For one Bronx couple, weight loss is truly a team effort.
Married couple Latoya Taylor-Martinez and Terrance Martinez of Soundview have together lost a total of over 160 pounds several months after having bariatric surgery at a local hospital and making changes in their lifestyle.
Taylor-Martinez said that she and her husband both underwent bariatric surgery, a procedure that shrinks the stomach by over 70 percent at Jacobi Medical Center around Valentine’s Day.
Dr. Ajay Chopra, chief of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at Jacobi, said the surgery reduces hormonal impulses to eat, and along with lifestyle changes, will typically over time reduce the weight of those who undergo the procedure.
It was the first case he has seen of a husband and a wife having the surgery on the same day, according to Chopra.
It is fairly common for partners to both have the surgery, but typically one does the procedure first and then the other follows, said Chopra.
“We wanted to do it together,” said Taylor-Martinez, adding “He could be my biggest support and I could be his.”
Taylor-Martinez said that going through with the procedure simultaneously helped them ease some of the concerns that accompany any surgery that features general anesthesia.
She said that after attending educational workshops on bariatric surgery, they believed they were making the best decision for their family, including four children and two foster children.
“My diet and eating habits changed…it is like we are all on this journey together,” said Taylor-Martinez of life after the surgery, explaining that the entire family has cut out fried and fast foods, and exercises together at a nearby park.
When the couple completes their weigh loss journey and are at healthy weights, they are going to renew their wedding vows, she said.
In 2006, when they married, she explained, they didn’t look the way they wanted to look and could not have the kind of wedding they envisioned.
“Now we can have the wedding of our dreams,” said Taylor-Martinez.
According to Chopra, bariatric surgery is usually performed on patients who are morbidly obese, typically those weighing 100 pounds or more over their ideal body weight with or without complications, and sometimes less if they have medical conditions.
Patients who have the surgery, which can now be done in minimally invasive ways through small keyhole cuts, oftentimes suffer from medical conditions associated with obesity including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and high cholesterol, said Chopra.
Sleeve Gastrectomy, which is the most popular procedure under the bariatric surgery umbrella, takes a stomach that is in the shape of a large pineapple and cuts it into the shape of a banana, said Chopra.
“There is less space in the stomach to hold food,” he said.
Another type of surgery known as Gastric Bypass, which has been performed for over 30 years, creates a smaller stomach with a staple. This leads to hormonal changes that decrease hunger.
Gastric Bypass is especially helpful in resolving Type 2 Diabetes, said Chopra, with 85 percent of the patients with the condition who undergo the surgery eventually no longer requiring any medicine, said Chopra.