I can't remember a time when I wasn't heavy. I started out as a chubby kid before becoming an overweight 20 something. By 34 years old I weighed 431 lbs and at 6 feet tall, it had finally gotten completely out of control. Walking long distances made me tired, I was unable to run with my kids for their sports and the aches and pains made me feel old. At Disney World I suffered the embarrassment of not being able to fit in any of the fun rides and had to take the long walks, alone, back to the beginning of the line. Shopping for clothes was painful as my size 56 waist pants and 6 XL shirts could only be found at Big and Tall. Little kids at my son’s daycare, in all their honesty, would tell him their Dad was fat and I know that it made him sad.
In 2008 my Doctor that I had developed Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure, and the chances of being around for my newborn twin girl’s high-school prom or walking them down the aisle at their weddings was virtually non-existent, I decided to make a change.
I went to Tufts and met with Dr. Kim and Danielle DeMarco in 2013 and after having all of my questions answered I chose to have the gastric sleeve surgery. I was nervous for the surgery and the lifestyle changes that it was cause but the realization that my weight was shortening my life and how unfair that was to my children and my wife, I knew it was my best option.
By my surgery date of February 24th, 2014, I had lost 44 lbs and weighed in at 387 lbs. The surgery went great and I was home in 3 days resting and getting used to my new eating habits and lifestyle. I began to take neighborhood walks when I felt up to it and I began to yearn for more vigorous workouts. After my six week check-up I was cleared to begin more intensive workouts and began to get very serious about exercise. I had always enjoyed lifting weights but my weight had taken control and I tired so easily I never stuck with a program for long. With my wife to motivate me, we began to go to the gym 6-7 days a week. Mixing daily cardio workouts with weight training and weekend body pump and TRX classes I began to see real change in my body. The sleeve surgery was the best tool to help me reset my eating habits and gain control back in my life.
By that summer I had lost over 100 lbs since the surgery and my pants size had gone from a 56 waist to a 44. My shirts that were 6 XL were now replaced with 2XL. I had new confidence in my body and I had never been happier.
As I write this in May of 2015, 15 months since the surgery I weigh 215 lbs and am very close to my overall goal of 195 lbs. My pants size is now a 36 and my shirts are a large. I can buy clothes off of the racks at any store! If you had told me ten years ago that I would someday weigh under 200 lbs I would have thought you were crazy. But, that is my goal and that is where I will be soon!
Every aspect of my life is different now. I can fit on any ride at Disney World, I don't have to ask for a seatbelt extender on the airplane. People talk to my wife and I at the gym about fitness, diet and nutrition advice. Compliments from co-workers, people around town and my family help keep me motivated when it gets difficult. My wife and I have forged another bond through our journey together and this process has made us even closer. I lean on her for support when needed and she motivates me to keep pushing at the gym when I want to be lazy. Having gone through this with her has been a wonderful experience.
I honestly can't thank Tufts, Dr Kim, Danielle DeMarco and Katie Saunders enough for all of their help. All of the staff has been very supportive throughout the process and by simply following their guidelines, committing to the mindful and healthy eating process, as well as working out often, I have a completely new lease on life and I know that not only will I be walking my girls down the wedding aisle someday, I will be taking my grandchildren to the zoo and hoping they can keep up.