After weight-loss surgery, flying no longer 'kind of sad'
"Flying used to be kind of sad," Mark Pierce says. "I'd have to ask for a seatbelt extension and I felt like I took up half the seat next to me." Now Pierce, down 100 pounds after a gastric sleeve surgery from the Legacy Weight and Diabetes Institute, says that flying is more fun. He and his wife go once a year to Florida where he says he's no longer embarrassed to take off his shirt at the beach.
Pierce says he was heavy most of his life. As he got older, losing weight was getting more difficult. Even when he lost weight, he'd gain it back in three to four months.
At age 61 and at 310 pounds, he thought it was time to do something different.
He says he was older, retired and had lived a mostly sedentary lifestyle and he could see himself going downhill if he didn't make a significant change. He'd worked in IT for 23 years at the Bonneville Power Administration, sitting behind a desk.
Now, he walks 5 miles a day enjoying the Pacific Northwest's beauty on a walking trail near his home in Vancouver. That's more than 2,000 miles since his surgery.
He says when he used to walk, "My feet hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt, my back hurt." Now, even if his diet isn't perfect and he eats a few chips or soda, the walking makes his diet "forgivable."
His wife was an inspiration and has been very supportive. She too had surgery (gastric sleeve) and has lost even more weight than he has. Together, they've lost more than 200 pounds.
His advice to others who are considering surgery is to take the plunge. He says it isn't a "panacea" but, with a long-term plan and multidisciplinary support, those who try it can find motivation to change their life. "Don't put it off," he says.
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Photos: 1. Mark walks 5 miles a day on a trail near his home. 2-3 Mark at home. 4. Mark in a family "before" photo.