Delicious Food was Hard to Resist
"Since the age of 12, I can remember weighing more than the others kids my age," says 36-year-old Rafael Maldonado.
"My Latino background was a big factor in my eating disorder. Puerto Rican families’ cook with incredible flavor and seasoning it was very hard for me to turn down a meal or not to ask for seconds. By the age of 21, I weighed 270 pounds.
"For a young man who only stands 5’1” I had to do something. I decided to try a few diets and start working out at a local gym. Cardio, light weightlifting and swimming were what I focused on."
Success Was Always Temporary
"After eight years of on and off training and trying every diet I could get my hands on, I weighed close to 300 pounds. At that point in my life I moved to Connecticut with hopes of a new start in my overall lifestyle. I met a man named Chino who ended up being Mr. Connecticut. He helped teach me about nutrition and strength training. I lost 45 pounds in 6 months.
Things were starting to change for the better, including my personal life. I met my future wife who lived in Pennsylvania."
Discovering Gastric Bypass Surgery
"At the age of 30 I got married and a soon after had my son. That is when I began to think about my long-term health and being able to do things with my son as he grows.
My wife found some information about gastric bypass surgery. I had heard good and bad things about it, success stories and people who lost weight and put it back on. Friends and family had mixed feelings about it. At the end of the day the choice was mine to make and living a long healthy life for my son was my motivation.
After making the decision to move forward with the procedure, there was no retreat/no surrender. I trained myself to think of only positive results. I left no room in my mind for doubt. This is the most important part of the entire process in my opinion (self motivation).
Meeting with the staff at Bariatric Physician Specialists was huge. They gave me all the information I needed to succeed. Their detailed explanations, experience and step-by-step coaching was key! I had motivation, knowledge and support from friends, family and my support group, the rest was up to me.
With everything going well for me mentally I lost about 40 pounds prior to surgery, I had to prove to myself that I could do this for real. I worked hard at gym and began to surround myself with people at the gym who were serious about being there."
Hungry for Knowledge, Not Snacks
"Surgery was successful; everyone involved with it was pleasant and very accommodating. While at home self control was pivotal, with my son being 4 years old, snacks are always available. I give a lot of credit to my wife for helping me stay strong throughout the transition.
Consistency was the main reason for my continued success after surgery, consistent with the plan my dietitian provided consistent with keeping myself motivated in the gym, keeping myself hungry for knowledge of new ways of training instead of hungry for junk food and new restaurants.
Today I am 165 pounds, and there is a new me. Everything in my life has improved and I am so happy I chose to get this surgery. I learned how to believe in myself and reach any goal I set.
Self confidence is no longer an issue. I wake up in the morning with energy I never knew existed, looking in the mirror and actually seeing results with my own eyes is a dream come true. Going to the gym is no longer something I fit into my schedule; it is something I schedule the rest of my day around."
To My Wife and Son:
They Are My life and Motivation
"To all the people reading this testimony: If you are thinking about having the surgery or have had it and are struggling with it, I hope you find strength in my story, I am an example of what you are capable of."
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