Jets coach Rex Ryan shares his experience with lap-band surgery

Football fans will notice a slimmer, healthier Rex Ryan on the sidelines this season.

After reaching 348 pounds, the head coach of the New York Jets decided it was time to take action to improve his health. Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor at, spoke to Ryan about his decision to undergo lap-band surgery – and his 120 pound weight loss.

Though Ryan has been athletic throughout his entire life, managing his weight became a problem as he got older.

“I never had any idea how much I weighed until one day I got on the scale, and I was 348 pounds,” Ryan said. “…I was an athlete in college…I weighed probably about 210 when I played, and all of a sudden…(it) climbed.”

However, despite numerous attempts at using diet and exercise to control his weight, Ryan was unsuccessful at keeping off unwanted pounds.

“I was successful at weight loss probably 50 times, and I gained everything back,” Ryan said. “Just a typical yo-yo deal.”

Ryan said his extra weight made it difficult to do things like climb stairs.  But he ultimately decided to undergo the procedure in an attempt to live a long, healthy life for the sake of his children.

“I want to enjoy my kids growing up, and I want to see their kids growing up, and I think that’s what it was more than anything else,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t for appearance sake or anything else, even though it’s a huge difference. I might not look good, but I know one thing: I look a heck of a lot better than I did back when I was 350 pounds.”

After plenty of research, Ryan ultimately chose to undergo lap-band surgery. During the minimally invasive procedure, a band is inserted around the stomach, reducing its capacity and restricting the amount of food someone is able to consume at any given time.

“To me, there was only one choice, and that was the lap-band,” Ryan said. “Is it drastic? Absolutely. You’re having surgery…(but) I had surgery in the morning, I was home in the evening, and I was at work full time the next day.”

The band is adjustable and can be removed at any point, which was another draw for Ryan. Additionally, he said the procedure has helped him relearn how to recognize when he is full, helping him shed even more weight than expected after the surgery.

“When you’re eating your food, when the band is going to signal to you at some point that that’s enough or you need to slow down… I’ve recognized those signs and when I do, I stop,” Ryan said.

Ryan hopes to encourage other men to look into the procedure as well.

“You’ll be amazed. Not only are you going to look a zillion times better, but your health – like now, I have low blood pressure, low cholesterol, all that now,” Ryan said.

When asked whether he’ll now have more energy to coach out on the field, Ryan replied, “No question.”

For more information on lap-band surgery, visit