Meet Laura Van Tuyl, Member of the Board of Directors of the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America

Laura Van Tuyl, has not only been a member of the WLSFA board of directors for the past eight years, she is also a member of the executive committee. However, many in the WLS community know her more as the lead planner of the annual WLSFA Bariatric Conference and Stomp Out Obesity efforts.

Volunteering is in Laura’s DNA. In fact, Laura’s husband, Larry, describes her as a “Professional Volunteer.” He would know. Larry and Laura spent 30+ years deeply involved in Christian ministry and training of church leaders, working side-by-side all around the world, including a span living in Russia.

Together the Van Tuyl’s have 2 adult children and 12 grandkids! They live in the Pacific Northwest, where Laura is active in the WLSFA local chapter and local WLS support group activities. A world traveler, when she gets an opportunity to escape, she is up to travel … Hawaii or Asia are her favorites.

Laura’s WLS Facts and Data

WLS Procedure: RNY
Age when you had WLS: 53
Where you had the procedure: Pacific Bariatrics in San Diego (under Kaiser oversight)
Your doctor: Dr. Tannaka
The date of your procedure: April 4, 2003
HW 352
SW 351
CW 186
Favorite NSV Participating in 5k and 10k events and being able to get down (and up)
on the floor after sitting with grandkids.

Let us learn more about Laura as we interview her about her weight loss journey.


QUESTION: What was your primary motivation and/or your thoughts that led you to WLS?

LAURA: I wanted to live to see my grandkids graduate from high school and get married.

QUESTION: What has been your favorite part of your WLS journey?

LAURA: Living life rather than being an observer. I always felt like I was watching others live life — the live I would never be able to participate in. I was not obese growing up. I began gaining weight after my first pregnancy. I graduated from high school at 110 lbs.

QUESTION: What was your least favorite – or hardest – part of the journey?

LAURA: Being self-accountable at times. Building healthy habits that form the foundation for long term healthy living can be a struggle at times.

QUESTION: What advice do you have for pre-ops?

LAURA: Set your mind to stay the course of the journey. Begin setting down a foundation of good habits before wls. Don’t let yourself look at WLS as the “end” of the journey of struggle – view it as the beginning of the journey with lots of learning and application of healthy principles in place. The journey is ongoing.

QUESTION: What advice do you have for newbies?

LAURA: Don’t ask yourself or others … when can I add such and such a food item to your menu. It reveals a “diet” attitude. Ask — what do I need to be successful and work that plan. Rejoice in your NSVs. Set MBS goals … 5K, going on a trip, buying a certain clothes item, etc.

QUESTION: How has WLS changed your life?

LAURA: It has given the ability to live life and it has put a smile on my face as I have conquered things that have held me back. I feel comfortable in crowds.

QUESTION: Have you experienced any regain? How do you deal with regain?

LAURA: Yep. Staying away from evil processed carbs, helps keeps me in check. Easy to say, harder to live.

QUESTION: What are your favorite foods – before WLS and after?

LAURA: I was a big time bread eater before. Now, I just stay away from it. It helped me to understand my love of bread. It brought back hidden good memories of having garlic bread with my sister almost daily after a day of high school. Eating garlic bread and lots of talk and laughing. When I realized that, my love of bread actually came from my love of those happy moments it helped me gain control over the “call of bread”. Lol

QUESTION: What are your favorite exercises – before WLS and after?

LAURA: – Walking


Laura’s Role with the WLSFA

I have been on the board for 8+ years. I attended the very first “official” WLSFA meet and greet in Las Vegas. I was immediately intrigued and impressed with the vision of Antonia Namnath, CEO and founder, to raise funds to save lives. I have been involved in most of the different aspects of the WLSFA through the years. For the past several years, I have been the event planner for conferences as well as the Stomp Out Obesity virtual 5K.

Share your thoughts on Laura’s Journey and her work with the WLSFA by leaving a comment in the “Comment” box below.

Laura can be reached at


In Other News:

Register now for the 2019 WLSFA Annual Bariatric Conference: May 17 – 19 in Orlando, Florida. For information and to register go to


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5 Comments, RSS

  • Clarissa White

    says on:
    February 5, 2019 at 11:34 am

    My name is Clarissa White and I really need help I need to have weight loss surgery cuz I feel like that’s the only way that my life is going to be prolonged I have no insurance but I need to have the surgery can you help me with some Avenues to take this is making me very depressed and there’s times I have Suicidal Thoughts

    • Laura Van Tuyl

      says on:
      February 5, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      Please contact and share your story with her. She is our CEO

  • Bill Streetman

    says on:
    February 5, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Laura is my WLSFA mentor and guide. Daily I benefit from her wisdom and patience. Few get to see the large number of hours she gives to the cause of the WLSFA. Trust me on this; she gives a lot. On behalf of a grateful WLS Community – Thank You Laura for all you do!

    • Laura Van Tuyl

      says on:
      February 5, 2019 at 10:10 pm

      You are very gracious Bill. I appreciate the opportunity to labor along side you in the mission of the WLSFA. We both have amazing spouses that stand firmly with us as well.

  • Renee Juckem

    says on:
    February 5, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Laura- The few times that I’ve met you, you have been such an inspiration to me. You have welcomed me to the WLFSA family with open arms. Your drive and passion in sharing your journey has become evident. The determination you have in continuing your healthy new lifestyle is a strong suit for you and I commend you for that! Thank you for the guidance and look forward to seeing you in FL!

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