200 South Orange Avenue Suite 203 Livingston, NJ 07039-5817
Life Story Jennifer Tripp’s weight gain accumulated later in life, after college. By her late 20s, Mrs. Tripp carried 269 pounds on her 5’4” frame. She rarely exercised and found that over time, even climbing the stairs was difficult. The weight also interfered with her sleep habits, causing sleep apnea. Even worse than these physical limitations, she says, was the treatment she received by total strangers.
“People definitely act differently towards you when you are overweight,” she relates. “They stare in a negative way or make comments. It was very insulting. It got to the point where I stopped going out with my friends, which was difficult for me because I have always been a very outgoing person.”
She tried every diet available and lost a little weight here and there, but it always returned. Her eating habits veered out of control, and she would sometimes stop at McDonalds and order two sandwiches and super-sized French fries for herself, only to feel hungry an hour later. Frustrated with her inability to set limits on her eating, Mrs. Tripp began to explore the option of gastric bypass surgery, a procedure some of her friends had undergone.
Choosing Gastric Bypass Surgery Her search led her to the office of Michael Nusbaum, M.D., F.A.C.S., general surgeon at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Dr. Nusbaum initiated the laparoscopic procedure at the Medical Center back in early 2000. After meeting the surgeon and his staff, Mrs. Tripp decided to have the surgery performed, even though his office was an hour from her home near Princeton.
The surgery went well and her weight loss was rapid. Despite some discomfort over the first four months, she slowly added more foods to her menu and could eat more nutritiously.
In the first month Mrs. Tripp lost 40 pounds, and continued to lose 11 to 18 pounds every month after until her weight reached 122 pounds nine months later.
A New Outlook on Life “There is no food as good as weight loss,” says Mrs. Tripp, who now works at Curves, a women’s fitness center, and encourages others to reach their weight loss goals. “Now everything is wonderful. When people stare now, they mean it in positive way, unlike before. I would wake up and do it all over again.”
Mrs. Tripp has found a new interest in eating right and staying healthy, especially now that she is expecting a baby. When she meets an obese person who shows an interest in the surgery, Mrs. Tripp brings out a before surgery photo to share and offers to tell her story. She hopes that more people learn that this procedure can help to “change their lives.”
Seeking Help If you are considering this procedure, there are three attending surgeons at Saint Barnabas Medical Center who perform gastric bypass surgery. Michael Nusbaum, M.D., F.A.C.S., Bariatric surgeon, (973) 325-9779. His office is located in Livingston, NJ
The Obesity Center Any individual with serious weight problems can now be part of a comprehensive program at The Obesity and Weight Management Center located at the Saint Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center. The Obesity Center has been developed especially for people who have not been helped by other weight loss methods, and those who require lifestyle management before and following gastric bypass surgery. Individualized treatment plans based on specific patient needs include: nutrition counseling, supervised exercise programs monitored by exercise physiologists, psychotherapy, support group participation, and integrative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, hypnosis and herbal consultation. For more information, please call the Obesity and Weight Management Center at (973) 322-7007.