TYLER (KYTX) - We've watched one of our co-workers transform over the last few years. Lee Oliver is now 200 pounds lighter. At 400-plus pounds, he faced a big decision with his health on the line.
Now this was a decision lee didn't take lightly. He's struggled with his weight since he was in elementary school. He's 37 now. When his doctor asked him if he'd ever thought about bariatric weight loss surgery, it's an option he decided to consider.
"My medical doctor says 'Lee if you don't lose most of this weight, you won't see 40.' That's kind of scary," says Lee Oliver.
Lee Oliver weighed 430 pounds at his heaviest. "I tried to lose weight, a few diets. Nothing helped," says Lee.
He was wearing 4XL shirts and 52 jeans. The weight made getting around tough and working out, even tougher.
"When I was that heavy, walking a couple of feet would wear me out," says Lee.
So, in August 2012 lee decided to take his doctor's advice.
"The surgery I had was the vertical sleeve. It is a little different than the gastric bypass. They literally cut out 2/3 of my stomach so I don't have the capacity to eat like I used to anymore," says Lee.
Doctors told Lee it would be a lifestyle change, and it has been.
"In my spare time, I pretty much live here. I enjoy working out. I really do," says Lee.
Lee now spends at least 3 days a week weight training at XTC in Tyler and he walks 4 miles several days a week. Like a lot of us, his job in master control involves a lot of sitting, but lee makes moving part of his day now.
"Now I actually stand a quite a bit and I will actually get out of the chair and stand, stretch my legs, walk up and down the hall a few times," says Lee.
His healthy choices don't end once his workout or work does.
"Because of the surgery, I can't do process foods very well. Fried foods they just make me feel ill, so I avoid them," says Lee. "I don't do white rice anymore. I do a lot of quinoa. It has a lot of protein, of course a lot of vegetables, a ton of water, organic protein bars," says Lee.
One of the best health benefits, Lee now enjoys at 235 pounds is he's free of sleep apnea. "I am told I don't snore anymore. I sleep through the night. I don't wake up a thousand times a night," says Lee.
Now Lee is happier and healthier than he's ever been. Lee feels confident in his decision to have the surgery and that he won't go back to a life of fast food and little exercise. He actually wants to incorporate more exercise into his day, more sit-ups and crunches to keep the mid-section slim. Lee is working to lose 25 more pounds now.