Chad had a sleeve gastrectomy in November 2016 at NWWC.
What is the best part about this journey?
It was getting back to the normal active lifestyle that I had when I was younger. I used to do a lot of outdoors stuff like camping, fishing, hiking, and softball. For the 5 years before surgery, I couldn’t physically do any of those things. Sports was one of my biggest joys and I couldn’t do that. I was trapped in my own body.
My health had deteriorated so badly. I had to take medication on a daily basis for blood pressure. I was getting fatty liver. I had pre-diabetes. My kidneys weren’t functioning properly. I was a walking pharmacy. I had to go to doctor every 3 months for my blood tests. Now I’m on the once a year plan. All of that stuff is gone.
What has been the hardest part?
The hardest part for me was completely restructuring my life. My whole life revolved around food – family dinners, BBQs, going to the beach. I didn’t realize how much of my life was lived as a slave to food.
Like everyone says, it’s a tool, not a fix. You have to use the tool correctly. I can still gain weight so I really watch what I put in my body. My head still craves junk food and then, when I eat it, I feel horrible. It doesn’t satisfy me. I don’t eat out as often. When I do go out to eat with my wife, we split one plate or put half of our food in a box before we even start to eat. It was really difficult for me to re-learn portion sizes. I always bought the bulk stuff. I haven’t had a Costco card for 3 years now.
What goals did you set for yourself? Have you made progress towards those goals?
The first goal I made was that I wanted to be 175 pounds. I made it but I wasn’t comfortable doing what it took to stay at 175 pounds. Since then, I gained about 15 pounds and I’m really comfortable at my current weight. I lost 12 inches off my waist and my pant size hasn’t increased from my lowest weight.
I wanted to be able to hike at least 3 miles without having to rest. I did that and I can still do that.
I wanted to play softball again. I’ve played the past 2 years. I’ve done men’s league, co-ed league, and coached.
My other goal was to get off all of the medications I was taking. I’m so glad to not have to take medications all the time. I’m not a slave to that stuff. I didn’t want to be walking pharmacy.
I still want to jump out of an airplane. It’s on the bucket list.
What advice would you give those who want to pursue weight loss surgery?
I think it’s the best thing I ever did. I wish I wouldn’t have waited 10 years to do it. There was always something holding me back, usually money and fear of the surgery itself. Whatever’s holding you back, let it go. There’s a life out there waiting for you that’s beyond your imagination. I was cash pay. I sold all of my prize possessions – my car, my tools. I sold everything I had to pay for it. If I could have imagined how good I was going to feel, the opportunities that came my way just by being physically active and capable, I would have done it 10 years sooner.
You don’t even know what’s waiting for you. I’m a new man. I’m strong and happy, joyous and free. Whatever’s holding you back, it’s just not worth the life you could have. There’s nothing that compares with the freedom I have from being trapped in the overweight body.