Silver Cross Hospital

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Crest Hill native Michael Washlow admits a turbulent childhood had a lot to do with his weight gain over the years.

 Bouncing between seven different foster homes led to other emotional issues, too. And though he was adopted into a loving family at age 11, his weight struggles continued.

“I think a lot of it was hereditary,” he said. “I know all my siblings have weight issues, and my biological mother has weight issues, too.”

That’s why Washlow tried nearly every diet he could think of – including the most popular commercial weight-loss programs advertised on TV; he even went to a nutritionist. Then one day his mom was looking online and found BMI Surgery at Silver Cross.

He signed up for one of the weekly informational meetings in early 2017. Though encouraged he’d lose the weight, Washlow knew it wasn’t a quick fix either.

“The way Dr. (Christopher) Joyce explained everything, I thought it was going to be really hard. It’s a totally different lifestyle, but I knew it would be worth it in the end,” he said.

In July of the same year, Washlow had laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy surgery at Silver Cross Hospital. The surgery changes the shape of the stomach, creating a “sleeve” to allow food to go from the sleeve to the intestine. This process helps to increase feelings of fullness and allows the person to eat less during one setting.

Before surgery, Washlow weighed 415 pounds; the first few days after surgery were challenging, but the more he stretched and moved around, the easier it became to do so.

With diet restrictions, the weight came off faster at the beginning; the real challenge was motivating himself to work out.

“I actually paid for a personal trainer for a while,” he said. “She would Skype with me once a week and give me workout plans.”

At his lowest, Washlow weighed 230 pounds. Since he started strength training he’s put on more muscle and is now at 239 pounds. The little things he’s able to do now are what stand out to him the most.

“I’m able to crouch and bend my knees and put weight on them,” he said. “I can run now, which is awesome. I can also tie my shoes and breathe at the same time.”

Washlow said the hardest part wasn’t getting used to the diet after surgery – many of the higher protein foods are ones he actually likes. Giving up his favorite foods and sugary drinks before surgery proved most difficult. But, since surgery, he’s stuck with his food plan.

“It’s coming up on two years from surgery and I haven’t had a soda,” he said.

Washlow said despite the challenges, he’d pick surgery again.

“I would go to BMI Surgery again in a heartbeat,” he said. “They are all very friendly. Dr. Joyce explains everything in detail about what he’s going to do, how the surgery works and everything.”

Though he’s not at his goal weight just yet, Washlow remains focused on staying healthy and active.

“Now that I’m putting on muscle, my goal weight is changing. I’m more fit and active than I’ve ever been in my life so that’s really what I’m focusing on.” In fact, Washlow’s amazing transformation will be featured in an upcoming issue of Men’s Health magazine.

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.