Friday Speaker: Kevin Stephens

Kevin began gaining weight in elementary school and continued struggling with his weight his entire life. In July 2010, he was diagnosed with lymphedema in his left leg and was told it was due to his weight and it was not reversible; however, further damage could be controlled if he lost weight. During this time, Kevin also discovered that he had sleep apnea and pre-diabetes. He knew something had to be done so he registered for weight loss surgery classes and his journey began.

In February 2011, Kevin had gastric bypass surgery. He calls this his “second birthday”. The surgery went well but he had to stay an extra few days to repair a hernia. Other than that one small set back, Kevin considered his experience a success. Kevin struggled with “buyer’s remorse” for about a week after the surgery wondering what did he do to his body and he thought he was going to starve to death but those feelings soon went away. Within several months, most of Kevin’s health issues were controlled.

The weight started coming off fast so it encouraged Kevin to follow his surgeon’s directions and stick with the plan. His blood pressure decreased and he was no longer borderline diabetic. He began an exercise routine of casually walking around his neighborhood then at a local park. Kevin eventually began strength training with a personal trainer and continues to work out three times a week. Kevin has been able to keep his lymphedema under control by going to massage therapy and wearing compression stockings during the day.

Kevin is six years out and feels fantastic. He can eat more now so he has to control his portions and carb intake. He continues to take vitamins and supplements along with drinking protein shakes or eating protein bars. Kevin has been blessed and fortunate not to experience any serious complications. He still has to be cautious about consuming too much sugar because it could lead to a mild bout of dumping syndrome. Losing the weight has changed his life drastically. He no longer has to buy two seats on a plane or worry about being able to get out of a chair. He nearly cried the first time he was able to sit in a restaurant booth again. Purchasing regular size clothes is awesome. A few years ago, Kevin did a promotional video for New Whey Nutrition discussing the benefits of their liquid protein supplement. However, knowing that God gave him a second chance at a healthier longer life is the greatest benefit of all.

Kevin’s second ‘journey” began on January 6, 2017. He had a 360 body lift procedure to remove all the excess skin around his mid-section. Dr. Timothy Katzen performed his surgery and Kevin was pleased with the results. As of today, he has not suffered from any major complications just soreness as expected. In May 2017, he had an upper body lift and male breast reduction. Kevin has written several articles for OH discussing his WLS journey and managing his lymphedema. He is also a member of Obesity Action Collation (OAC).

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Workshop Session 1B: Friday 1:00pm – 1:50pm, International Ballroom IV

My Bariatric Journey: One Day at a Time

Join Kevin as he discusses growing up as an overweight child, eventually becoming an obese adult, failing at various diets throughout his life and finally deciding to have bariatric surgery. He will cover his pre-op and post-op struggles and successes with personal relationships as well as business relationships. Kevin will end with a brief Q & A.