HIS STORY

“If it was on the table, I ate it. If it was in a bottle, I drank it,” said Joe Osipowich, who admits he “lived life hard” and did things his way. Since 2007, he’s had two knee replacement operations and one shoulder replacement surgery. When his hip started faltering last year, he saw an orthopedic surgeon who took one look at him and said, ‘I’m not even shaking your hand until you lose weight.’

“That’s when the bell went off for me,” said Osipowich, who knew his situation was serious and that he had to do something. He did research and opted for gastric sleeve surgery. He admits that two days before surgery he headed to a steakhouse and “went large” and enjoyed “the biggest meal you could imagine” washed down with four martinis.

Osipowich had the surgery and said his recovery went OK. He was on his feet the same day and drank only liquids the first week. He worked up to regular food in smaller quantities. Osipowich says the weight came off easily at almost a pound a day the first two months. Now when he dines out, he eats only 25 percent of his entree and saves the rest. His desire for alcohol has also diminished. Limiting his drinking to a cocktail or two on holidays only, Osipowich has had only six drinks since his surgery in September.

He said that his wife has been a tremendous support and that a niece who is battling brain cancer has been an inspiration. “It’s a new me,” he said. “The old me had a great time, but he’s gone.” Osipowich said he wants to lose another 45 pounds.

HIS DIET

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Osipowich has two scrambled eggs and two pieces of bacon for breakfast and coffee afterward. Lunch can be eight or nine small meatballs with sauce and Parmesan cheese. Dinner can be chicken, pork, or shellfish with vegetables. He sharply limits carbohydrates and drinks six to eight 17-ounce bottles of water daily.

HIS EXERCISE

Osipowich was never an exerciser and that hasn’t changed, he says, but he tries to walk as much as he can while recuperating from the hip surgery he finally had in March.

HIS ADVICE

Osipowich said he was warned “people would tell me I cheated and took the easy way out. But in, fact, I cheated death. I feel excellent.”