Lacey Man Changes Life; Drops 178 Pounds
Food is now a 'tool to live' for Ron Sudol who had Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass Surgery
Ron Sudol is what he eats.
Sudol, a 31-year-old Lacey native, dropped 178 pounds after being overweight for much of his life, which he called “bland.”
“It was based around eating and going out to dinner. And while that’s fun, it was also my escape,” he said. “When I was happy, I’d eat; when I was sad, I’d eat; when I was bored, I’d eat. It became a sickness.”
But he tried everything from Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers to Fen-Phen and starving himself before he finally decided to move forward with bariatric surgery.
“I am a creature of habit, and when I notice results, I become obsessed and devoted. However after a decade of dieting, nothing seemed to have worked,” he said.
At 365 pounds, Sudol couldn’t even get his feet off the ground, he said.
“One day, I just realized that my weight was just so out of whack. It would be a catch-22 to get back in shape,” he said.
He was too large to workout and on top of that, he had bad knees preventing him from being active.
“I was stuck in a rut,” he said. “I was always skeptical about this surgery. But I can tell you one thing; I wish I did it five to seven years ago. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Sudol had Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass Surgery offered by Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Seun Sowemimo of Central Jersey Bariatrics. He was presented with a variety of weight loss surgeries, which each have their pros and cons. Eating patterns and pre-existing health conditions could alter patient’s choice. He was under a supervised diet through a nutritionist before even being able to elect a surgery.
Preparing for the surgery was the most challenging part, Sudol said, calling it “overwhelming and tiresome.” Many tests were administered prior to going under the knife.
“It is the first real hurdle,” he said. “I always tell potential bariatric patients that if they can get past this phase, the rest is all downhill.”
Recovery was also challenging, Sudol said. Sudol’s stay at the hospital was difficult due to soreness and discomfort. He then had to spend a few weeks at home resting and learning what he can—and mostly can’t—eat.
“But the first two weeks go by very quick, and before you know it, you’re at the gym,” he said.
Now? Sudol is a health conscious. He understands what he is eating and that everything must be accounted for, he said.
“You don’t have to drink water and eat rice cakes,” he said. “You can eventually eat real food, wholesome food that is healthy. Food that everybody should be eating from the get-go.”
Sudol goes to the gym about three days a week, which is more than enough to stay active, he said.
“Getting motivated to be there is the hard part in the beginning,” he said. “But it also helps you feel better, sleep better and have more energy. It truly is something that is needed to move forward with success.”
Since the surgery, Sudol’s life has changed dramatically, he said. Growing up overweight was difficult.
“Children are mean, especially to each other as they have no understanding of consequence at these early ages,” he said. “Trying to understand why “you are the fat guy” is hard to cope with as a teenager, while trying to maintain the faith that life gets better as it goes on.”
Now that Sudol has lost 89 percent of his excess body weight, food tastes differently and plans no longer revolve around it, he said.
“Food is not craved during happiness or sadness, yet a tool to live,” he said. “People look at you differently. People treat you different. Family treats you differently. People you've known all your life will stare at you. Strangers will notice you more.”
There is no shame in weight loss surgery, he said.
“This is a big misconception,” he said. “The whole point of doing this surgery is to "change your life." Change must be needed to get to this point, and change must be needed to move forward in the aspect of eating right, learning about nutrition, going to the gym, being active and responsible.”
Sudol is a Lead Instrument Technician at Oyster Creek Generating Station. His pre surgery weight was 365 pounds with a body mass index of 52.5 and a body fat mass of 172 pounds (47 percent of his body). Now, nine months out of surgery, Sudol is 187 pounds with a BMI of 26.0 and body fat mass of 30 pounds (15.5 percent).