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Struggle with CPR inspires ER nurse to finally take action

Michael Isaacs of Northport had gastric sleeve surgery and never looked back

Michael Isaacs, 41, of East Northport, is pictured

Michael Isaacs, 41, of East Northport, is pictured in February 2016, when he weighed 356 pounds, and in a more recent photo, showing off his 145-pound weight loss. Photo Credit: Ilene Isaacs; Newsday / William Perlman

Michael Isaacs

41, East Northport

Occupation Registered nurse

Height 5-foot-11

Before 356 pounds, February 2016

After 215 pounds, October 2017

Michael Isaacs says although he was overweight in high school, he was active in sports.

“I wasn’t small, but didn’t consider myself fat.”

In 2011 when his weight reached 310 pounds, Isaacs decided to pursue weight loss surgery. As part of the pre-op process, he lost 25 pounds. It was so successful, he decided to forgo surgery and continue losing on his own. But losing the weight wasn’t Isaacs’ problem; it was keeping the weight off that was challenging.

One day at work, a patient suddenly needed lifesaving measures. “I was doing CPR for 30 seconds and thought I would die. I said to myself, ‘How can I be a leader here in the ER when I can’t perform a basic lifesaving skill?”

He saw a weight loss surgeon who urged him to not commit immediately, but instead come for monthly visits until he made a decision. That decision happened the morning after the 2016 Super Bowl when Isaacs’ scale registered 356 pounds.

“I said, ‘That’s it. I’m done. I can’t get into my clothes, I can’t walk up stairs.’” He had gastric sleeve surgery and lost 40 pounds the first month. After losing 177 pounds in about 10 months, Isaacs thought he looked almost sickly.

“So now I’m putting on muscle mass,” Isaacs says. “My goal is to increase muscle, not so much weight, and have a low body fat percentage.”

About the surgery, he says, “I have no regrets, not one.”

Isaacs has a protein shake and Greek yogurt or two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. He prepares his lunches in advance — usually chicken or steak with brown rice. Dinner can be filet mignon and asparagus. Isaacs says the important thing for him is portion control. He has only four to five ounces of whatever he’s eating and tries to keep it protein based. He indulges his love of chocolate with Bark Thins, and he snacks on protein bars if he’s working out that day. He also follows the three-bite rule. “If you want a piece of cake, have a bite. But then sit for a minute and then have another bite. Savor it, and enjoy one more bite. After three bites, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need the next nine bites?’ The taste will be the same as the first.”

Isaacs goes to the gym four days a week and lifts weights for 90 minutes. The other three days he does yoga.

“If you’re contemplating bariatric surgery, see a surgeon and just get information. You don’t have to commit.”

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