Office Professional, Wife, Fitness Fan and Bariatric Surgery Patient
I can do it, I guarantee anybody can do it. If you work at it, it works!”
Working Out Keeps Her Toned and On Track
These days, nothing keeps Lori Johnson from her daily date at the gym. Early weekday mornings you’ll find her at the Fitness Center at MidMichigan Medical Offices–Campus Ridge 1. Weighing a healthy 130 pounds, Lori takes advantage of the facilities and enjoys kickboxing and Boot Camp workouts.
However, Lori wasn’t always so active. In September 2010, she weighed 230 pounds, had dangerously high cholesterol and lived under the shadow of a family history of heart disease. “As a young adult I was thin,” she said. “I never had a weight problem until I switched jobs and sat at a computer all day.” In her previous job, she was on her feet and moving all day. “I became less active and started gaining and gaining. It’s amazing how easily you can lose control.”
Lori tried organized weight loss groups and commercial weight loss plans, however nothing worked in the long run. “I once lost 80 pounds but gained it backed,” she said. “I truly tried everything.”
She first considered bariatric surgery after a co-worker found success through traditional Roux-en-Y surgery. “I was hesitant because it would mean major surgery,” she said. Then Lori learned about LAP-BAND® adjustable gastric banding surgery, one of the bariatric surgery procedures available through MidMichigan Health.
Adjustable gastric banding surgery is performed using a laparoscope, a less-invasive approach than traditional open surgery. During the surgery, an adjustable silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a smaller pouch which subsequently feels full more quickly. By limiting the amount of food that can be eaten, the patient’s weight decreases until a stable weight can be maintained.
“The LAP-BAND appealed to me because it’s reversible and adjustable, the surgery is less invasive and the recovery time is much shorter,” Lori said. “After my consultations, I was sure it was what I wanted to do. I was ready. There was no hesitation.”
Lori had surgery on September 30, 2010. “It was a great experience,” she said. “The people at MidMichigan did everything they could to make sure I was comfortable. After surgery, there was discomfort, but very little pain.” The promise of a quick recovery also proved true. “I had the surgery on a Wednesday and went home the next day. I was back at work within a few days and have had no issues or complications.”
Post surgery, her weight began to drop right away. “After a while I would plateau, but then would start losing again,” she said. “I learned to eat slowly as I learned what foods work for me.” She said changing her eating habits was surprisingly easy. “It’s not a struggle. I like the food I need to eat – fish, chicken, etc. – and I make sure I get the nutrients I need.”
Lori found that as her eating habits changed, so did her taste preferences. “I don’t eat red meat anymore – I’ve lost my taste for it,” she said. “Now I crave squash! I’ve learned to make foods that are healthy and taste good.”
While surgery was a vital tool to help her achieve a healthy weight, Lori maintains that exercise is equally responsible, and necessary, for her continued good health. “I feel great and have so much more energy,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how important it is to exercise. I still would have lost the weight without exercising, but I wouldn’t look and feel as good as I do.”
Lori took advantage of a special fitness program offered to bariatric patients and, within three weeks of surgery, was working with a personal trainer at the Fitness Center at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland.
“The staff there is great,” she said. “All of them are part of my success. Every one of them helped me in one way or another. Tony, in particular, really inspired me. He would push me and say ‘You can do this!’ and I needed that.”
After a few weeks of working out, Lori started seeing results. “I really toned up. I’ve been working out for more than a year and I know I can keep it up.” In addition to regular workouts, Lori participates in Boot Camp and kickboxing.
Lori said bariatric surgery was truly a life-changing event for her. “Now, I get out and do what I want to do and I don’t worry about my health,” she said. “If I can do it, I guarantee anybody can do it. If you work at it, it works!”
LAP-BAND is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc.
MidMichigan Health offers bariatric surgery in both Alma and Midland. For more information or for a list of upcoming free seminars, call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199 or visit www.midmichigan.org/bariatrics.