Neil's Story - Gastric Sleeve

Gastric Sleeve Patient Story
Neil's Story - Before and After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Neil's Story - Before and After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery: Sleeve Gastrectomy - Age 39, Total Lost: 240 pounds lost so far*

*Weight loss results can vary depending on the individual. There is no guarantee of specific results. Read disclaimer | More patient stories

"This has been biggest change I have ever experienced, and it has impacted every aspect of my life." —Neil

I spent 30 years being fat. My struggle with obesity began as a child and continued into my adult life, and before this last year I had no idea what it was like to NOT be obese. Over the years I attempted to lose weight, but exercise programs were too painful to sustain for long and diets never paid off quickly or significantly enough to keep me motivated. I always went back to my unhealthy habits, my weight slowly but steadily increasing as time went by. I started to have more obesity related health issues, and my quality of life was declining. Finally, I accepted that I had a real problem that I couldn't solve on my own. If I did not make a significant change, I was going to eat myself to death.

But even after this realization, and knowing about surgical options available for weight loss, I hesitated because I was afraid. It wasn't so much the surgery I feared, but that after surgery I wouldn't be able to enjoy my life anymore. Let's be real, as a fat guy, I loved to eat! I really enjoyed that stuffed feeling after a big meal, so I made every meal a big meal! I was afraid of irreversibly modifying my anatomy in such a way that it would be impossible to enjoy eating, afraid that I would spend every day of the rest of my life feeling hungry but unable to ever feel full or satisfied. To a healthy person, this probably sounds irrational, but that's the point - I wasn't healthy.

I never did overcome that fear. It was love and concern for another that finally motivated me to seek help. Three years ago my wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As we came to understand that her uncertain prognosis would likely worsen over time, it became imperative that I do anything within my power to be healthy so I could support and care for her. So I called UCLA COMET for help. The COMET staff are tremendous. They guided me through every step with encouragement, education and empathy for the massive change bariatric surgery has on one's life. This has been biggest change I have ever experienced, and it has impacted every aspect of my life. Sure, there were difficult moments, but as time passed I realized NOTHING about the experience was actually as difficult as I had imagined.

And what of my fear that I would be hungry for the rest of my life? I was dead wrong. Rather than being hungry all the time, I now feel as full after a few bites as I used to after a huge meal - honestly, cross my heart! What's more, the changes to my eating habits haven't felt like restrictions. Rather, the things I now crave are nutritious, high protein foods (important for the post-surgery diet), not high fat, sugar and salt like before.

When I called COMET, I weighed 450lbs, with a BMI close to 50. I am now 18 months' post-surgery, I've lost a total of 240lbs, bringing my BMI down to 23, and my weight has been stable for the past 2-3 months. Think about that - after decades of unhealthy habits and bad choices, with a little help from COMET and some moderate effort on my part, I now have the opportunity to live a life I couldn't have imagined before I started this journey. If reading my story resonates with you but you're afraid or can't find the right motivation to seek help with obesity, I urge you to contact UCLA COMET. It isn't easy, but it's so much easier than I imagined and the time is going to pass anyway. You might as well be doing something good for yourself along the way.

Neil Before
Neil After

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