Roux en Y Gastric Bypass

Shawn's "Before and After" Photo

Shawn Truppo lost 137 pounds with bariatric surgery. Here, he shares his struggles with weight loss and what he learned from his experience.

My name is Shawn Truppo. I am 32 years old, a Social Studies teacher in Trenton, NJ and married with a two and a half-year old and an eight-month old.

I spent my 20s on the seesaw of weight loss and gain. I tried both the fad diets and tried-and- true methods, all with the same results. I would go to the gym every day for six months, lose 50 pounds and then gain back 55. Adkins for eight months: drop 45 pounds, gain back 50. Weight Watchers: 50 down, 50 up. Every few years the gain and loss would repeat, but the trend line remained the same: Every two years, the scale would push 10 pounds higher. 

Between college and my 30th birthday I went from a top weight of 230 to 285. It wasn’t until my son turned one and my wife and I had a second child on the way that I finally decided I needed to change for good. That brought me to the Penn Bariatrics Program.

I chose Penn because of their reputation for excellence and the thoroughness of their program. Other possibilities I researched did not have the same the rigorous testing and pre-surgery guidelines as Penn. While it seemed like endless hoops to jump through beforehand, I firmly believe it was the preparation before bariatric surgery that made this a successful journey for me.

I began to diet two weeks before surgery, which coincidentally was the day after Thanksgiving – my goodbye kiss to gluttony. The Friday after Thanksgiving I weighed in and was shaken to find myself heavier than ever, at 302 lbs.

December 10, 2014 was surgery day. People ask me all the time, “Were you scared?” I can honestly answer that I was not. I was far more scared of the fact that in my immediate family there were a collective three heart attacks, two bypass surgeries and a half-dozen stents, and I was much heavier than any of them ever were.

My surgery went perfectly, and I was awake and carefully walking within four hours; however, the next weeks and months brought even better results.

Shawn's "Before" Photo

In six months to the day, June 10, 2015, I reached the end of my weight loss journey: coming in at 165 pounds. I had lost 137 pounds. My 2XL clothes all went in the donation boxes, and I now am able to fit into mediums. My pants went from a 44 to a 30, jackets from 52 to 40, and I am off cholesterol medication for the first time in seven years.

I managed to do this by following every word of advice from the Penn team. I treated this time as if it was my last chance to change, as it probably was. I watched my calories, ate protein and even began running. I will never claim that it was easy, but it was just easy enough that someone that had failed all his life to be healthy was finally successful.

Weight-loss surgery is not for everyone. It is an incredibly personal decision that only you can make for yourself. Although they have all changed their tune now, there was not a single member of my family that supported my decision to have this surgery. Their opinions ranged from “just don’t give up when you diet” to “you’re way too young to do that.” Nevertheless, I knew myself, and I knew what I needed. I don’t have a single regret and would encourage anyone to learn about the program for themselves.

If you're interested in learning more about weight-loss surgery at Penn, sign up for an information session.

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