At left: Before, Zlatan at 348 pounds. At right: After, Zlatan at 176 pounds.

At left: Before, Zlatan at 348 pounds. At right: After, Zlatan at 176 pounds.

As a young child growing up, Zlatan Harambasic always had trouble with his weight. So much so, that by the time he was in his teens, he had developed diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and had chronic leg and knee pain. To make matters worse, he was the only member in his family to have metabolic issues.

For years Zlatan struggled to find a weight loss solution that would keep his weight off, but nothing seemed to work. “I kept trying new things and putting off having surgery to please everyone else. Finally, I decided that I needed to do this for me and I contacted the Bariatric Surgery Team at the University of Vermont Medical Center,” said Zlatan.

From the very beginning, the experience was nothing short of phenomenal for him. “It literally gave me a whole perspective and outlook on life” said Zlatan. Working with the staff at the UVM Medical Center, he began by attending an introductory class to become familiar the weight loss program and its requirements, followed by a meeting with Dr. Nancy Silberg (clinical psychologist), Dr. Patrick Forgione (bariatric surgeon), and nutritionist Ellen Evans to develop his plan of treatment. From there, the journey began!

It was decided that the Lap Band® Surgery would be the ideal choice for Zlatan. The surgery would end up being the easy part. “The hardest part for me was adjusting to new foods and changing my eating behaviors” said Zlatan. Fortunately, one of the program requirements is attendance at classes specifically designed to help promote the healthy lifestyle changes necessary for success. In addition, every patient receives a binder full of useful information, tips and resources. One of the most useful resources for Harambasic was the weight loss surgery support group that he attended once a month for a year. “It was a great way to get feedback from others on how to face challenges, to share recipes, exercise tips, and just provide moral support. I always felt so supported by the team” he said.

Life has changed dramatically since then. Zlatan has lost 173 pounds and does not need to take any of his old medications. He goes to the gym five days a week, is an avid runner and hockey player, and most recently went skydiving for the first time.

“I was finally under the weight limit…by 75 pounds! It was awesome “ said Zlatan. “ Dr. Pat saved my life. I have a whole new life now and it feels just great.” he said with a smile.

Learn more about the Bariatric Surgery Program at the UVM Medical Center.

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