Tim Harriger is no stranger to weight loss.

From Jenny Craig to SlimFast to Weight Watchers, he has tried every weight loss method on the market, with mixed results.

“I’ve always been big,” Tim explains. “At 14, I was already 250 pounds. Then in my 20s, I lost about 150 pounds. But after that I ended up gaining back over 200.”

At his largest, Tim, who lives in New Hope, tipped the scales at 538 pounds. In the following bariatric surgery patient testimonial, Tim shares how bariatric surgery at Park Nicollet helped him lose over 300 pounds and how he’s continued to keep the weight off.

The wake-up call: Why Tim considered bariatric surgery

In his 40s, facing health issues and leg infections due to his weight, Tim made the decision to look into bariatric surgery.

“I told myself if I was still struggling with my weight at 40 I’d look into surgery,” he says. “It was a real wake-up call for me when my doctor said I might not live to see 50 – and definitely not 60 – if I didn’t lose weight.”

Starting the journey: How Tim found a team to support his weight loss goals

Tim’s doctor, a Park Nicollet physician, referred him for weight loss services at the Park Nicollet Bariatric Surgery and Weight Center. There, a team of dietitians, nurse clinicians and physical therapists work together with the patient on the issues surrounding emotional eating difficulties. They treat the disease of obesity as a whole. And because of that, the care plans created for patients lead to sustained results.

Making important changes before bariatric surgery

For Tim, the weight loss journey would begin even before having surgery.

“My doctor set a goal for me to lose 50 pounds before the surgery,” he recalls. “He also provided a plan to make that weight loss goal attainable. I ended up losing 60 pounds.”

Patients in the program aren’t always required to lose weight before they have surgery. But if pre-op weight loss is part of their plan (like it was for Tim), they’re always supported so that they can be successful with it.

“We have a combination of lifestyle changes and medications that can help patients lose weight before surgery,” says Jennifer Vesely, MD, the medical director at Park Nicollet’s Bariatric Surgery and Weight Center.

Tim’s weight loss surgery results

Tim lost 325 pounds between his pre-op weight loss and what he shed following surgery. But this weight loss didn’t happen overnight or without effort – it took ongoing commitment from Tim, and support from the team at the Park Nicollet Bariatric Surgery and Weight Center.

“Most patients lose weight consistently throughout the first 9 to 18 months post-op,” Dr. Vesely says. “But then some of the hunger and cravings can start to return. That’s when we offer additional lifestyle changes, medication management or even psychotherapy. These can help patients maintain their weight loss over the long term.”

Tim stuck with the program, and not only lost a large amount of weight, but also freed himself from obesity-related health problems.

“I’m a different person,” Tim says. “It’s made my health problems go away. My blood pressure went down. My sleep apnea is gone. I stopped getting leg infections.”

Keeping the weight off after bariatric surgery

Getting bariatric surgery played a major role in Tim losing enough weight to turn his health around. But he says it’s the ongoing changes he’s made to his lifestyle that’s allowed him to keep that weight off – and what’s really made the difference.

“The team at Park Nicollet have made these changes very easy to follow,” he says. “They provided the plan about what to eat and how much, and they helped me with a workout schedule. I follow it to a T and it works.”

Tim now exercises roughly six days a week. And he’s even tackled 5K runs and triathlons. But even though crossing those finish lines have been great, the real prize, he says, has come from inside.

“I had to decide to do this for myself because I wanted to change,” Tim says. “Some people think that surgery is an easy fix. But you have to work for it. 80% of it is just keeping the weight off.”

Photos: Bariatric surgery before and after

Tim Harriger lost 325 pounds and continues to keep that weight off by sticking with the lifestyle changes he’s made.

Interested in medical weight loss and bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery can be life-changing for people who are ready to become healthier, more energetic versions of themselves. Every patient’s weight loss journey is different. At Park Nicollet’s Bariatric Surgery and Weight Center, we’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that may include surgical and nonsurgical options.

Then, we’ll support you every step of the way – encouraging you at the start of your journey and providing follow-up care to help you keep the weight off. And to make the process as easy and convenient as possible, we offer a range of care options, including video visits with your team of weight loss experts.