"My name is Mary; I am 55 years old, the mother of 2 grown children, 2 beautiful granddaughters and another grandchild on the way. I started my weight problem when I was 25 years old, pregnant and I quit smoking. The nine months of my pregnancy found me 130 pounds heavier and this amount grew with each passing year. I tried every diet program and supplement known to mankind over the next 28 years. Some diets worked for a while, I would lose 50 to 100 pounds, then regain it all plus some and continue to the next diet. I always thought that the next diet would be the magical answer to my problem.
I started to pack on the pounds once again when my husband was diagnosed with a reoccurring cancer. I topped the scales at that time at 299.9 and was totally out of control. The numbers kept going up 5, 10 pounds from that point on. I knew if I didn't do something soon, I wouldn't be around very much longer.
Shortly thereafter Dr Zarif came to my Tops group (weight loss group, Take off Pounds Sensibly) to speak on the lap band. I was very impressed and I went to the Seminar to gather more information on this procedure.
In January I decided to take the plunge and start yet another journey on weight loss. My insurance approved my prior Tops records and I was scheduled for surgery in February.
The ongoing Support group, Nutrition and exercise part of this program are very beneficial to me as well. I now know how to eat correctly, how to get my body moving and actually do it. I am not hungry 24/7 anymore and can control my eating with the help of the lap band. My husband and I joined the gym and go together 6 times a week. My husband is very supportive and I couldn't have done this and succeeded without his support and help.
I have now lost over 120 pounds from my highest weight and my energy level and outlook on life has changed for the better. I feel so much better, much healthier and very happy that I chose this path. I am very thankful it IS my answer to my problem."
"My name is Larry; I started my battle with weight issues as an early teenager and suffered with being the "Chubby Kid" for as far back as I can remember. I recall going clothes shopping with my Mother and how it felt to have to go to the "Big and Tall" Department to get clothes for what was called the "Husky" sizes. After always having a weight issue, I did all of the diets that were fads at the time during my late teens and into my adult years. I tried the Adkins Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet and a number of others. Sometime I actually had great success and lost 60-80 pounds only to gain it all back and more within a year or so. I thought that it was just my place to be big and I learned to deal with it. Dealing with it however was not an easy thing to do and being overweight has such a large roll in our self-confidence and well-being that I always felt like a bit of an outcast and had no place to be comfortable in my own skin. I was always conscious of my clothes and my appearance and felt so many times like there was something wrong with me. Why was I the one that had to be fat?
In 2008 I had an eye opening turn of events. My daughter Emily, age 4 at the time, was almost killed in a horseback riding accident. Something that I never could have imagined would happen or would ever wish on my worst enemy. It was the worst day of my life but one that made me rethink were I was in the world and it made me look at what I was doing and who I was responsible for.
That evening while sitting at my baby's bedside in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Children's Hospital in Washington DC, I asked for a second chance to be a better person, father, friend and husband. I pledged to take better care of myself and to be more appreciative for the blessings in my world and in return, I just wanted my little girl back. I wanted to be there someday to see her and her older brothers Noah(age 10 at the time)and Logan (age 8 at the time) grow up and do all of the things that a Dad is supposed to see his kids do. Things like playing on the beach, surfing, swimming in the pool, camping, fishing, taking part in sports at school and all of the things that are so important about being a Dad. I wanted to be able to someday (as hard as this is for a Dad to imagine) I want to walk her down the aisle at her wedding and see the love in her eyes as I give her hand to my someday to be son-in-law. I dread that day right now but I am sure it will be one of the happiest days of my life when it happens. (Just don't let it happen to soon)
Anyway....all of these things played a part in my decision to visit Dr. Zarif's office and take a look into what LAPBAND Surgery was and what it may be able to do for me. I had a couple of co-workers in the fire department that had already had the surgery and they had fared very well and lost a number of pounds.
I was in bad shape. I was at my heaviest weight ever 293 pounds and I was wearing size 44 pants that were getting tighter every day. (No it wasn't the washer or dryer shrinking them). I was on Lipitor for high cholesterol and Avandia for diabetes and getting ready to be put on medicine for high blood pressure. I was a walking time bomb of a number of health issues.
