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Not long ago, Scott Smith weighed 328 pounds and was told by his primary care physician that his health and well-being was at risk.
Fast forward several months: the 50-year-old businessman, husband and father of three is now a healthy weight-loss inspiration.
Scott attributes his 145-pound weight loss — and overall health transformation — to a heart-to-heart discussion with his doctor.
“My doctor told me that even though I did not have any obesity-related health issues at that time, by weighing 328 pounds I was at high risk for diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and heart problems,” he says.
Though he listened to and trusted his doctor, Scott was still skeptical that he would experience any of these health problems in the foreseeable future.
To Scott’s disbelief, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea just a few months later and required a CPAP machine for treatment. He was also soon placed on medication for high blood pressure and began suffering from increased knee and joint pain, making it tough for him to walk.
“Wearing a CPAP, taking two medicines daily for my blood pressure and not being able to walk my dog was suddenly a loud wake-up call to me,” says Scott. “I realized that my doctor’s warnings had become reality and knew I was susceptible to even more health problems, as well as a shorter life, if I didn’t lose weight.”
After numerous unsuccessful attempts to achieve long-lasting weight loss, and advice from his doctor to learn more about weight loss surgery, Scott underwent a sleeve gastrectomy in October 2017 with Dr. Daniel Jones in the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“Weight loss surgery was the one of the best decisions I ever made, I have no regrets,” Scott says.
While screening for surgery, Scott began working with a bariatric dietitian to change the way he ate: he began eating more protein, vegetables and fruit, and drinking at least 68 ounces of water each day. The changes led to a 45-pound weight loss even before his procedure.
“I would just eat any time, when watching TV … I’d snack between meals, get fast food a lot … that was all part of my routine before surgery,” Scott explains. “But working with a dietitian to establish a personalized eating plan first really helped me to prepare for surgery. We included foods that I liked and fit my lifestyle.”
Despite his limited mobility, Scott also began exercising for 15 minutes twice a day, slowly increasing to 45 minutes a day, six times a week after having surgery.
By changing the direction of his life and losing weight, Scott is now celebrating his amazing success. He enjoys daily walks with his dog again, and has run two 5K races so far in 2018. And, he reveals that he can even fit into his teenage son’s clothes.
Ducking from mirrors, hiding from having his picture taken, decreased self-esteem and using airplane extension belts are now in his past. So is the high blood pressure medication, CPAP and back and joint pain.
“I have so much more energy now that I’m not hauling around an extra 145 pounds,” Scott says. “The fringe benefits of weight loss are incredible: I get to enjoy more activities with my wife and children, I like shopping for clothes, I can move around well again. Those are only a few of the blessings for which I am very grateful.
“I can’t say enough about my weight loss journey,” he adds. “It is a process. But along with my wife and family, Dr. Jones and the entire staff at BIDMC have been very supportive. I always tell people that ‘the journey of a thousand steps begins with one.’”
Scott’s Tips for Weight Loss Surgery Success
Go to all of your appointments, stay with the program and you’ll have a very supportive team around you.
Take advantage of the surgery screening period: start the pre-op diet to get in the right mindset for success.
Start exercising slowly, even before surgery: just a few minutes per day and gradually increase over time.
Understand the limits of what you can eat after surgery: with a smaller stomach, your body will tell you what and how much you can eat to be satisfied. Don’t test those limits.
Take the program seriously: it’s a process, it’s a marathon — not a sprint.
Photos courtesy of Scott Smith. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.