"Before the weight loss, I couldn't have managed all of the physical work that I do now."
As a teenager, Brian Walton wore baggy cloths to hide his weight, and he hated undressing in the locker room before football practice. Snarky comments about his size from friends and family made the depressed teenager feel even heavier. Several years ago, Brian made a decision that would change his story.
Dr. Walter Sartor, a physician at The Surgery Clinic of Northeast Louisiana, performed the gastric sleeve surgery on Brian in May of 2016, and since that time, Brian has lost—and maintained—a 190-pound weight loss.
Brian said, "I have become a very goal-oriented and hardworking person since I lost the weight. I am confident, and I love life now. I'm a different, better person. I used to be miserable and depressed because of my weight, but now I'm a positive person. I feel like I have a purpose," Brian said.
Every morning, Brian wakes up an entrepreneur—something he never imagined for himself before his weight loss surgery. He and his wife opened Walton's Lawn Service LLC; the company provides lawn care, landscaping, and power-washing. "Before the surgery, I would not have been able to start my own business. Getting healthy made it physically possible for me to do the work. My new outlook on life, energy, and ambition have allowed me to chase my dreams full force. And I'm so proud to provide another source of income for my family."
While his life before the surgery seems far away, Brian is careful not to forget his pain because he never wants to revisit it. The excess weight caused Brian to suffer from high blood pressure, breathing problems, chest pain, and severe knee pain and swelling. He remembers a pivotal moment when he could no longer fit into his wife's car. "I was upset, and I realized I had to do something," he said.
The severe knee pain was tough on Brian, who has worked as a maintenance technician at a local processing plant for 14 years. He maintains his technician position and his lawn care business. "Before the surgery, I could barely get through my shift at work, and now I do it with ease. I'm constantly on the move fixing machines; there is a lot of lifting and bending involved," he said. "I can run around and fix everything with no problem, and I can move so much easier."
His career is not the only area of his life that has improved. "My marriage is ten times better because my wife was, and still is, my biggest supporter and cheerleader. We accomplished everything together; I couldn't have done any of it without her. I'm a happier person, so I'm a better husband. Being more positive allows me to concentrate on life's important things, like being a good husband and father. I view things differently now because I'm no longer depressed and miserable. I concentrate on leading a happy life."
After his weight-loss surgery, he changed his eating habits, started exercising, and focused on positive thinking. Now, food no longer controls him. He selects healthy foods in smaller portions, such as baked chicken breast and green beans. "I look at food differently now because I want to stay healthy. I have so much more energy. I view food more as fuel for my body instead of an obsession or an addiction. I used to love Little Debbie snacks, but I no longer eat them, and I don't crave them at all anymore," he said. "I actually enjoy eating healthy. It's a priority for me because my health is a priority."
Upon reflecting on his new life, he is extremely grateful for Dr. Sartor's expertise and passion for patient care. "I would definitely recommend Dr. Sartor. He is kind and compassionate, and he really cares about his patients. His knowledge and experience make him truly great at what he does. He made the entire process easy. And, he made me confident that I was doing the right thing for my health."
While Brian had initial reservations about the surgery, he soon realized it was the right choice. "I've never regretted the surgery. When I was able to perform my job a lot better and enjoy a lot more energy, I knew I made the right decision," he said.
Brian has advice for future patients considering gastric sleeve surgery. "I would tell people to go for it. The recovery time is short, there is very little pain, and I had a great experience with Dr. Sartor and his team. It's a life-changing experience, and I highly recommend it. It's an easy process, and life is too short not to enjoy your life. You can do so much more with your life if you are healthy."
As Brian entered 2021, his only resolution was to build upon the choice he made in 2016. And while going from a size 48 to a size 32 pant is a significant accomplishment, his inner peace can't be measured. "My weight loss journey made me a better person because it made me appreciate life. It made me appreciate being healthy and all the positive things that come along with that. Before having the surgery, I couldn't have managed all of the physical work that I do now, and I couldn't have started a business. Starting our business has allowed us to do so much for our family, like buying our first home and buying our land," he said. "I feel like I got a second chance at life, and I'm going to stay healthy and make the most of it. I view my life as an exciting journey, and I look forward to it every day."