After nearly 30 years as a gridiron coach, Roy Hall feared being sidelined permanently because excessive weight was interfering with his game plan. The Jeannette Jayhawks head coach had struggled with his size for more than a decade, and had a scorecard full of failed dieting attempts to show for it.
When Hall, 51, missed out on seeing his star quarterback Terrelle Pryor call the plays for the Ohio State Buckeyes because of the physical effort it would take to reach the stands, he knew he was ready for a time-out. "I'm a football fanatic, and it was killing me to miss out on important moments in the lives of my players."
Hall turned to the Bariatric Center at Excela Health. "I had reservations at first," said Hall. "Weight loss surgery seemed like cheating, but Dr. Z (Excela Health bariatric surgeon Mark Zelkovic, MD), explained that surgery is just a tool and it wouldn't be easy to reach my goal. He said if it was easy, everyone would do it. That made sense because that's what I tell my players: if football were easy, everybody would play."
Just as the seasoned coach doesn't talk about his playbook outside the locker room, Hall was quiet about his weight loss until people started noticing the change. "Family, friends and acquaintances started cheering me on – 'Great job, Roy ... Keep up the good work' - they were really supportive."
Since he began the Bariatric Center's program, Hall has shed more than 130 pounds, "I've lost 10 pounds more than the heaviest dumbbell in the weight room. I dropped an entire person!" The health benefits are significant. Hall had been in consultation with Excela Health orthopedic surgeon Christopher Bellicini, DO, regarding the need for knee replacement surgery. "Dr. Bellicini told me that for every pound you lose, you take 10 pounds of pressure off your knees. That's huge."
Hall knows coaches should be good role models, and he hopes his example will inspire some of his players to take better care of themselves. "The football parents' club members know my story and that I'm here for my players. They can see where I've been and what was necessary to change my life. Losers can be big winners when it comes to your health."
Farm living is the life for Mellisa Moore, but the day-to-day physical demands weren’t enough to keep this mother of five healthy. In fact, her busy schedule actually contributed to excessive weight gain as she grazed through each day, rather than pausing for planned meals and family time.
During her first pregnancy 17 years ago, Mellisa gained weight that she never lost; subsequent pregnancies only added more unwanted pounds as well as contributed to gestational diabetes. Add hypothyroidism to the mix, and Mellisa was too tired and too heavy to participate fully, relegated to the sidelines yet barely 30 years old.
Prior to weight loss surgery at Excela Health’s Bariatrics Center, Mellisa topped out at 299 pounds. Since then she’s shed 150 pounds. “I’m half of what I was,” she says.
Beyond the surgical intervention, Mellisa credits the center’s dietitian with helping her reshape her lifestyle and her thinking about food. “Society misleads you with restaurant portion sizes that are the equivalent of two or three meals, not just one. We just overeat and when we see the appropriate portion, we think it’s small or not enough, but it really is enough to be satisfied, not starved.”
Now this 4-H mom is back in the saddle riding horses with her children, and preparing prize-winning pigs for show and sale, no longer fenced in by poor health.