For the millions of Americans who diet, stop dieting and then promise to diet again, the constant struggle to lose weight and keep it off can be exhausting, not to mention discouraging. Fortunately, there are success stories that you can learn from to help make this time the one that leads to a successful weight loss and a healthier, happier lifestyle. Joe is one of the most successful patient stories to come out of the Emory Bariatric Center.
You can learn more about Joe’s weight loss journey in this online chat transcript. He joined Dr. Singh, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, for an online chat where they shared weight loss tips and best practices and answered your questions live!
When I was in high school, I was a competitive swimmer. Once I got into college, I became a long distance runner, and I even ran a few marathons. I weighed 141 pounds, and was proud of the fact that my waist size and my inseam were the same (30 inches). Once I got into graduate school, I didn’t exercise as much, but I stayed in good shape. I think I weighed about 150 when I finished graduate school.
Unfortunately, when I got out into the world of work, my job involved a lot of travel and a lot of fast food meals on the go. Unfortunately, I quit exercising, and let my eating habits continue to get worse. Not long after we moved to Atlanta, my weight had ballooned to 420 pounds. My waist had grown to 66 inches!
Realizing things had gotten dangerously bad with my health, I tried all sorts of things. I tried swimming to lose weight, which worked well for a while, but without changing my diet, my weight loss slowed down and plateaued. I tried increasing the intensity of my swimming, but all that accomplished was hurting my shoulder, which ended my swimming for a long time. I tried the Atkins diet, which led to some weight loss, but the gout and kidney stones I got while on the diet let me know that a high protein, low carb diet is not a healthy long term approach. I tried walking twice a day — our dogs really liked that — but pain in my leg forced me to cut back on my walking.
The pain in my leg kept getting worse, which lead to visits to multiple doctors. I finally ended up at an orthopedist, who explained that degenerative arthritis in my hip and lower spine can cause pains in my thigh and lower leg. It turns out that the damage was caused by forcing my bones to support too much weight for far too long. He told me that there were three things I could do to help get better: lose weight, lose weight and then lose some more weight.
It occurred to me that I had been going about losing weight the wrong way all along. I realized that I had spent more than thirty years working as an IT consultant because I was really good at helping other people solve problems using computer technology. We didn’t expect people in finance, accounting and telecommunications to know their own area of expertise and also know how to use computers to solve their problems. My living depended on other people being willing to hire my special expertise in solving problems. Why not rely on people who are experts at helping people lose weight?
My wife had been telling me about the Emory medical weight loss program for years, which is the Emory Bariatric Center’s customized non-surgical weight loss and weight management program, called Your Weigh. I finally decided to check the program out, reading about it on the web, taking the online seminar about the program and decided to go for it. I spoke with my employer about re-arranging my work schedule to attend the Friday sessions, and began the program in October of 2012. When I started the program, I weighed 377.6 pounds, was developing Type 2 diabetes, had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Since being in the program, I’ve lost more than110 pounds so far with 80 more pounds to my goal weight, my A1C has gone from 6.4 to 5.4 and my total cholesterol has dropped from 258 to 176. More important than the weight I’ve lost so far — not to mention the related health improvements — I’ve gained friends, support, and the knowledge and tools to help me stay healthy for the rest of my life.