Alex Brecher 10-years after Lap-Band Success
Alex Brecher represents BariatricPal at the Obesity Action Coalition's Your Weight Matters** 2014 convention.**
In 2003, Alex Brecher underwent the Lap-Band procedure at age 27. It took him a little more than a year to drop roughly 100 pounds and Alex vows to keep it off forever.
Today Alex loves working out at the gym and running the weight-loss surgery community BariatricPal. Let's take a look at a day in his bariatric life.
Alex Brecher Interviey Bariatric Life:** Alex, in your words, "I had struggled with my weight my whole life." What weight-loss approaches did you try before** ** bariatric surgery**?
Alex Brecher: You mean, "what didn't I try?" I tried all the diets, or at least what felt like all of them. I tried enough diets to learn that they worked when I followed them, but I wasn't able to stay on them long-term"and that's when the weight would come back, and then some. I knew I couldn't manage my weight for the rest of my life with those diets.
MBL:** How did you get to a point where you realized you needed obesity surgery? What research did you do to arrive at the LAP-band procedure?**
Alex: I realized what I was doing wasn't working. There was no way I'd be able to keep a healthy and happy weight for life by following diets. I also didn't want to struggle with weight and food for the rest of my life.
I learned about the lap-band procedure from a friend. I noticed that he lost a lot of weight, and he told me he had gotten the lap-band. After some research, I found a surgeon who was encouraging and seemed competent, and I got the surgery.
MBL:** You've maintained weight loss of 90 pounds from the LAP-band for more than a decade. To what do you owe your outstanding success?**
Alex: I owe my success to"
My lap-band. It is so much easier to eat the right amount and not way too much when you're not starving - and the lap-band helps reduce hunger. It's also reduced my cravings for junk food. I eat pretty healthy now, and am usually able to pass up foods I know I shouldn't have.
My kids. I have the best kids in the world and live for them. It is such a gift to be able to be healthy and enjoy my life with them. Being able to bike with them and go to all of their activities is a huge motivator for me to stay on track with healthy eating and workouts.
My work. I love my work. How many people are lucky enough to be able to work at something they are passionate about? I love BariatricPal and advocating for the weight loss surgery community. It is so rewarding, and also so motivating. Meeting all these dedicated and hard-working and sometimes struggling people inspires me to keep living a healthy lifestyle.
MBL:** Your surgery was over a decade ago. Thinking back, what were those early years like learning to be healthy? What gets you off track today?**
Alex: They weren't too bad. I knew what a healthy lifestyle was. I knew what healthy eating was. I knew what moderation was. I just hadn't practiced any of those for any length of time. The lap-band forced me to do those things, and I got into the habit relatively quickly.
Of course, I had and have my setbacks just like anyone. For me, unexpected events can be the problem. I'm fine in daily life; I know what to expect, and what I'll eat, and when I'll exercise. But sometimes I'll be with people and all of a sudden I'm faced with too much junk food, and it's hard to know how to handle those situations. I just do the best I can and try not to worry about it.
I occasionally crave a treat. I'll wait for a while, maybe a few days or even weeks, to make sure it's some I really want. If the craving is still there, I give in. I savor it; I don't consider it a binge. I enjoy every bite, and then get right back on track. I actually find the ability to plan and enjoy treats really empowering compared to pre-lap-band, when I was constantly eating too many "treats," and probably not enjoying them much.
MBL:** Give us an idea of a typical day's menu, including supplements and hydration.**
Alex: Supplements: I'm not as rigorous about them as maybe I should be.
Hydration: water, water, water. I just keep it with me all the time. I don't necessarily count the ounces, but I make sure to get enough. I have my patterns: drink in the morning after waking up, before and after workouts, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, etc.
A typical day"three meals, no snacks. This might be a day in my life:
Breakfast: oatmeal, blueberries, Greek yogurt
Lunch: Tuna salad with greens, tuna, olive oil/vinegar dressing, maybe with some add-ons like almonds, garbanzo beans, or shredded cheese. Maybe an apple or orange.
Dinner: Something with protein and vegetables"maybe something plain like chicken breast or a piece of fish with a side of steamed vegetables, or maybe chicken or fish stir fry or fajitas (no tortilla) or a veggie burger. I'll have a side of starches sometimes, like brown rice or whole-wheat pasta or beans or acorn squash.
If I do have snacks, it'll be fruit or vegetables usually, maybe with protein like yogurt or cottage cheese or string cheese.
MBL:** We've looked at what you did to address nutrition. What did you do to address body, mind and spirit?**
Alex: I'm a pretty happy person by nature. I generally see the positive sides of things. To be honest, it's not that tough when I feel like the luckiest man in the world. I have a wonderful life. I have beautiful, healthy children who make me proud every day. I am thrilled to be managing my weight. I am always touched whenever people tell me BariatricPal has touched their lives and helped them reach their goals. Even though I don't do anything specifically for mind and spirit, I just stay positive and keep myself involved in things I love, like being involved in the WLS community and watching my kids grow up. I also relish the time I spend working out, whether running or lifting weights or doing something else in the gym. The exercise clears my head and keeps me focused.
Read part 2 of my interview My BariatricPal Alex Brecher on his role as author and founder of BariatricPal.
njoy more weight loss success personal stories:** Meet 8 People Who Reclaimed their Lives from Obesity**
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