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Gary Harwood’s Success Story

My name is Gary Harwood. I am 48 years old and live with my wife of 23 years in New Carlisle, Ohio. I've had a weight problem all my life. I was over 10 pounds at birth. My Mother's side of the family was all big and some were morbidly obese. My PCP says that much of the blame for my weight could be credited to genetics. I, of course, helped the genetics out with my love for food.

I've tried most all the diets; Herbalife, Slim Fast, Success, Atkins, Fat Burner, Grapefruit Diet, Air Force Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Shaklee, Fasting (better left for spiritual matters), Diabetic Exchange Diet, Overeater's Anonymous, Prescription Drugs, Over-the-counter drugs, Diet Workshop, Weight Watchers (they still want me back), and on and on. I had success with most of them but re-gained all I had lost plus more. After a lifetime of ups and downs I landed at a whopping 480 pounds in August of 2000.

Obesity touches every part of your life. I was the fat kid in school that all the other kids made fun of. My own family made fun of my being fat, not realizing how much I wanted to be "normal". What hurt the worst was the fact that I couldn't participate in events with my wife that required ANY physical exertion. We couldn't have picnics because there generally was no place a 480 pound man could sit. If I took a folding metal chair to a picnic it would just sink into the ground when I sat on it. Restaurants were a horror story. I'd walk in and everyone would look at me and even point as if one of the Seven Wonders of the World had just walked in. Booths were out of the question. I had them bring me a chair from another room that I could fit into, but you have no idea the embarrassment that brings. I still remember the restaurant where my wicker chair suddenly started sinking till it got to the floor of that crowded restaurant. That turned a few heads. Children would point at me and say, "LOOK AT THE FAT MAN, MOM”
I've had some minor health problems over the years but in August of 2000 I found myself in critical shape. I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and was plugged into a C-PAP machine at night to keep me breathing. I was also diagnosed as a diabetic. My knees, legs, feet, and back hurt so badly all the time that I just could not do anything. I could not walk up stairs without stopping to rest. For the first time in my life I had blood pressure problems. I began having severe breathing problems. I could be sitting down and suddenly just could not breathe. I would gasp for breath. I was unable to do even the smallest tasks at home. I could no longer work and my doctor insisted I take a medical leave to work on my health problems. He warned me I was dying and it would be soon. I WAS DYING! LITERALLY! We even bought our grave lots. I was deciding what kind of funeral service I wanted. I was getting ready to leave this world, but I really did not want to die yet.

I got on the Diabetic Exchange Diet and lost 50 pounds. But I knew it would all come back with more. My PCP convinced me that surgery was the only way for me if I wanted to live. I agreed. On October 31, 2000 I had Gastric Bypass surgery. I now have a new life. I have lost a total of 205 pounds since August of 2000. I have a goal weight of 220 to get to. That's only 55 pounds away. WOW!

I now mow my grass, walk, work every day, sit in booths at restaurants, climb stairs, never worry about cardiac arrest, take out the trash and a thousand other things I haven't done in years. My wife and I even painted the trim on our house this fall. I have my life back.  I give God ALL the credit for leading me to this wonderful experience and walking through it with me. To God be the glory!

Gary Harwood  - New Carlisle, Ohio
Open RNY - Oct. 31, 2000 @ 332lb
Dr. Ronald Spier - Springfield, Ohio
Start -480 / Now - 275


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