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Numbers don't lie

Couple benefit from weight-loss surgery
Jennifer and Bob Ziebarth have lost nearly 150 pounds combined.
Jennifer and Bob Ziebarth have lost nearly 150 pounds combined.
  Life revolves around numbers. From a date on the calendar to the amount paid for a new home, numbers are everywhere.

For 33-year-old Jennifer Ziebarth and 39-year-old Bob Ziebarth of Minot, the numbers they saw on the scale each day were a problem. With four children 12 or younger, the Ziebarths knew they needed to make a change to live longer, healthier lives. Weightloss surgery at Sanford Health in Bismarck changed their lives.

Unable to walk up the stairs without losing her breath, Jennifer was the first to take action. At 5-foot-5 and 266 pounds with a history of family disease, she had tried everything to lose weight. But diet and exercise just didn’t work.

“I didn’t want to be the parent who was always sitting on the sidelines,” she said. “I wanted to be the parent who was out playing with my children.”

Bob shared similar concerns.

At 5-foot-9 and 300 pounds, Bob, a truck driver for Strata Corp.,
wanted to stay healthy for his children and reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases. Dropping unneeded pounds also would allow him to change his career and attend Minot State University’s newly developed police academy. Bob knew, however, that if he wanted to join the academy, he would need to make some changes.

The Ziebarths began discussing the possibility of weight-loss surgery. Relying on the testimonials of several friends who had undergone weight-loss surgery, Bob and Jennifer decided to explore options. On Oct. 25, 2011, Jennifer underwent gastric bypass surgery at Sanford Health. Through the end of January, she had lost 71 pounds.

“I can finally walk up the stairs without losing my breath now,” Jennifer said. “I also have more energy and a positive outlook on life.”

In the future, Jennifer hopes to weigh 150–160 pounds.

Bob received gastric bypass surgery at Sanford Health less than two months after Jennifer. Almost a month post-surgery, he was already 65 pounds lighter and aspires to weigh between 170–180 pounds.

“If I meet my goal, I will be smaller than I was in high school,” he said. Another perk—Bob is now enrolled in the police academy.

“If you told me to run a mile before surgery, no way,” he said. “Now that I’m in the police academy, we run a mile and a half every other day.” A common misconception about weight-loss surgery is that it’s taking the easy way out.

Patients who are candidates for weight-loss surgery have tried everything else. Weight-loss surgery is just part of the journey. Patients still need to make lifestyle changes for it to be effective.

Bob and Jennifer are doing just that.

“We cut the garbage out of our lives,” Bob said. “We work out five days a week and avoid the drive-thru.”

The Sanford Health weight-loss team provides patients with a wealth of nutritional and lifestyle information post-surgery to help create and maintain a better life.

“Everyone was awesome,” Jennifer said. “They didn’t make us feel like just another face. They answered our questions and truly cared about our well-being. It’s the best experience we’ve ever had at a hospital.”

Click here for more information about weight-loss surgery or call 701.323.5300 or 800.932.8758, ext. 5300.


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