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Body Mass Index (BMI) is a general indicator of whether or not you are maintaining a healthy weight based on the ratio of your weight to your height. It’s an imperfect scale as it doesn't account for differences in body types. For example, a 5 foot 9 inch bodybuilder who weighs 215 pounds and has a 6% body fat would be labeled obese. And there is already a new scale just for people from Southeast Asia where the ranges are lowered.

While it can be a good indicator of the healthiness of your weight if you fall within certain statistical norms that were used to develop it, it should be taken with a significant grain of salt and should not be used as a substitute for a professional evaluation of your health by a doctor.

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Center for Weight Management
Two locations:

20 Research Place
North Chelmsford, MA 01863

203 Turnpike Street
2nd Floor
North Andover, MA 01845

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Phone: 978-788-7200
TTY: 978-937-6889
Phone: 877-LGH-WELL

Elena & Jose Minaya (from Lawrence)

Husband and Wife Rediscover Health and Each Other Following Gastric Bypass Surgery

Jose and Elena Minaya had struggled with their weight for years. At 313 and 252½ pounds, respectively, both had obesity-related health problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acid reflux. Jose also had sleep apnea and painful varicose veins, and Elena suffered from diabetes and asthma.

Their health issues greatly limited their ability to simply live life.

"I couldn't take a shower by myself or dress myself," Jose admits. "I couldn't walk very much, and I got out of breath when I did. It got so that I didn't like to be around people."

Like Jose, Elena couldn't bathe or dress without help, nor could she walk very well. "I was very depressed," she admits.

In 2012, Elena's primary care physician astutely referred her to Lowell General's Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery. There she learned about surgical options for weight loss and, with Jose's encouragement, opted to undergo gastric bypass surgery performed by Roy Shen, MD, chief of surgery at Lowell General Hospital. Her procedure took place on October 29, 2012, when she was 50.

Three months after Elena's surgery – on January 29, 2013 – Jose underwent gastric bypass surgery himself, also performed by Dr.Shen. He was 56.

When we spoke to them in late July, their transformation was nothing short of remarkable.

At that time, Jose had lost 100 pounds – putting him less than 40 pounds away from his goal weight of 175 to 180. Elena had lost nearly 90 pounds – with just 15 more pounds to go before she reaches her goal weight of 150. Most of their health problems have resolved, reducing or even eliminating the need for medication.

"I feel like this surgery saved my life," Jose says.

They credit the Center's program with teaching them how to make healthy food choices and encouraging them to exercise regularly.

"I think they have the best team, the best program to prepare you [for surgery] and post-op," Jose says. "They have great doctors and nurses, nutritionists, interpreters... they have classes, support groups... they'll follow each patient for life, and they really help you to be successful."

Importantly, not only are the Minayas' bodies lighter but their spirits are, too.

"My life is very different today," Jose says. "The energy I have now is the same as when I was 20 years old. I walk a lot, and I exercise four days a week for an hour, lifting weights."

"My mother just told me a month ago that it's amazing, she can't believe that I look like I did when I was younger," he continues. "And our three children are very proud."

"It's like a second chance, to be reborn," says Elena. "I see life differently now. I feel like I want to go out, buy clothes and get dressed up. I feel younger and have much more energy. And my self-esteem is much better. I feel good in my mind and when I look at myself, I like what I see now."

Jose does, too.

"It's like I've found a new bride," he says, smiling. "And we're on our honeymoon, starting all over again."

READ IN SPANISH.

Click here to learn if you are a candidate for Surgical Treatment and find out when you can attend one of our FREE Weight Management Information Sessions.

2015 Circle Health BallCenter for Weight Management 2014CAREERSMagnet 2012