Jefferson University Hospitals

Tom Becomes A New Man Through Weight Loss Surgery

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"A walk on the beach at sunset with the sea breeze blowing in your face beats the heck out of the best hot fudge sundae on the planet"

Tom's weight loss journey is a familiar success story — he weighed 266 pounds prior to having surgery in November 2009 and now weighs around 165, give or take a pound.

"I am rather short at 5 feet 5 inches, so I was big. My chest measured 48 inches and my waist was 46," Tom recalls. "I now have a 42-inch chest and a 33-inch waist."

The real story, though, is that beyond his physical appearance, Tom has evolved into a very different man. Still a loving husband and father with the same religion, same politics, same job, same principles, but the inner man is very different.

For the first time in his life, Tom has a good perspective on food.

"It is no longer my passion, my love, my hobby, my reward, my comfort or the lynchpin of my social life."

As Tom discovered, food doesn't need to be boring; you can be creative with it and have a healthy appreciation for it.

Since his surgery, Tom has gone to the gym every morning for a 45-minute cardio workout, and then two evenings a week for weight training. While he may not be ready to run a marathon, he had no idea it would feel so good to be healthier. Now that he is not so focused on the daily barriers caused by obesity, he is seeing, smelling and experiencing the world in a whole new way.

"A walk on the beach at sunset with the sea breeze blowing in your face beats the heck out of the best hot fudge sundae on the planet," he says.

He does not minimize the journey. He explains that while the weight comes off quickly after surgery, it took him a good two years to recover emotionally and psychologically.

"You lost what you thought was your best friend (food), but as time passes you realize that this friend was keeping you from living and loving your life and was actually trying to kill you," he explains. "When I was fat, I was always smiling and my friends thought I was happy and jolly. I am still always smiling and happy but without the hurt and pain inside. Once you have completed your journey, it is a far, far better life on the other side."