Making a commitment to losing weight | Wear the Gown

Dr. Webb’s two forms of surgery restrict the amount of food a person can eat or produces a mal-absorptive condition in the body.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — The marines. No finer, fitter, fighting force in the world. But one former marine, once away from the discipline of the corps, saw his weight balloon to 450 pounds.

“He came to us because he could barely walk. He could barely work. His knees were wearing out. The orthopedic surgeon told him, you’ve got to lose weight or we’re not gonna be able to fix your knees,” Dr. John Webb said, director of the bariatric program at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs

Dr. Webb’s two forms of surgery restrict the amount of food a person can eat or produces a mal-absorptive condition in the body, and he is quick to point out it’s not a quick fix.

“We’re not selling an operation,” Dr. Webb said. “We are selling a program. The program involves dietary instruction and education and we teach people what to eat and how to eat and how much to eat.”

And it also means Dr. Webb had to stand up to an ex-marine who struggled with the program.

“He became upset,” Dr. Webb said. “He actually left the office rather upset and showed back up, a few days later with some tears in his eyes saying, ‘You were right. This is going to take a full time commitment.’ That gentleman right now is about six foot, two inches tall, weighs 220 pounds and he looks like he could start at linebacker for the University of Arkansas.”

The CHI St. Vincent website is filled with stories like that marine’s. Every story begins with the same question from Dr. Webb:

“What is your why? Why are you doing this and it’s because most people want to get their life back. They want their freedom,” he said.

As Dr. Webb says, ‘It’s the freedom of being saddled with excess weight and the cost of chronic health problems.’

“It has been inappropriate for us to look at people who are morbidly obese and say eat less, move more, and you’ll do fine,” Dr. Webb said. “And when they come in heavier three months later, write them off as being lazy. It is a disease when it becomes that severe. It’s a problem. It’s altered physiology. Your body’s not working right.”

The entire program, surgery and all, takes three to five months all designed to produce a lifetime change.

The thing I enjoy most about the program it, seeing what changes on the inside,” Dr. Webb said. “Seeing how people they get to a point where frustration, they’ve given up hope frustration’s taken over. When you get to that point and you reach your hand out for help. We’re here to help.”