Life Before My Weight Loss Surgery – Part 1

Dustin Hartman (before surgery)

By Dustin Hartman

My name is Dustin Hartman and I’m 28 years old. Dr. Edward Lin performed my gastric bypass surgery on December 1, 2009. Since my surgery, I have become (literally) half the man I used to be – I’m down 150 pounds from my top weight of 300.  Before gastric bypass surgery, I had several co-morbidities. Food was a comfort mechanism and brought real joy to my life, but at the expense of being physically unable to live the life I wanted. Now after the surgery and weight loss, I have no weight-related medical conditions and am so full of energy and life. My physical and emotional well-being has increased dramatically as I find happiness in activities other than eating.

My family history is fairly common; my entire family on both sides for several generations is morbidly obese. Growing up, I was proud that I was always the biggest kid in my class. I have several physical disabilities due to birth defects and as a result, I walk with a severe limp. Being the biggest kid during school was actually an advantage for me because the kids were afraid to pick on my disabilities since I was bigger than all of them. I weighed 225 pounds in the 9th grade. For me, my weight was never an issue – it was how I identified myself, and in some ways I was proud of being “the big kid.”

The way I felt about my weight slowly changed as I grew older. I became more aware of my physical limitations due to obesity: roller coasters were tight, people asked me why I was out of breath all the time, and I didn’t have any energy. When I was in my early twenties, I began having medical complications. I developed sleep apnea, which meant I had to wear a dreaded CPAP mask every night. Because weight loss surgery is such a serious decision, I tried more conventional weight loss methods, first. I did Weight Watchers, Atkins, low calorie diets, weight loss medication and even starvation diets. All of these diets worked while I was on them, but inevitably I would quit the diet and gain the weight back…usually more than what I started with.  After several years of yo-yo dieting, I decided I needed surgical intervention in order to manage my weight.


Next post: My weight loss surgery experience.


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