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Family exercises together after bariatric surgeries

Family exercises together after bariatric surgeries

Let’s be clear – there is nothing easy about having bariatric surgery, but the rewards can be great.

“There's a common misconception that bariatric surgery is the easy way of losing weight,” said Brandon Cranor, 47, who lives in Bartlesville with his wife Mindy and their two sons.

“The changes in what you eat, how active you are and what you learn about living a healthy lifestyle can be mentally and physically difficult. However, the new lifestyle that arises from these challenges makes the hard work well worth it,” he said.

Cranor was used to living with medical difficulties. At his heaviest, he weighed 350 pounds and experienced constant knee pain. He also had sleep apnea, high blood pressure (controlled by medication) and was “one high A1C reading away from being placed on medication for Type 2 diabetes.”

Working as a pipeline controller for Phillips 66, Cranor was usually working at his desk without many opportunities for exercise. “My weight was very restrictive on just how active I could be,” he recalled. “I tried to be active, but I tired out very quickly.”

Those difficulties led Cranor to learn more about the different kinds of bariatric surgeries.

“I researched bariatric programs in our area and Bailey Bariatrics stood out to me,” Cranor said. “The education and support that the staff provides to participants, both before and after surgery, is amazing.”

Cranor was also motivated to lose weight and become more physically active because of his family.

“Our boys are teenagers now, so they are much more involved at school, which keeps them very active. Mindy and I both want to be the kind of parents who can keep up with their active kids and attend their events.”

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

That motivation led both parents to appointments with Dr. Christopher Cole and staff to talk about bariatric surgery.

After exploring all the options, they decided that the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery was best for both of them.

While there are a few versions of gastric bypass surgery, the basics are the same. The surgeon divides the stomach into two parts: a much smaller pouch and the larger remaining portion of the stomach. The small intestine is then connected directly to the pouch, which bypasses the rest of the stomach.

This results in a smaller stomach that gets filled quicker, thus keeping the patient from eating as much as before.

The couple both had their surgeries two years ago, though not at the same time. “Mindy had her surgery a few months before I did because I had to finish a smoking cessation program first,” he said. “After smoking cigarettes, I changed to using smokeless tobacco. I used tobacco for so long that I thought it would be difficult to quit. But since I could not have the surgery if I still used tobacco, I was very motivated to quit.”

New lifestyle

To change his eating habits after surgery, Cranor started to document all the food and liquids he ingested every day. By seeing the details in print, he was motivated even more to make healthier food choices.

“I really focused on getting rid of foods with high carbohydrate counts like bread and pasta - things like that,” Cranor said.

“I have always been a ‘mindless snacker,’ especially when sitting on the couch and watching a good action movie. Before I knew it, I had eaten the whole bag of chips, which was clearly not good for me. Now I find a healthier snack while I watch a show.”

Cranor also increased his daily activities, especially the time he spends at the gym.

“I go to the gym for the CrossFit program a minimum of four times a week,” Cranor said. “Going to the gym a lot was one of my goals, so I went with my friend who goes to the local CrossFit gym. Once I finished the program’s ‘Monthly Challenge,’ I was hooked, got a membership and have loved it ever since.”

When one of the CrossFit coaches organized a 5K run, Cranor signed up for that too.

“I started running to prepare for that race and just kept running. I’ve done a couple of 5Ks, an 8K and a few other races. Now I’m running three times a week and preparing to run a half marathon in December.”

But he is not running alone. His wife Mindy has also started running after her bariatric surgery. “I have taken up running and really enjoy it,” said Mindy, who has lost 91 pounds since her surgery.

“I ran the Route 66 marathon relay with a team from Bailey that included my husband. We’ve gone camping with our sons in Colorado and the boys have gone with me on hikes. This past summer we took a cruise and climbed to the top of the Xunantunich Mayan ruin in Belize (top photo). I would have never been able to do these things before surgery,” she said.

Running forward

Both patients/parents/runners know that they will always keep a close eye on their health, their daily food choices and their activity levels. They are grateful that the staff at Bailey Bariatrics is as interested in their health as they are.

“They review my food and activity logs to keep up on my progress,” he said. “Lately they saw how much I am working out and suggested that I increase the amount of protein I eat every day. That will keep me feeling full and having the protein to build muscle mass.”

Cranor said that the continuing education classes are very helpful to them.

“We still go to some of the monthly meetings that the program produces,” said Cranor. “It’s a good time to share our insights and the stories of the journeys we have gone through. I recommend this program to anyone considering bariatric surgery. Even though it can be hard, it will definitely make a positive impact on one’s life. The quality of one’s life will just grow exponentially.”

“You will see the rewards every day,” Cranor continued, “whether it’s being able to tie your shoes without running out of breath or suddenly discovering that your entire wardrobe doesn’t fit well. I still have a pair of pants I had before surgery when I was at my heaviest. Now I can fit both of my legs into one pant leg!”

They have both recommended the program to friends and others interested in developing a healthier lifestyle.

“The surgeries were the best choices we've made for ourselves and our family,” Cranor said. “We could not be happier with the results we've gotten from the staff with Bailey Bariatrics. They are all amazing people. We are very happy and very blessed.”

For more information about weight loss surgery at The Bariatrics Center at Bailey Medical Center, click here.