Growing up in Alabama, Roosevelt “Tre” Ford was always around rich Southern food. Sundays meant big meals with family and friends, and the table was always plentiful.
“We are a part of a big church community, and every Sunday, my mom would have friends over from church to enjoy a big meal,” says Tre. “It was the way we grew up.”
Tre was a football player, and his activity and training kept him fit. But when he stopped playing, and started a career in the recording arts, his weight started to creep up.
I was writing and recording music in LA, and there was always food around,” he remembers. “You’d spend all day recording a track in the studio, eating during breaks, and then leave at 2 am only to stop and get food to bring back to the hotel room.”
Tre began traveling a lot, performing across the world with a singing group, Hillsong. “At the time, I weighed 526. I was buying two airline seats for every trip,” he says.
But it wasn’t until an annual trip to Disney with his family Tre knew he needed to do something about his weight.
“Every year, we’d go to Disney as a family for Thanksgiving, and that year, I couldn’t fit on some of the rides,” he says. “I told myself that by next year, I’d lose enough weight to fit in any ride. It was the wake up call I needed.”
Tre’s cousin had bariatric surgery in Alabama, and became a resource and source of inspiration for Tre. He decided to explore bariatric surgery in Philadelphia at Penn, and met with Dr. Korus, who explained the procedures. Together, they decided that the gastric sleeve procedure would be the best option for Tre.
“I started meeting with a dietitian, completing all the tests required and learning new ways to eat,” says Tre. “I was ready for the change, but I knew it would be hard work.”
Tre, who was 28 at the time, didn’t have too many medical complications – and if he did, he didn’t want to know about it.
"I was only concerned with what my life would be like after I lost weight. If I had any medical problems, I asked, ‘Will they go away if I lose weight?’ and if Dr. Korus said ‘yes’ I didn’t even worry about them,” he says. “I was determined to lose weight, so I knew any health concerns I had would be gone.”
Tre had surgery in 2011, and since his surgery – and all the changes in his lifestyle – Tre has lost more than 200 pounds.
“I’ve stuck to the plan, I’ve added exercise into my life again, and I am conscious of everything I eat,” says Tre. “Since surgery, I’ve also become a father, so being healthy isn’t just for me anymore – it’s about being there to see my child grow up, and being there for my wife.”
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