NEW LENOX – Phil Martinez had success with weight loss in the past, but found it very difficult to stay on track.
Over time, he reached 360 pounds; a far cry from the 179 pounds he weighed when he married his wife in 1989. The 55-year-old Joliet psychotherapist decided he needed to take more drastic action in order to be there for his wife, Sarah, and two daughters, Rachel and Marin.
At that point he decided to try dieting, and lost nearly 100 pounds through the Atkins diet. He kept the weight off for over a year, however, he found sustaining it was difficult. Phil didn’t take weight loss surgery lightly.
At first, the thought of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy gastric sleeve surgery was a little scary to him because it is irreversible. In fact, he researched several practices that specialized in weight loss surgery, including BMI surgery.
It wasn’t until a friend from his church, who had the surgery with BMI at Silver Cross Hospital, shared her experience with him that he decided to go through with it.
One reason he chose to go forward with the surgery is because his quality of life was suffering. Martinez lost control over his eating and suffered from sleep apnea and exhaustion.
He was treated for sleep apnea including getting a CPAP machine and even having surgery to remove his tonsils, but nothing worked. He couldn’t take long road trips or drive the 5.5 hours to visit his daughter in college because he would fall asleep at the wheel.
The first week after surgery, he was able to stop taking his blood pressure medication after experiencing light headedness. After the first month, he dropped 70 pounds and started keeping a journal of his weight loss.
By August 2016, Martinez had reached his “pipe dream” goal of losing 120 pounds, and six months after surgery he was at 199 pounds. This past April, when he came in for his yearly visit, he was down to 179 pounds; the same as when he got married nearly 28 years ago. He’s now down a total of 159 pounds since his surgery. In July, his weight was down to 169 pounds.
Cooking has also become a fun activity for Martinez and his family. While he stays away from the fast food, he’s able to enjoy a lot of different foods, and likes to challenge himself on different recipes he sees online.
The core morbidities such as pre-diabetes and morbid obesity aren’t factors anymore.
While Martinez didn’t exercise as much as he would’ve liked, he did stay active throughout the year after the procedure. He was able to play 90 holes of golf over four days. Normally he’d struggle to get through 9 holes in a day. But the biggest difference he says is being with his family more.
For more information, visit www.bmisurgery.org.