Mark Simoneau: In May of 2013 I made the decision to address my lifelong obesity battle with Bariatric Surgery. I contacted Kim, the Bariatric Program Coordinator at Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC), who worked me through the whole process. I soon learned that the actual surgery was just part of a complete program at SMHC that emphasizes the importance of lifestyle change. I learned how important making changes in my lifestyle are to long-term weight control and the surgery is just a tool to help with these changes.
At my first meeting with Shannon, a dietitian at SMHC, I was 332 lbs. Over the months that followed she taught me that it was not about counting calories and eating salads; it was about eating the right things and the calories will take care of themselves. Monthly group meetings provided many helpful tips from others who were, like me, working on their lifestyle changes. The group has also provided invaluable tips on how to be successful after surgery from members who are post surgery like I am now.
On February 3rd of this year I had my gastric bypass at 274 lbs. - I had lost 58 lbs. in the 5 months leading up to my surgery by making the needed lifestyle changes. Today I weigh 227 lbs. and am a totally new person. My advice to anyone thinking about making this step is to call Kim and attend an information meeting. Then, join us at a group session and ask us all the questions you have. For me it was the best thing I ever did and would do it again.