GOSHEN — Jennifer Knisley knows weight loss surgery was the right choice for her. Four years after a sleeve gastrectomy, she is exactly where she wants to be with her weight and body mass index. She said she also has all the tools she needs to manage her health for a lifetime.

“I needed to get my life under control so I could be a factor in my family’s life,” said the Goshen mother of two. “I didn’t want to be the mom who couldn’t climb stairs without getting winded.”

At a peak weight of 265 pounds, Jennifer’s BMI was twice as high as the normal range for her 5-foot, 3-inch frame. Coupled with high blood pressure, she figured she was teetering in the danger zone.

“I needed a complete restart in life,” she said.

Knisley had tried other wellness programs, diets and fitness routines on her own. But none had worked for her. That’s when she and her husband went to Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction and learned about gastric sleeve surgery.

“I know people say bariatric surgery is a quick fix — the easy way out,” Knisley said. “For me, the surgery was just a tool.”

Knisley was determined to use all the tools her weight reduction team gave her to get ready for surgery. She followed her pre-surgery plan to the letter, lost more than 40 pounds and set her mind to permanently change her lifestyle.

“Whether you choose surgery or a medically managed program, we educate you about food, exercise and resources that can help you be successful long-term,” said Kathy Meier, nurse practitioner and Bariatrics Program coordinator at the Center for Weight Reduction.

A complication-free surgery gave Knisley the boost she needed to stay motivated and disciplined in her new life. Weight started to come off easily, and she lost a total of 140 pounds.

Today, she focuses on healthy food choices, has an exercise routine that fits her life, sets realistic, challenging goals, and leans on a support group to keep her motivated and disciplined.

She constantly encourages her family and friends to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Her whole family joins her for walks with the dog. Friends signed up for Crossfit memberships with her. So did her 12-year-old daughter, who loves the program.

With her weight stable and a healthy BMI, Knisley said she is right where she wants to stay for the rest of her life.

“I still follow exactly what I was taught at the Center for Weight Reduction,” Knisley said. “It’s changed my life — and my family’s — forever.”

Liz Fisher is a marketing specialist with Goshen Health.

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