Spencer runs his first marathon after a 200-lb. weight loss after bariatric surgery

Spencer lost 200-lb. after having weight-loss surgery at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Bariatric Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

For years, Spencer and his family would volunteer at The Middle Half Murfreesboro Half Marathon, managing the water stations. Every year, Spencer would cheer on the runners, always hoping that one day he would be one of them. In 2021, his dream became a reality when he ran in this marathon following his weight-loss surgery at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Bariatric Center, a comprehensive center for all your weight-loss needs. 

Losing weight was a challenging experience for Spencer. 

"I've been a pretty big kid all my life, you know? I had tried for years on my own every so often to try to get the weight off," he said.

The father of two was discouraged by the weight-loss methods he used in the past because his weight never dropped below 310 pounds. 

Spencer never had a concrete goal for what weight he wanted to achieve. He would tell his wife he wanted to be at a manageable weight that would let him fit in regular clothes, be active with his children, and not feel fatigued. 

"Sometimes you set out on an adventure and you don't have a clear road map showing how to get there," he said. 

He began to seriously consider weight-loss surgery in summer 2019. His primary care doctor suggested that Spencer consider the surgery and recommended he attend a bariatrics seminar at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Bariatric Center to learn more. Spencer called that same day. 

Personalized care at every step of your weight-loss journey 

The Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Bariatric Center is a comprehensive program that provides tools for patients to use throughout every step of their weight-loss journey. The center has completed over 3,000 bariatric surgeries since 2005, the most in Murfreesboro. Each patient has an entire team dedicated to their care, including one of the best weight-loss support groups in the area. The care team may include weight-loss doctors, dietitians and bariatric surgeons who get to know you as a person, not just a patient. Whether you want to lose weight with a lifestyle change or you are considering weight-loss surgery, the care teams at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford work together with each individual to develop a care plan that is right for you, including nonsurgical and surgical treatments such as laparoscopic gastric sleeve procedure or a laparoscopic gastric bypass.

"We have to look at the surgery itself as a tool because there are other tools that we have. Surgery is the last resort," said Dr. Stephen Rich, general and bariatric surgeon at Ascension Medical Group. Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Bariatric Center care team listens to understand your goals and help develop a personalized care plan that is right for you. "It takes that comprehensive program and being very intentional about what we're doing in order to have long-term weight-loss success."

Starting with an informational seminar can help as a first step

In the bariatric seminars and group meetings, Spencer learned how to set goals for his weight-loss journey. 

"I feel like going to the seminars and talking to the people at Ascension gave us a lot of really good information and tried to instill in us that we had to set goals," he explained.

After attending the seminars, the next step was to schedule his bariatric surgery. In November 2020, the 44-year-old had laparoscopic gastric bypass. This surgery is typically a two-and-a-half-hour procedure with a week of recovery.

At the beginning of 2020, Spencer weighed his heaviest: 385 pounds. Now that it's been a year since his bariatric surgery, he has lost 200 pounds. "I can't tell you how amazing it is to have this literal weight lifted off my shoulders. I'm happier. I'm more energetic. I don't get tired and sick as much," said Spencer. 

Meeting goals with the help of a supportive care teamThis year, his family cheered him on as he ran in the half marathon.

"Weight-loss surgery, in general, allows someone to recapture their lives," Dr. Rich said. 

Spencer can play and be active with his children in a way that he could not before bariatric surgery. He races his son running around the neighborhood, and he goes on bike rides and whitewater rafting. With the help of dietitians and support groups, Spencer developed healthier eating habits and is committed to an exercise routine. 

"There's a lot that you give up,” he said of his lifestyle changes, “but you give that up so that you can get so much more." 

Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Bariatric Center is ready to help you move your weight-loss goals forward. Sign up for a free seminar to find out more.

Attending a free informational seminar in person or online can also help you better understand options, meet doctors in the care team or hear from others like Spencer who have overcome similar challenges.

Talk with a doctor about your health goals. Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford doctors start by listening to your concerns and discussing a personalized care plan that can help you lose and manage your weight for a lifetime. The road to a healthier, happier you begins with attending a weight-loss seminar. 

Attend or watch a free bariatric seminar at ascension.org/TennesseeWeightLoss