Support from the Y following Bariatric Surgery Has Been Important to My Success

My Y Story: Jeff Kirkland


Jeff Kirkland has always been athletic and enjoys sports. He knows the value of being physically fit from his time in the United States Navy.

As with many of us, Jeff got away from a healthy routine. He started not eating as well as he should and exercise wasn’t a priority. He works in the biotech field and has a wife, son and daughter. His work and family responsibilities got in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially during the pandemic.

“I developed diabetes. I made the decision to have bariatric surgery in March of this year,” he shared. Jeff connected with Dr. Robert Catania, Surgical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Southern New Hampshire Weight Management. “Dr. Catania and his team are wonderful. I had many options on how to move forward on my weight management, bariatric surgery was the best option for me,” Jeff shared.

“It was a huge wakeup call for me when my endocrinologist said ‘if you don’t make significant changes to your lifestyle, you’re only looking at (living) 5 to 10 years (longer). He told me this a year and a half ago. It stopped me in my tracks.  I made the correct decision for myself engaging in this program. I love the Y component. Dr. Catania and Meg, the physician assistant working with us in the program, are a great team and keep me motivated.”

In collaboration with the YMCA of Greater Nashua, Southern New Hampshire Weight Management at Southern New Hampshire Health is now in its third session of a new eight-week weight loss course that features both lectures and exercise instruction. “The local medical community has shown an overwhelmingly positive response to our program, with over 750 weight management referrals in the past year. Obesity continues to be a major challenge for our patient population, and successful management of obesity requires a multidisciplinary team approach. We are committed to program growth in order to accommodate the needs of our local patients and providers, and look forward to sharing additional options with them in the future,” said Dr. Catania.

Medical staff from SNHWM and wellness staff from the YMCA provide patients with a wide range of nutrition, behavioral health, and fitness instruction at the YMCA facility.  The course is designed to empower patients living with obesity to succeed in the difficult process of weight management.

“My family was actively involved with the Y prior to the pandemic. We took a break at that time and I was exercising at home. Now that I’m back at the Y following surgery. This program has helped me get back into the idea of working out regularly and correctly, how to stretch. Each week the Y offers us a sample class from the array of group exercise offerings. I love trying new classes, especially the Pound and Tabata (a high intensity interval training class.) I hadn’t worked out in a long time. Tabata may seem less intensive, but it’s just as intense and burns just as much as many of the other group ex classes,” he said. “You work all the muscle groups and it includes stretching. I really enjoy the introduction of different group exercise classes each week at the Y.” Jeff shares that he also uses the cardio equipment in the wellness center and plays basketball as part of his fitness regimen.

Kim Adie, the Y’s Director of Well-Being, worked closely with the Southern NH Health team in designing the YMCA’s role in this weight loss program. She shares, “This program is a pretty perfect collaboration between the Y and our healthcare partners at Southern NH Health. Achieving and maintaining weight loss requires that patients make lasting lifestyle changes. Part of that is exercise and if you don’t like exercise or have never exercised before, it can be tough to find something to get you moving. This program provides patients with the opportunity to not just try the Y, but experience out our amazing group exercise classes and staff in hopes they find something they enjoy doing.”

Jeff has met with great success in his weight loss journey. He has lost 65 pounds and looks forward to losing another 60 pounds. “It was fun when I checked in at the Y and the front desk staff person said my photo (on the Y’s membership system) didn’t look like me! She said I look totally different than when my photo was taken in April. Being a part of this program has been life-changing. Our classmates support each other fully. I have had the full support of my wife in the decision making process and now. Food and me were best friends. I had to make some important decisions to be healthy. I want to be here for my future grandchildren,” he shared. “I also love the positive feedback I get from friends. It’s nice to hear.”

To learn more about this program, click here:

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