My experience has taught me that a comprehensive bariatric program needs to include post-surgery counseling and psychological support. This was a lesson I had to learn on my own, while my bariatric program included plenty of nutrition - and exercise-focused coaching, psychological counseling was rarely discussed. It was only after surgery—when my body was transforming but my self-image was not—that I realized I needed someone to help me navigate the profound shifts in identity. This was crucial to my success as a bariatric patient.
Despite my experiences, research, and conversations with bariatric peers, I had no idea that I would have to grieve the loss of "Fat Gail." I learned that the weight loss process is not about being perfect, but about loving and accepting who I am and who I am not. Now I live for my own sense of empowerment, I live with my boundaries, with choice, with optimism and with great appreciation for the beauty of imperfection.
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I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for each member of my team, especially my counselor, for the aftercare support I received. Their support gave me the knowledge and security that people were there who genuinely cared about me attaining and maintaining bariatric surgery success, my self-esteem, and my self-worth.
My passion is to partner with bariatric post-surgical patients by providing them with education regarding their choices and options. I want to share what I have learned by offering information on relevant mental health services. Surgery is just the beginning. The bariatric post-surgical process is a continuous journey. It is my mission to encourage all bariatric surgery patients to choose and experience the option of counseling so that they too may have a companion to walk beside them on their weight-loss-journey—the journey of inward discovery.