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Winning the Weigh


From the Winter 2012 Vim & Vigor publication

Mike Burgos got a second chance at life—and he’s determined to make the most of it. After a lifetime of poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle, Burgos reached nearly 400 pounds. “I tried everything,” he says, “but I would always lose and then gain it back again.

A few years ago, Burgos saw a co-worker who lost a lot of weight and asked him how he did it. “He told me he had undergone gastric bypass with Dr. Stanish,” he says. “I did some research and attended one of their free seminars on the different weight loss options they offer.”

Burgos decided to make an appointment to undergo an evaluation and determine which weight loss option would be best for him.

I chose gastric bypass because I had tried and failed to lose weight so many times before. After surgery, my willpower skyrocketed,” he says. “It was great to know that the weight I was losing was never going to come back.”

Within nine months, Burgos reached his goal weight and adopted a whole new outlook on life.


Before my surgery, I would say I appeared to be 10 percent happy outside, but I was 90 percent unhappy inside. I would always put a smile on my face, but it wasn’t in my heart,” he says.

Burgos acknowledges that it is often difficult for the general public to understand the complexities of obesity. “Most people don’t really realize the extraordinary efforts most obese people have gone through to try to lose weight,” he says. “It’s hard work. Weight loss surgery is not a magic pill or gimmick. It still takes a lot of willpower and dedication and you need a lot of support.”

When it comes to support, Burgos knows he can turn to the Healthy 4 Life team. “They are always behind me, and always doing follow-up. They will always be there like my family or friends. They’re my vital support network and I don’t want to disappoint them.”

For the future, he plans on setting new goals and discovering new things to do with his healthy lifestyle.

I refuse to go back to the way I was before,” he says. “And this time, I know I never will.”

A Team Approach

Deciding to embark on a successful weight loss journey is a life-changing decision. The support and guidance of an experienced weight loss team is critical to each patient’s success.

Healthy 4 Life’s individualized care program of medical weight loss, bariatric surgery, lifetime wellness, fitness, dietary and psychosocial counseling help to ensure that patients stay healthy, lose weight and keep it off.

At Healthy 4 Life, our patients are treated like a member of the family,” says Lorri Field, R.N., director of bariatric services. “Everyone on our staff is passionate about helping patients improve their health and empowering them to adapt a healthier lifestyle.”

Now available at Community Hospital in Munster as well as St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, the Healthy 4 Life Center offers convenient access to comprehensive services necessary for long-term weight loss success.

Healthy 4 Life’s two board-certified bariatric surgeons and internal medicine physician are fellowship-trained in obesity medicine and nutrition support. They work together with a multidisciplinary team of health professionals. Together, the team has a combined experience of helping nearly 2,000 patients through a variety of surgical and nonsurgical weight loss programs.


Understanding Weight Loss Procedures

The Lap-Band is a soft, adjustable device placed on the top part of the stomach and is connected to a port placed under the skin in the left upper abdominal wall. An appropriately adjusted band helps to reduce the amount of food one eats to feel satisfied. On average, Lap-Band patients can see a 40 to 60 percent loss of excess weight. Adjustments of the band are completed with an office visit that insurance typically covers.

Gastric bypass surgery is the most commonly performed weight loss surgery. Using six small incisions, the surgeons fashion a small stomach and “reroute” a portion of the intestines—nothing is removed. The result is that patients eat a smaller amount of food to feel full, and what is eaten is not absorbed as efficiently, therefore leading to weight loss. On average, patients can expect to lose 60 to 70 percent of their excess weight.

The gastric sleeve procedure is a surgical treatment for obesity that permanently reduces the size of the stomach to help you eat less and feel full faster. With gastric sleeve weight loss surgery, a large portion of the stomach is removed to restrict eating and control hunger while keeping both ends of the stomach intact. It does not involve altering the intestines and does not require an implanted weight loss device. Food moves through the digestive system in the normal manner, greatly reducing the risk of complications and allowing for normal food digestion and absorption.

The gastric sleeve procedure can usually be performed using a minimally invasive weight loss surgical approach (laparoscopic), even on very obese patients (BMI greater than 50). During the procedure, the stomach is stapled off along the greater curvature to create a smaller, tube-shaped stomach. Then, the new stomach area is sealed closed with surgical staples and the cutaway portion of the stomach is removed from the body.

Weigh Your Options

The highly skilled team at Healthy 4 Life has extensive experience with medical and surgical weight loss procedures. As part of their initial consultation, patients will explore in detail the procedures and program that will work best for them. All patients are required to attend classes to learn how to manage their diet to prevent difficulties and to achieve long-term success. Weight loss options offered at the Healthy 4 Life Center include the following:

Medical Weight Loss
Healthy 4 Life offers medical weight loss options with ongoing medical and personal support. The program is led by the expertise and experience of Omar Shamsi, M.D., internal medicine and medical weight loss specialist. There are only a few hundred physicians nationwide, including Shamsi, who have completed a fellowship in obesity medicine and nutritional support through the American Board of Physicians Nutrition Specialists.

Each medical weight loss program involves varying levels of calorie control and supplementation based on the needs of the patient. Patients are offered a complete series of educational sessions to learn more about nutrition, portion control, exercise, shopping, cooking, behavior adaptation and more. Ongoing clinic visits and follow-up are a part of each plan, and patient education helps ensure that successful weight loss and lifelong weight management are achieved.

Surgical Weight Loss
Board-certified surgeons Paul Stanish, M.D., FACS, and Hung Dang, D.O., who have more combined years of bariatric experience than any other team in the area, head up Healthy 4 Life. The program offers a full range of weight loss surgery options, including the Lap-Band surgery, laparoscopic gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy. All patients are required to undergo medical management and attend educational classes prior to surgery.




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