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Struggling with her weight since high school, Erin Bradley of Lowell dieted and lost excess pounds, only to gain it all back again. Frustrated and worried about her health, she decided she needed a life long, sustainable solution.
On the advice of her physician, Bradley found that solution with help from the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery at Lowell General Hospital. In June of 2017, Bradley opted to undergo a procedure called a sleeve gastrectomy. Just over a year later, she’s lost 164 pounds and is preparing for her first half marathon.
At the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery a team of physicians, nurses, nutritionists and therapists tailor a treatment plan designed to educate and support patients in developing healthy new lifestyle habits before surgery, to ensure success in the long run, post-surgery.
Bradley began preparing for her surgery several months in advance, meeting with her care team to learn what to expect and how to best achieve her weight loss goals. “It’s very effective,” Bradley says. “By getting your head into the game and making changes beforehand, you are ready for what comes after the surgery.”
During a sleeve gastrectomy, a surgeon removes about 85 percent of the stomach so that the remaining part takes the shape of a tube, or sleeve. The procedure restricts food and calorie intake and also prompts hormonal changes that further assist with weight loss.
With her support team behind her, Bradley went all-in on her lifestyle change. She committed to healthy eating and exercises daily, running, lifting weights and attending exercise classes at the center with fellow pre- and post-surgery participants.
“Making these changes are for your future, your family and friends, but most of all it is for yourself to gain health, and with that also comes confidence,” she says. “I’m a lot happier because not only do I finally feel healthy, but I’m exercising a lot which makes me mentally happier. I am making better food choices too, so that this becomes a lifestyle change and not just an easy fix in which the weight is going to creep back on.”
Bradley’s dog, Dugan, an Airedale terrier, has been her constant companion through her weight loss journey, and their frequent walks helped prepare her for a long-desired trip to England and Scotland this past May.
“I could walk all day over there,” she says, “which was not something I could’ve done when I was overweight.” Now Bradley plans to run her first half marathon in Portsmouth, N.H., in November.
“My friends and family are all amazed and proud of me,” she says. “It has inspired some people that I know to try to make their own changes in their lives. If my story helps one or two other people to make a commitment then I hope I can pay it forward that way.”