As a Paramedic/Firefighter, I many times felt hypocritical when speaking to patients about health issues when in fact I myself was in such poor health and Yes....Still dealing with all the "Chubby Kid....Husky Department" issues even then in my late 40's.
After the initial meeting with Dr. Zarif and his staff, it turned out that I was in fact a good candidate for the procedure and we moved on down the road to what would soon become one of the best decisions of my life and one that would affect my life in ways I had only dreamed possible.
Just three weeks post-surgery, I was taken off ALL of my medicines, my blood pressure was down and back to normal, my world was changing and my clothes were getting looser already. My outlook on the future was getting brighter and my overall attitude and impression of me was improving. My confidence level on most everything was through the roof and there was no holding me back.
Overall at my best weight post-surgery, I had gotten down to 187 pounds. Yes....I dropped 106 pounds and went from tight size 44 pants and triple extra-large shirts to size 36 pants and for the first time in 20 plus years....I was wearing size large shirts! I was in better shape following the surgery that I had been in 26 years ago when I started my fire service career. Unbelievable!
I can't say enough about the positive aspects of having the surgery and I also can't say enough about the caring, helpful and supportive staff at Atlantic Bariatric Center.
Since my surgery, I have recommended as many as eight other members of the local fire service community to see Dr. Zarif and talk with his staff. Many of them have gone on to have the surgery just like I did. A few of us were even featured on Atlantic General Hospital's newsletter where we commented about losing an entire engine crew worth of weight.
If you have weight issues and have tried all of the fad diets, been doing the yoyo thing and just can't seem to get results, well take my advice and pay a visit to The Atlantic Bariatric Center. Speak with Dr. Zarif and his staff and see what they can do for you!"
Larry "Sack" Sackadorf
Ocean City Fire Department
When Crystal Fodi registered for the weight loss seminar hosted by Dr. Zarif, she had had enough. Fortunately, she hadn’t experienced any health problems as a result of her weight, but she knew she was heading down that path. Food ruled her life, and her weight kept her from enjoying it to its fullest.
At 25, she weighed 295 pounds.
She had tried diet and exercise programs over the years, but just wasn’t able to keep off the pounds she lost.
“I want to be able to have children and run with them and have the stamina to keep up.”
After attending the seminar with her parents, she scheduled her first consultation for the very next day. She kept every office visit and nutrition session scheduled, went to psychological counseling, attended every meeting faithfully until the day arrived for her surgery.
She knew she was making a lifelong commitment, and that the gastric band was just a tool – a very helpful tool, but a tool nonetheless – that would help her achieve her goals. It has just as much to do with determination and the support of your bariatric team.
Crystal has lost more than 100 pounds and has some more to lose. But, she’s ecstatic about her progress.
“I feel like a whole new person,” Crystal says. ““It’s been the best decision I could have ever made. Looking back on it – last year, I never would have guessed I would be here.”
Annette Schoolfield originally signed up to learn more about bariatric surgery because her daughter, who had a heart condition, was considering gastric banding and she didn’t want her to go through it alone.
It turns out that her daughter’s heart condition was too serious to risk surgery; but Annette was a good candidate and as she learned more about the benefits of the procedure and the services she would have access to through the program, she became more interested.
It took a year for her to make up her mind. It is a very big decision, and one that is incredibly personal.
When she made the decision, she gave it her all.
“Once I had the surgery, I knew I had to do it right. I didn’t have a choice,” Annette said.
Through the office visits and classes, she learned about how she needed to eat and that she needed to make a commitment to physical activity. The staff was there to answer all her questions and guide her along the way. Nearly a year later, they are still there for her to lean on.
The experience has changed her entire mindset. She went from exercising occasionally to a daily walking regimen that consists of two four-mile treks – one in the morning and one in the evening.
“If I don’t exercise, my day doesn’t start right,” Annette said.
A year after surgery, she had lost around 100 pounds and had 40 or 50 to go. But, she looks forward to stepping on that scale at the doctor’s office to see her progress.
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