Sleeve Gastrectomy

Fred's "Before and After" Photo

Last year, we interviewed Fred Jiminez, a weight-loss surgery patient at Penn who'd lost 70 pounds just one month after his sleeve gastrectomy. We caught up with Fred again to see how he is doing now.

For Fred Jiminez, a competitive weight lifter for three decades, eating right and exercising came naturally. He knew what to put into his body in order to achieve maximum strength and performance. 

“I was extremely competitive,” he remembers. “I ate very healthy with a lot of protein and was dedicated to working out. I weighed 275 pounds, but I was all muscle.”

However, as time went on, Fred stopped eating well and working out. As a result, it became harder for him to do what he liked best: coaching.

“I was getting heavier and heavier,” he says. “It was hard to keep up with the girls I was coaching through my softball pitching clinic, and I began having health problems creep up like high blood pressure and sleep apnea.”

Fred tried every diet – Weight Watchers, The Cabbage Soup Diet, Atkins. He even mixed and matched diets to try to make them work for him, but nothing was effective long-term. 

Then, Fred fell and couldn’t get back up. 

“I lay on the ground, not able to get my 472-pound body up off the floor, and I thought long and hard about where my weight had led me and how I needed to reverse this cycle I was in.”

Fred knew he needed to make a change, but it wasn’t until he met Bruce Sachais, a Penn physician who had weight-loss surgery, that he decided to learn if weight-loss surgery was right for him. 

“I met Bruce through the softball clinic, and I hadn’t seen him in a while. When I did see him, he’d lost so much weight I hardly recognized him. It was Bruce that really helped me take the first step,” says Fred.

Taking the First Step

Fred went to an information session at Penn Medicine, and after speaking with his surgeon, Noel Williams, MD, director of the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program, Fred was scheduled for a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. 

“I felt like this was the right thing for me, but at the same time, I knew this was a tool and not a quick-fix strategy. For me, I needed to give myself a no-option way of life. I knew this surgery would change the way I would live forever.”

Fred began his weight-loss surgery journey by meeting with a team of physicians including cardiologists, pulmonologists and, of course, his bariatric surgeon, nurses, dietitians and psychologists. 

“Everyone was amazing and made me feel like part of the team,” says Fred. “There were no surprises, and everyone was always on the same page. It was a great feeling knowing I was in their care.”

After Surgery

Fred's "Before and After" Photo

Fred had surgery in July 2013, and soon thereafter, began to see the weight come off – and his health come back.

“In the first month, I lost almost 70 pounds,” says Fred. “I completely changed the way I eat and look at food.” 

Fred also was able to stop taking his blood pressure medication and start exercising again. 

“I followed my team’s instructions to the tee, and the weight just was melting off,” says Fred. “Weight-loss surgery has changed my perspective on everything I eat. I used to have six eggs for breakfast every morning, and now I am totally satisfied with some yogurt or one egg. I never want to go back to the way I used to be.”

To date, Fred has lost 235 pounds.

He is no longer on medications and no longer needs his CPAP machine to sleep. Fred has started high intensity interval training (HIIT) and continues to lift weights at the gym. He even runs and has completed a 5k race.

For Fred, the weight loss journey has given him regained personal confidence in every part of his life.

“Weight loss has saved me from the embarrassment of asking for a table at a restaurant because a booth was not an option,” says Fred. “Weight loss has stopped me from only wearing sweatpants. I no longer wait in my car while my wife shops; I can do the shopping now. I can walk and run, and look in the mirror and truly love the man I'm looking at.” 

Weight loss has also pushed Fred to look forward to the future and being a great grandfather.

“I have five grandchildren, and I want to see them have children,” says Fred. “I feel like I’ve already added 20 years to my life.”

Take the first step. Register for a weight-loss surgery information session at Penn today. 

Share This Page: