Being a “bigger guy” wasn’t a problem for Ben Daniels as he was growing up. His size was helpful when he played high school football, but that began to change after he graduated from college.
That’s when his food intake increased while his physical activity leveled off, a trend that continued throughout his 20s. As he gained weight, his attempts at dieting never seemed to work for long.
"I’ve always been a bigger guy, but I was never able to do anything about it other than yo-yo dieting."
Ben weighed 270 pounds when he finished college, and his weight reached more than 400 pounds before he turned to the experts at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s Weight Management Center for help.
In December 2020, Ben chose to have vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), also known as gastric sleeve surgery, through the Weight Management Center.
As bariatric surgeon Dr. Myron Powell explains, “If you imagine the stomach is in the shape of something like a wine bottle, what we do is sleeve the stomach to make it more in the shape of a banana, removing about 80% to 90% of the stomach, causing people some restriction in an effort to lose weight.”
Since his surgery, Ben has lost more than 100 pounds while working toward his goal weight of 250 pounds and continues to manage his weight with his health in mind. While he admits he’s still adapting to a new approach to eating, he’s proud of the tremendous progress he’s made. He’s also grateful to have a valuable resource like the Weight Management Center so close by to help him and others in the community who are looking to better manage their weight.
“We are here lifelong for the patient,” Dr. Powell says. “This is very much like a relationship with your family medicine doctor. If we do start to fall off track a little, there are things we can do to intervene early so that the journey to get back on track is not as difficult.”
Ben, now 32, fills a number of roles in his life. He’s a husband and father, as he and his wife have two young children. In his job, he works as a photographer, videographer and social media marketing specialist for a local nonprofit that supports the blind. In his spare time, he enjoys being a DJ for weddings and special events. His weight loss has made it easier for him to fill all of those roles in his life.
“I can carry the gear I need for work much easier now,” he says. “My knees and back aren’t bothering me like they used to. I can move around a lot better now. I can get down and play with the kids, and if they want to race, you better believe I’m going to win!”