News 12 at 6 o' clock / Wednesday, May 8, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- More people are turning to surgery to fight obesity. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just went under the knife to get bariatric surgery, but he's not alone. It's a growing trend right here in our area, too.
Jesse Chancey says that he used to eat to relieve stress before he got the surgery.
"A normal meal for me would be three Whoppers and a large fry and a large Coke," he said.
But that was the old Chancey. The new Chancey hardly even recognizes himself three years after he says bariatric surgery changed his life. The surgery took him from 469 pounds down to just 182, a weight loss of nearly 300 pounds.
"When my grandma first seen me after my surgery, she cried. She couldn't believe that I'm so small. Now she can actually hug me. She can get her arms all the way around me," Chancey said.
Chancey is part of an increasing trend in our area. Experts say more and more people are looking to surgical options for weight loss.
Trish Fine is a bariatric dietitian at Live Healthy, M.D., in Augusta.
"It's a long-term solution to obesity. Obesity is a chronic disease, and it's one of the best ways we know for people to lose weight and keep it off," Fine said.
And keeping it off was important to Chancey. He had tried diet pills and other weight loss solutions, but nothing worked. His doctors
said if he didn't slim down, his weight could kill him.
"By the age of 30 I would need a liver transplant," he said.
Which is why he went under the knife, but it wasn't an easy choice. Food was Chancey's comfort, and his meals after bariatric surgery were about one-eighth of the size that he was used to.
"You get fuller faster, and it alters the eating habits," Chancey explained.
"It's not the easy way out. It's a big lifestyle change for patients, and you have to use the tool that the surgeon gives you," Fine said.
Fine says they've been seeing more insurance coverage for bariatric surgery, which is the reason more and more people like Chancey are able to get the surgery.
"I haven't been back to the doctor since. So they don't have to pay for any medications, it's a whole lot cheaper on them, and not only that, but it saves us a bunch of money as well because we don't have to buy as much food," Chancey said.