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Gastric Bypass Surgery Success Story — Steve Adler

Steve Adler is a father of three teenagers. His love for them is apparent as he recalls pleasant memories of scouting and spending time with them.

Yet with the happy memories comes a painful reminder of what he could not do. He talks about camping trips where his weight was a problem.

“I would make excuses to not participate in canoeing or hiking because I could not physically do it, so I would stay back and watch.”

Steve was not an obese child and working construction in college kept him fit. It was not until he was an adult, working a sedentary computer job, when his struggle with weight began.

He says, “I had a herniated disk that became increasingly difficult to deal with because of my weight.”

At one point he was walking with a cane, missing work due to the pain, and activity was non-existent. To make matters worse, at 325 pounds, he had unknowingly developed sleep apnea and found himself falling asleep while driving.

Steve tried to lose weight with shakes and even skipped meals, but says, “I would eat twice as much when I did eat.”

He knew something had to change and that his wife would be supportive, yet felt that weight loss was a “personal thing” so he quietly researched bariatric weight loss surgery.

This research led him to a bariatric surgery information session at UPMC St. Margaret, where LeeAnn Peluso, MD, FACS, discussed surgical options, risks, and most importantly – lifestyle changes.

Steve's Bariatric Patient Story — A Life-Changing Decision

Steve made the commitment to “do something for himself” and started the gastric bypass surgery process. He recalls the nutritional classes at Pittsburgh Bariatrics and how important the education and support from “others who understand” was to his success before surgery.

“I did not know how to read food labels and the dietitian took the time to teach me — I learned what I needed to do.”

He learned about the importance of:

  • Good nutrition
  • Proper hydration
  • Physical activity

He began using a pedometer and parking further away.

“My goal was 10,000 steps a day. I pushed through the pain,” Steve says.

Exercising and eating better led to a 30-pound weight loss, and he briefly contemplated not having the surgery, but decided to follow through.

Dr. Peluso performed Steve’s gastric bypass surgery on June 8, 2010.

He recalls following all of her instructions, even in the hospital.

“They make you walk in the hallway, but I was doing laps! I was so moved by my changes that I hugged Dr. Peluso and said, 'Thank you!'”

Since his gastric bypass surgery, Steve has lost 114 pounds. His lifestyle has improved – he has more energy, sleeps better, and enjoys bicycling with his family.

Steve says that surgery is a big decision and “people need to decide for themselves.”

He appears humbled by this journey and hopes that by sharing his story, he can help someone else.

Above all, he knows that he is making a life-long impact on his children. He has shared everything that he has learned with his children, educating them about a healthy lifestyle.

“They continue to be my motivation!” he says.

Steve’s Tips for Success After Gastric Bypass Surgery

  • Plan your meals. “Prep your own food, avoid vending machines, and shop smart. I boil 18 eggs at a time, cook a whole chicken on the weekend, and plan ahead for what I will eat during the week.”
  • Set a goal. “My goal was to buy a bicycle when I lost 70 pounds. I rode along my son to earn his scouting badge for biking and now we ride long distance together.”
  • Pack your lunch. “I brown-bag my lunch. I still go out with co-workers so I don’t miss networking opportunities, but I am in control of what I eat. I have inspired some of my co-workers to do the same!”
  • Plan to need a new wardrobe. “I underestimated what a big deal (and how expensive) this would be. Save up and shop at thrift stores. When I met a goal and needed new clothes, my family and I made it a fun event.”
  • Keep a journal. “I think about weight loss daily — evaluating my progress each morning. Keeping a food journal is helpful.”

Note: This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

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