Steve Reinberg loves food. All kinds — pasta, beef, sushi — and lots of it. When eating out, he would eat a 16-ounce filet mignon as well as the unfinished portion of his fiancee’s steak. When eating sushi, he would order five rolls for himself. “I never felt satisfied,” said Reinberg. He attributed his excess poundage to poor eating habits and stressful jobs.
The loss of his father along with his own medical scare and an awkward social event were collectively Reinberg’s wake-up call.
His father’s death at 68 was caused by diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver.
“That shook me up bad,” said Reinberg. Then he had what he thought was a heart attack (which was actually a gall bladder issue). And lastly, at a crowded social event, Reinberg became disgusted with his weight. He was bumping into people and couldn’t move with even a hint of agility. “That’s when I said, ‘Forget it, I’m getting the surgery.’ ”
He opted for gastric sleeve surgery, a procedure in which a small “sleeve” was created from 20 percent of his stomach using a stapling device. The rest of the stomach was removed. Reinberg said the recovery was quick but getting used to a new way of eating was not easy. He couldn’t eat solids for a month but soon learned how to eat smaller portions of regular food. He has subsequently lost 140 pounds. While he previously would clean his plate at a restaurant, Reinberg now brings home a portion or he and his fiancee split an appetizer and an entree.
Breakfast can be egg whites on a whole wheat roll. He’ll have a small Caesar salad with grilled chicken for lunch (if ordering that from a deli, he eats half and takes the rest home). Dinner can be grilled chicken, whole wheat pasta, grilled vegetables or a bunless burger. He snacks on carrots, celery with hummus and sometimes a chocolate bar.
Until the bad weather, Reinberg was walking outdoors two to three miles twice a week.
“Don’t give up. I was an emotional eater and used that as an excuse. Some people say having the surgery was cheating, but I tell them I’ve added years to my life and will be around for my son. It changed my life.”