Over the course of nine months, he has lost nearly 400 pounds by undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
“I have overcome a lot in my life,” Stephens said. “The surgery saved my life.”
After his father’s death, he realized that food had become a source of comfort and demise.
“I lost my Daddy in 96’, and I never knew my mom … (she was) killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. After I lost him I was very depressed,” Stephens recalls. “I got to eating and eating and gaining a lot of weight.”
Stephens learned to stop being an emotional eater; and, now his meals are measured and exercise is a part of his daily routine.
“I eat normal, small portions and exercise and walk everyday,” he said.
During his high school years, Stephens was teased about his weight and a speech problem. He dropped out at age 16.
“I quit high school. It was the dumbest thing I did in my life,” Stephens said. “That’s why I’m going back and getting my GED.”
Stephens will return to school to earn his GED at Georgia Northwestern Technical College on March 15.
Another personal milestone he has accomplished recently was passing his drivers license permit test.
While striving to continue losing weight, he has focused on improving his wellbeing, too.
“There’s so many people who are obese and need to know someone loves them and cares for them,” he said. “I preach, sing like a bird and would love to come to any church and speak.”
Obesity, surgery options and what to consider
-Millions of individuals in the United States and around the world are overweight or obese (severely overweight). Obesity is associated with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, and other medical problems.
-Bariatrics is the field of medicine that specializes in treating obesity. Bariatric surgery is the term for operations to help promote weight loss. Bariatric surgical procedures are only considered for people with severe obesity and not for individuals with a mild weight problem.
-The two most common types of bariatric surgical procedures for the treatment of obesity are adjustable gastric banding and Gastric Bypass.
-If you are considering any type of bariatric surgery, discuss the associated risks and long-term consequences with your doctor. It should be considered for treating obesity or morbid obesity only. Long-term follow-up with doctors experienced in the care of patients having these procedures, as well as lifelong vitamin supplementation, is essential to avoid life-threatening complications.
The following information was from the Journal of the American Medical Association, www.jama.ama-assn.org, in an article entitled “Bariatic Surgery.”