From the Couch to the Course: Bariatric Patient Takes on His First Triathlon

In 2015, Marcus Cook weighed 489 pounds. This past weekend, he completed a triathlon.

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“My weight became such an issue, I found myself intimidated when I’d walk into a business meeting. I didn’t want to be photographed and I didn’t want to leave the house.  When I got close to 500 pounds, I said enough was enough,” remembers Cook.

Cook sought out Garth Davis, M.D., a Bariatric Surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.  In September 2015, Cook had gastric bypass surgery.

“Marcus needed more than just surgery. He really needed to turn his life around. I advised him to change the way he ate, to get active,” says Dr. Davis.

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Cook took that advice seriously.

“Dr. Garth told me to do something new every day, and I really took that to heart. A year ago, I sat on the couch all day. Now I swim, I bike, I do yoga, and I run. I surrounded myself with a team of people that I knew were successful with their fitness goals to keep me accountable,” says Cook.

With the help of a personal trainer and an overhaul of his diet, Cook says he watched the weight fall off.  He lost about 200 pounds in nine months.

“Marcus joked that if he lost a certain amount of weight, we should participate in a triathlon together. I didn’t believe he was serious. But as I watched him shed pounds, eat right, and get active, I knew I needed to hold up my end,” says Dr. Davis.

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Part of that meant competing in the 24th Annual Jeff and Brede’s Triathlon in Katy on June 26, 2016. Cook says the 300-meter swim, 10-mile bike ride, and 3-mile run served as a training exercise for his bigger goal. Both Cook and Dr. Davis are registered to complete in the Escape to Miami Triathlon this September in Miami.

“Marcus is an inspiration to anyone who wants a healthier life. The Miami triathlon will really be an amazing accomplishment and I’m excited to support him throughout the race,” encourages Dr. Davis.

For Cook, he hopes to inspire others. “I hope someone will hear my story and say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’ I was nearly 500 pounds, and I made a change.  Right now I’m focused on the Miami race, but I won’t stop there.  I am committed to lifelong healthy living,” says Cook.

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If you’re interested in more information on the weight loss services offered through Memorial Hermann, click here. If you’d like to start your weight loss journey now, click here.

Read more about Marcus’ triathlon journey.

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Tashika Varma