Because Limegrover gets full so fast, he’s careful to eat proteins first — chicken, fish or beef. He drinks a protein shake for breakfast each morning, and has replaced his daily intake of seven Diet Cokes with three protein drinks.
Malnutrition is a real danger for gastric bypass patients, so Limegrover takes daily supplements of calcium and vitamins D and B12.
His job makes his new lifestyle especially challenging. No coach wants to turn down a mother’s cooking on a recruiting visit. And when recruits come to Minneapolis, the team treats them to decadent dinners and breakfast buffets.
Then there’s the constant snacking Limegrover used to do in the film room.
“On Sundays during the season, I used to stop and stock up for the week because I knew we’d be spending all our time in here,” Limegrover said. “So it’d be different kinds of chips, pretzels. It’d be stopping at Sam’s Club, getting that 5-gallon jug of the cheese balls, and I’d eat one after another.”
Those snacks have been replaced with cashews, almonds, string cheese and beef sticks for protein.
“If I have a craving for chocolate, I’ll have a couple bites,” he said. “I won’t have the whole candy bar anymore.”
Limegrover has kept up his exercise. Next month, he plans to run a 5K. His surgeon, Dr. Michael Schwartz, said he’s met his goal of becoming one of HealthEast’s best patients.
“I don’t have any magic operations,” Schwartz said. “The only thing I can do is create a tool that if he uses properly, he can control his weight. Using it properly involves choosing good foods and exercise. He’s just done beautifully with it.”
Limegrover was reluctant to tell his story at first because he figured some people would think he’d taken the easy way out or done something radical.
“In some ways it is [radical] because I can’t go back on it now,” Limegrover said. “But I don’t have any regrets.”
Actually, he does have one.
“I wish I would have had the financial means and insurance to do it 10 years ago,” he said. “I could have been a better coach, better parent, better husband, better son and better friend. Because I’m a totally different person.”
Star Tribune researcher Sandy Date contributed to this story.