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?

Chad running on the beach in Hawaii. “I could have never done that before surgery.”

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.

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