John Reis never imagined that in just over a year he would be almost 150 pounds lighter. At 332 pounds, he realized that his weight was affecting all areas of his life. John came to the Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in May 2007 to undergo life-changing weight loss surgery. Now at 185 pounds, he is living his life to the fullest and accomplishing goals he never thought possible.
Being Held Back
"I wanted to live a more productive lifestyle and my weight was holding me back," says John. "I couldn’t move around the way I wanted to. Just getting up in the morning and going to work was a chore. Before going to a restaurant, I would have to look to see if there were tables because I knew I wasn't going to fit into a booth. This was not a very pleasant experience."
The excess weight was also having negative effects on John’s self esteem."Interacting with other people was becoming more difficult," says John. "I was starting to shut down as an individual. Even at my highest weight, I was still personable on the outside but I was dying inside. I knew it was time to make a change."
Taking Control of His Life
John’s father is one of the main reasons he decided to look into weight loss surgery. After his dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, John decided he needed to make an appointment and take control of his life.
"I knew that I wanted to be around for a long time and the choice was mine. Unlike my dad, I had the power to make these changes so I called for a consultation at the Center for Weight Loss Surgery. I would highly recommend the program at Newton-Wellesley to anyone faced with obesity. The staff are truly incredible people and they care about their patients and the work they do. They gave me my life back!"
John says the program at Newton-Wellesley prepared him for the surgery and what to expect before, during and after the procedure."The process has been amazing. The staff are true professionals and have a very detailed orientation for the program. The way they prepare you is second to none. They take the fear out of the actual surgery before you even have it."
Major Life Changes
Since his weight loss surgery, John’s life has changed in many ways."I now coach my son’s senior little league team," says John. "I give the kids a challenge at every game, which always involves me running. I told them last week if they got eight hits I’d do a lap around the field. They got 10 hits and said, 'ok coach, get moving!' I started to run and about 15 seconds later I heard a thundering herd! It was my team following me even though they didn’t have to run the lap. This made me feel so proud of my weight loss. It’s a memory I soon won’t forget."
Since his surgery, John has many long-term goals. He wants to maintain his weight loss and says it’s a challenge he faces everyday. He has also started running again and hopes to someday complete the Boston Marathon.
"As a young adult I used to run about 10 miles a day. Then I guess you could say life happened... marriage, kids, a career. These were all influences that took me away from taking care of me. If I had to do it over again, I would not neglect myself so much. I need to be around for the people I care about most. I now run every chance I get."
Challenges After Surgery
Living life after surgery has been one of the single biggest challenges that John has faced in his life. He has had to work hard to overcome his habits as an emotional eater."I am a stress eater and throughout this process I have been faced with a couple of life’s curve balls. I have dealt with my dad’s cancer diagnosis and I also went through a difficult divorce. Through these events, I have had to learn to rely on other things besides food for comfort."
For John, the best part about his transformation is getting on the scale and seeing a normal weight adult. Seeing his progress motivates John to keep going and makes all the hard work worth it.
"I am alive for the first time in my life. I have met the most wonderful woman in the world and we have a great relationship. I make healthy choices when eating, which is so important in the long run to maintain weight loss. I laugh everyday – even at myself. I spread the word about weight loss surgery everywhere I go. I truly believe that if I didn't have the surgery, I wouldn't have lived a long life. Now I am really living life – not just letting it happen around me."
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10/27: Community Forum on Ebola PreparednessMedical experts from Newton-Wellesley, the city of Newton, and Mass General will present about ebola, with a Q&A session. Mon, Oct. 27, NWH Shipley Auditorium - 7:00 to 8:30 pm
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10/28: Free Running Clinic
Join us on Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 6:00-8:00 pm in the Shipley Auditorium at Newton-Wellesley Hospital for a free presentation for beginner and intermediate runners. Registration required.
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