their main ingredient list is sun, water, and dirt, grains that are fed to them, or creatures they eat in their watery homes. These are food that are not very processed. They are foods that are close to how nature intended them when they grew from the earth, or fell from a tree, or grazed in a field, or swam in a body of water: Whole vegetables, fruits, meats (including birds and eggs), and fish. These are foods one buys from the outer circle of the grocery store, follow the periphery, do not go down isle, and for the most part one will be choosing “whole foods.” Whole foods are healthier, have more nutrients, more fiber, and more vitamins, and other good stuff our bodies need. And in a properly adjusted band they provide more satisfaction at the time of the meal and between meals.

As far as portion sizes: this is a hard question to answer in any one person. If you have access to a dietician they can better answer this for you in particular. There is the general literature that recommends 1/2 cup to 1 cup per meal for people with a band. But that does not consider how dense the foods are: 1 cup of salad is not a lot of food but one cup of cheesy lasagna is very dense. For my patients I usually prefer they eat lower fat proteins (fats cut off and cooked without frying) and salads or vegetables.

Some of my patents eat 3 meals a day, some eat 4-5 smaller meals more often. If depends on each individuals needs and physical hunger levels.

Regarding exercise: What do you like or what can you at least “get out of you own way” to do most days a week for at least 30 min, ideally 60min? There is no magic, “do this, not that” kind of exercise recipe. The best exercise for any anyone is the one they will do and ultimately enjoy enough over time that they feel better when they do the activity than when they do not. For many people who do not have a history of regular movement, aka exercise, they often need to bite the bullet and just have faith that if they keep at it, one day they will get to the point of KNOWING they enjoy how they feel when they move their bodies more than how they feel when they do not move. Have you listened to my interview with LapBandGal? Episode 7. She would be the first person to tell you that she was not someone who enjoyed exercising. At first. But she worked up to it and now sees how critical it is for her. Check out her blog at http://lapbandgalsjourney.blogspot.com. You might want to look at her post from 12/3/2009. 😉

Also, in general I hope you have listened to my interview with Dr John Dixon. We talked a lot about the band. I think (I hope) you find that conversation helpful.

I hope this helps. Keep listening, because I will keep posting shows about every 2 weeks.

In peace and with connection,

PS Don’t forget to sign up for my WLSPodcast newsletter. It is on the side bar to the right ;0)


Emily March 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Thank you Reeger for responding back to my post. I love the advice. I have discovered the power of whole foods and lots of protein. It has taken a lot of learning to disregard low fat and fat free processed foods. I am not counting calories but concentrating on nourishing my body and listening for huger queues and also listening to my band. I have to say that protein, vegetables, and fruit in there whole form has kept me more full then any pre packaged frozen low calorie meal. Since my last post I have dove head first into learning about ingredients in our food, what to avoid and how to prepare whole foods. I have lost 5 pounds and feel great with out feeling deprived.

It is still a struggle with exercise. It’s very hard to find a good time of day and something I would enjoy enough to make part of my daily life. I am now researching different methods that would work for me. I will keep you updated as I feel that consistent exercise is my missing link. Please continue to do your podcasts they are highly motivational and informative. Without them I don’t think I would have ever done as much research on nutrition as I have and probably would have still been sitting here eating something highly processed feeling hungry and miserable!


reeger March 31, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Dearest Emily,
You are whole-heartedly welcome. I am so happy for you! And thrilled I may have had the honor of playing a small part. Regarding the exercise, keep trying to find a form of movement that feels right. It is out there. The important thing is to keep trying, and even re-trying things. Our bodies were built to move and the more you do, the better you will feel, the more you will do. I promise!



reeger April 1, 2014 at 2:53 am

PS: Did you know that I created a podcast episode based on your questions and questions I got from another listener? It is episode 19 Titled: Your Questions Answered. If you have not heard, take a listen and let me know what you think! :)


Brandi June 16, 2014 at 9:58 am

I really appreciate your podcast Reeger!! I also appreciate your kind and tender heart for folks.

I wanted to say I also appreciated your talking about lab stuff. I have a ferritin puzzle that even the hematologist I went kind of just shrugs and says “meh, its not causing problems” and that kind of makes my hair stand up on my neck (hemoglobin and hematocrit are fine, ferritin is crazy low). Nobody ever even pulled my ferritin until I asked.

Anyway, I find it encouraging that you watch trends. I have compiled my labs for the last 5 years and watch trends and try and tweak to make better, because I too think its better to tweak, than have to dig myself out of a ditch!

Anyway, I thank you for all the episodes I have heard so far, but wanted to specifically comment on the information about the labs.

Thank you for your time and your kind heart!!


reeger June 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Dear Brandi,

You are very welcome! I created this podcast for you, for all the reasons you stated.

Stay proactive with your labs! Stay educated. A persons ability to absorb certain vitamins after WLS is not the same as before WLS. The extent of change in absorption varies depending upon the type of WLS. For example, a person with LapBand has complete anatomical ability to absorb vitamins. Whereas a person with biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch has very altered ability to absorb certain vitamins. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy fall somewhere in between.

Anatomy aside, in general all people after WLS should take bariatric formulated vitamins for no other reason than they are on a very calorie restricted diet and need additional vitamins to compensate. If a medical provider is not trained in care after WLS then they might not appreciate the difference of the person in front of them who has had WLS compared to another person who has not had WLS. In these cases, the person with WLS may need to educate the provider on their surgery and their after care. As always, start with the practice where you had surgery. They are your best resource and ally.



Carolyn Slaughter April 14, 2016 at 9:23 pm

Dear Reeger,
I am in the early stages of preparing for my gastric bypass surgery-getting all the clearance from the doctors. I came across your podcasts and find them very helpful as I am nervous and scared, yet excited. I sit and listen while at work and it sure passes the time so Thank You for that !

Keep them coming!
Carolyn in Chicago!


reeger April 17, 2016 at 8:21 pm

Hi Carolyn, I am so glad you found the podcast and find it to be helpful. That is always my hope with each and every episode! And I am honored I am able to keep you company while at work : ) Kindly, Reeger


John August 2, 2016 at 4:38 am


I live in Canada, I was wondering what your thoughts were on Weight loss surgery in mexico ?

Thank you for your time


reeger September 11, 2016 at 3:57 am

Hi John, This is tricky. There are very qualified surgeons all over the world, including Mexico. However, I worry about the long-term follow-up. If a person has a plan for who will follow them and their insurance will cover that care then Mexico could potentially be a good fit for someone. Do your research as much as possible and talk with your home-based medical care team to be sure they will follow along with you once you return home. Kindly, Reeger


Oneway September 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm


Thanks for all you do! I count on you to give the most up to date, data backed information out there. I had a VSG Sept. 2. I have listened to most of your podcast. Your latest with Dr. Medlin was very timely. I would love to hear information on teaming with my general practitioner after post op. How often should I see her, what type of blood work should she be doing etc. Thank you for all you do for US.



reeger September 19, 2016 at 3:55 am

Hi Kelley, Thanks for reaching out and I am glad you are enjoying and learning from the podcast. Thanks for your suggestion on a future episode. In general the guidelines recommend post-op, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, then at least annually after that for life. As far as what labs to check I refer you to my episode called Clinical Practice Guidelines way back in episode 10. These CPGs are still current as of 2016. Hope this helps and take care! Reeger


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