New Hope Man Loses 325 Lbs from Weight-Loss Surgery
Tim Harriger likes to keep himself active.
“I usually work out six days a week, for about an hour average a day,” Harriger said.
Those workouts can involve hiking in the park, or participating in events like 5Ks or triathlons.
“It’s one of my strategies to kind of help keep the weight off,” Harriger said. “And it’s also something that’s fun that I’ve never been able to do.”
It’s something he was never able to do because, for most of his life, he’s struggled with his weight.
“I’ve done basically every commercial diet that you can think of,” said Harriger, who once weighed 538 lbs. “So I’ve done all that and always the same story. I would lose weight. Gain it back. Lose weight. Gain it back.”
Time to make a change
As he approached age 40, Harriger’s weight contributed to a variety of health problems.
“I was getting a lot of leg infections, basically from being heavy,” he said. “And I would say every four to five months, I would go to urgent care and they would give me antibiotics to get rid of the leg infection.”
Ultimately, he decided to get bariatric surgery in October of 2015.
“Bariatric surgery really refers to weight-loss surgery,” said Dr. Tom Jones, a bariatric surgeon at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. “So people that are undergoing surgical procedures to help them lose weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle.”
Dr. Jones performed the weight-loss surgery on Harriger.
“We did a laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which is where you remove 80 to 85 percent of the stomach and turn it into a long, tubular structure,” Dr. Jones said.
When you combine Harriger’s pre-operation weight loss, and the weight loss from the surgery itself, Harriger lost a total of 325 pounds.
“I tell the patients it’s all about the journey,” Dr. Jones said. “And it’s not really about the operation. The operation is one-step in a very long journey. And we always say, it’s a tool. It’s a tool to help you lose weight and to keep it off over the long term.”
Dr. Jones says that even with weight-loss surgery, people have to make significant lifestyle changes. About one in five people gain all of their weight back over the course of a decade if they don’t commit to healthier habits.
“I’m Still Doing Pretty Good”
In the three years since the weight-loss surgery, Harriger has been able to keep off the pounds. He’s currently at 238 lbs.
“I can run without stopping,” Harriger said. “I’m not that fast, but I can run without stopping. So that’s a pretty big perk for me.”
He will put that perk to the test on Aug. 25 when he participates in his third triathlon.
“It’s been 3 years since the surgery and I’m still doing pretty good,” he said.