October 28, 2020
“Every day is a great day.”
Employees at the FASTSIGNS location in Centerville, Lancaster County draw inspiration from a wall in their office that is filled with quotes from presidents, poets, philosophers, and one of their own--Eric Lansinger.
Since getting a new lease on life through lifestyle changes and weight-loss surgery guided by the Healthy Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery team at Lancaster General Health, every day is a great day for Eric. And he enthusiastically shares that sentiment with everyone he encounters. It is his trademark phrase.
Retirement and a New Beginning
When Eric retired from his full-time job with the postal service in 2016, he tried to reverse some of the unhealthy habits he had acquired through years in a sedentary customer service position. These habits along with hip dysplasia led to weight gain and a less-than-positive self-image. (Eric did have hip replacement surgery to correct the hip dysplasia.)
“I was having trouble picking things up off the floor. I needed to take breaks when walking. I even had to switch to loafers because putting on my shoes was so difficult,” recalls Eric.
He tried to increase his activity level with yard and housework, but unfortunately, found himself in a recliner chair more than he wanted to.
“I knew I needed some help and reached out the team at Lancaster General Health,” he said.
A Journey to Better Health
Eric completed the bariatric surgery seminar and met with bariatric surgeon Dr. James Ku who discussed all aspects of the program, including some honest talk about the possibility of failure.
“I told Dr. Ku that failure was not an option for me. I am older and I wanted to enjoy extra years of life. I guess I sold him,” says Eric, who was 68 when he underwent weight-loss surgery.
Before surgery, like all patients, Eric began his journey by making dietary changes recommended by the team, and starting a consistent exercise regimen. He was diligent about walking with his wife and family, and going to the Healthy Weight Management gym where exercise physiologists offered both expertise and motivation.
“I was immensely happy with the exercise program,” says Eric, who lost 15 to 20 pounds before taking the next step: having the vertical sleeve gastrectomy weight-loss surgery. This minimally invasive procedure reduced the size of Eric’s stomach by three or four ounces, and provided a valuable tool in his goal to add years to his life.
Life After Weight-Loss Surgery
“I felt great. People thought I was 10 years younger,” smiles Eric. “I could move freely without pain. Going up steps was no longer a problem. I could get down on the floor and play with my grandkids.”
“I sold my motorcycle and bought two folding bikes,” says Eric, who now enjoys frequent four to seven-mile rides on local rail trails with his wife
With support from his family, consistent follow-up with the Healthy Weight Management team, and hard work and determination, Eric has been pleased to maintain about a 70-pound weight loss.
At one point when he found himself reverting to some old habits and a bit of weight gain, Eric took advantage of the Back on Track program at Healthy Weight Management. Led by a clinical psychologist with expertise in weight management, the group program offers support and encouragement to people facing similar challenges.
“The Healthy Weight Management team really goes above and beyond to help you succeed,” says Eric.
Advice to Others
When asked what advice he would offer others who have undergone weight-loss surgery, Eric offered a few practical tips:
- Drink a lot of water—stay hydrated
- Eat on a small plate
- Chew many times
- Take a multi-vitamin
- Limit alcohol
- Keep snacks out of the house
- Beware of foods that go down easy
- Surround yourself with supportive people
- Follow up with your medical team
“Above all, be honest with yourself and others. Don’t hide the fact you got the surgery,” he says, feeling strongly that when people know your story, they can be supportive and help you be accountable.
“I was older when I had weight-loss surgery,” he adds, “but it is never too late to improve your health and start living life to the fullest.”