Ron Lester was an actor in movies and television, starring in such films as Varsity Blues. Lester weighed in at over 500 pounds when he decided to undergo duodenal-switch surgery because of his obesity.
For Ron Lester, the path to health was not an easy one. Known throughout Hollywood as a young John Candy, Lester’s identity in TV and movies relied on his size. Once he transformed his body, Hollywood lost interest in him as an actor. Suddenly, Lester had lost more than his weight; he had lost his sense of identity and his means for making a living.
While most of us do not rely on our looks to make a living like Lester does, our identity is tied to the way we look and Lester’s story highlights the reality that obesity is not just an appearance issue. As we lose weight, many things change. Some of these changes may be things that we enjoyed, brought us comfort, or gave us recognition. Inevitable changes in these areas may not always be welcome and preparedness is essential.
Ron Lester chose to go through all of these changes without support from people who knew what he would face. For this reason he was unprepared for the changes to come. On the Obesity Help forum he wrote, ‘I have found out just what it is that I had done to me. I had the Biliopancratic Diversion and Duodenal Switch.’ This entry was made eight years after his surgery.
Since his surgery and after coming to terms with both the welcome and unwelcome changes it made in his life, Ron Lester has more of an inspirational attitude towards life and about himself. Ron is now healthier than he was in the past. After his impressive weight loss of 350lbs, he now maintains his weight with a healthy diet and fitness routine.
If nothing else, his story highlights the need for bariatric surgery patients to initiate and maintain contact with others who have experience with the type of surgery and can share what to expect as a result of the procedure. Although your weight loss journey is unique, it can be made easier and more predictable by participating in a support group both before and after your surgery.