Jacksonville Daily Progress
Jacksonville City Councilman Jeff Smith made a decision in November 2006 that changed his life forever.
He decided to tackle his weight concerns by having a gastric bypass surgery and stop being what he describes as "a walking heart attack."
"I had a five year old at the time and I wanted to be able to get around and play with her and at this time I weighed 400 pounds and I was miserable," Jeff said. "I was having trouble with high blood pressure, my knees, and I constantly had no energy."
Jeff said he had tried changing his diet, but it simply was not enough to attain a healthy weight at the time. So, he met with a doctor, and on Feb. 7, 2007, he went under the knife.
Jeff lost 60 pounds in the first six weeks after his surgery.
"I was feeling good about myself at this time, as I was able even at this point, to be off blood pressure medications. My knees didn't hurt as often, and I had more energy which allowed me to participate in more activities with my daughter," he said.
Jeff said the decision was crucial to saving his life.
After a year, he had lost 171 pounds. Jeff now weighed 225 pounds, the smallest he had been since high school.
"I have struggled with my weight my entire life," Jeff said.
Since the surgery, Jeff has maintained a healthy weight, and instead of steak and potatoes he now eats smaller protein-filled meals and snacks, he said.
"I would tell anyone that was serious about getting their weight under control, that are obese, to consider gastric bypass as an option. I am proud every day of the weight loss I have had and have kept off for seven years," Jeff said.
Jeff added that thanks to his decision to better his health, he will have more years to spend with his family.
Those interested in some quality family time at a health-related event may be interested in the 2nd Annual FitCounty Day in the Park.
The event will be from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday April 5, at the Jacksonville Baseball Complex, 1923 Byrd Road.
Several organizations and vendors will be on hand to share information about healthy living.