Jesse (Jesus) Ponce Counts His Blessings, and the Pounds Lost
Jesse (Jesus) Ponce likes to say that he is “63 years young.” But in 2016, his body was saying otherwise.
Jesse was 350 pounds with diabetes and chronic kidney disease, and he was on a myriad of medications for these and other medical issues.
“For 7 months I had to wear a Life Vest (portable defibrillator) because of my congestive heart failure.”
In July 2019, he had bariatric surgery. With the help of his family and the support system provided by the team at the 360° Weight Management Center, Jesse has lost 150 pounds and, as he says, “feels amazing!”
Here, Jesse reflects on his journey and shares some advice for others looking to change their life like he did.
When did you join the Hawaii Pacific Health 360° Weight Management Center at Pali Momi Medical Center?
I joined the program in January 2018, and not once have I regretted my decision.
What health conditions did you have prior to joining the program?
I had many chronic conditions including diabetes, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. Not only is my weight better managed now, but I am off all but one of my medications. Before having bariatric surgery, I was on 13 different medications, including insulin for my diabetes. Since surgery, I have not had a blood sugar reading above 100.
What was your lifestyle like prior to joining the program?
I was somewhat active, although my weight wouldn’t allow me the kind of healthy lifestyle that I wanted.
How has your life changed since joining the program?
If there is one word I could use since joining the program, it would be “WOW!” Having bariatric surgery was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I am now 205 pounds, with a BMI of 29, and I feel amazing. I have not been this size since before my freshman year of high school!
I have more energy, I'm active in the gym, and I am doing things I wasn't able to do before, like hiking, biking, and even taking helicopter rides. I knew I had made it when, upon boarding a flight, I didn’t have to ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extender! That was a “TOTALLY awesome” experience.
What other healthy changes have you made in your life? For example, do you enjoy eating healthy food? Do you have a favorite activity?
Nutrition continues to be my primary focus, and I try to include protein-focused foods with every meal. I live a low-carb lifestyle, which has been easy considering there are so many low-carb recipes and replacements out there.
I love going to Central Oahu Regional Park and riding my bike with my granddaughter along the numerous beautiful trails. That is something I never would have been able to enjoy before joining the program.
What would you tell someone who is considering joining the program?
For anyone considering having bariatric surgery, my advice would be to make sure you have a strong support system. Before you start the 360° program, take some time to make the decision since it is a lifetime commitment to lifestyle changes!
Once you do commit, this may sound cliché, but take it one day at a time. Be open to the tools and recommendations the 360° team gives you because they work. It won’t always be an easy journey, but stick with it! And that’s also why I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a strong support system. Attend the support group meetings as often as possible, and bring your support person too! You’ll want to have someone there to help you through the tough times, but also to celebrate your achievements!
Bariatric surgery along with the lifestyle changes have really helped me to achieve my health and weight goals, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be on my new, healthier journey.
Published on: September 18, 2020