I guess to start my story about how I used to look at food, I have to take you back to my childhood and tell you how I was taught to look at food.
I come from a long line of "big eaters!" My father was a big man and loved to eat a lot. My mother was from a family of 10 people, and even though they struggled, food was always a big deal in all our family get-togethers.
I've always been big for my age and have been involved in various types of sports throughout my life. In high school, I played football - running back. Even though I weighed 215 pounds, I could run for my size! In fact, I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to play football in college.
I always related eating a lot with sports. While I was in training and playing, I never had to worry about putting on extra weight. After I got married and had a family, even though I worked hard and jogged daily, I found that keeping off extra pounds was a battle. My eating habits didn't change with my activity level. I continued to eat to either reward or console myself. That was the lifestyle I'd learned from an early age. To use the old saying, "I lived to eat instead of eating to live."
I always took pride in the way I looked when I was in shape. I had confidence in the way people looked at me as a former athlete. As I got older, my body slowed down and I starting having physical problems with my knees, back and my joints, in general. My activity level slowed down, but my eating habits didn't.
I tried different weight loss programs and experienced some success, but I felt like I was "starving to death" because I couldn't eat any time I wanted or as much as I wanted!
At 305 pounds and gaining, going through bilateral knee replacements, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, feeling tired and having no energy, I felt there was no hope. I wore baggy shorts and loose T-shirts in the summer and baggy dress clothes to hide my "gut!"
My wife and I decided to attend a meeting hosted by St. Mark's Hospital weight loss surgeons to see if I could get some help from this eating disorder and lifestyle I was and had been living all my life.
After surgery at St. Mark's Hospital and losing 105 pounds, I've turned into a clothes freak! Now I look forward to dressing up to go anywhere. I love to put on my suits to dress up and go to church.
I am now over one year post-surgery. It's been the best 1-1/2 years of my life as far as knowing I can finally stop the crazy cycle of making food my only reason for living!
Again, thank you, Dr. Smith, for helping me to get my life back!!