How I Lost Half My Body Weight

Weight loss surgery, exercise, and determination helped a WebMD user shape up.

From the WebMD Archives

Four years ago I was 54 years old and weighed 404 pounds. Being overweight was something that sort of crept up on me. In my early 20s, I wasn’t fat -- I played softball and soccer with pickup teams and rode my bicycle.

Then I got married, had kids, and started a career. I was traveling, building my career, and overeating, over-drinking, not sleeping enough, and not taking care of myself. I didn’t exercise because I felt too heavy to do it, and those destructive cycles just took over.

I was so big that I couldn’t fit in theater seats, and I couldn’t attend sporting events. I was deathly afraid of asking for a seatbelt extender on an airplane, or going to a restaurant and getting stuck sitting at a booth. My cholesterol was high.

One Saturday, I talked to my business partner about how we needed to take better care of ourselves. We were both out of shape and overweight -- and I realized this was the 20th weekend in a row we were saying this. I thought to myself, "You either mean it or you don’t. Which is it?"

I had tried to lose weight for about 20 years. My sister had suggested gastric bypass, and I had a cousin who had the surgery. So I researched the different kinds of surgeries, met with a doctor at a weight-loss center, and everything just fell into place.

I had gastric bypass surgery on Oct. 4, 2010, a procedure called Roux-en-Y, where the doctor cut the top part of my stomach to make a small pouch and rerouted part of my small intestine.

I couldn’t eat like I did before. If I ate too fast or 1 ounce too much, I would throw up. I looked at gastric bypass as a tool that allowed me to eat to fuel my body and not for pleasure. I couldn’t eat six Big Macs anymore -- nor did I want to. Instead, I ate a lot of little meals throughout the day, focusing on the vitamins, minerals, and protein my body needed.

Continued

Six months after the surgery I began training for a 5K. At first I couldn’t even run 30 seconds. But I kept doing more every day.

One year after the surgery, I had lost half my weight. Today I weigh 202 pounds, and I run 5Ks just for the fun of it. It seems like there’s nothing I can’t do at 58. When you pay that much attention to working out and eating right, your body just does amazing things.

William’s Wisdom

"Ask yourself: When does the rest of your life begin? The only answer is right now."

"Losing weight is not rocket science. Just eat less than you did yesterday and exercise more than you did yesterday, and you’ll go in the right direction. You can fine-tune it as you go."

"Weight-loss surgery doesn’t do the work for you. It’s just a tool. It doesn’t make you get out of bed and work out. You have to take control."

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of "WebMD Magazine."

WebMD Magazine - Feature Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on October 10, 2014

Sources

SOURCES:

William Streetman, WebMD community member.

Obesity Action Coalition website: "Bariatric Surgery."

Mayo Clinic website: "Guide to types of weight loss surgery."

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