Why have Bariatric Surgery?

“Why would you have Bariatric surgery when all you hear about is horrific stories?”

That is the most common question that I get asked when people find out that I’ve had Bariatric surgery. The look of absolute horror always surprises me. Of course I was scared! Any surgery can have side effects. But I could barely walk, my legs were swollen, and I had constant migraines… what kind of life was that?
But it makes sense. Think about it. If you were scrolling through your Facebook feed and you saw a comment like, “I lost another two pounds this week and things are going well.” Would you even give it a second thought? But if you saw a gruesome image of a sickly skinny woman describing her struggles after bariatric surgery and not being able to eat and having a feeding tube… would you remember it? Of course, its human nature.


It would make a dramatic impact on how we viewed bariatric surgery. But the reality is that less than 1% of people have these horrible side effects. And if you asked them if they would have had the surgery after all the struggle, they would probably say yes. The few people in my support group that have had some issues that required a corrective surgery said it was still better than suffering with the burden of obesity.
Like any disease in the media, you need to learn more about obesity treatments to really make an informed decision. Bariatric surgery is not for everyone. I know it was the right choice for me. I encourage you to do your own research. Seek out those individuals that have had bariatric surgery and ask them about their experience. Then talk to your medical provider. Empower yourself!

My 6 Month Hiatus

What I’ve Been Doing

I needed time to adapt to the “new” me!

This journey has been crazy! After Christmas, I decided to take a break from documenting my journey. I needed time to figure out what to do with my new life. I lost 140 pounds and now I needed to switch to maintenance mode. Many of my mentors were running marathons, hiking mountains, travelling and REALLY living! I, on the other hand, was lost. I had more energy but didn’t really know what to do. I wanted to be thinner/healthier, and I was… now what? I had been so hyper-focused on getting to my goal weight that I forgot to consider what I would do once I got there.

I tried walking and working in some running. I did the Color Run, it was fun, and it will be a cherished memory. But, I just can not see myself running in events regularly. I tried hot yoga and shocked myself at how well I did on my first attempt. I liked it but the local classes don’t mesh well with my current work schedule. So this past March, I decided to join the gym. I decided to do it right this time. I paid to have the owner show me how to put together a workout routine and show me how to properly use the machines. To my utmost surprise, I LOVE it!

JP logo

Thanks to JP I am in the best shape of my life! I have abs! I challenge myself every time I hit the gym. I NEVER thought I could ever like working out. I am NOT saying that I feel wonderful every time I go to the gym, but I always feel better when I leave. I relish wearing form-fitting and colorful workout clothes. Since I have been going to the gym, I feel stronger, happier, and more positive about my life in general. I highly recommend JP Fitness Center! The equipment is in good condition and everyone I’ve come in contact with there has been friendly and pleasant. I love doing cardio while looking out the huge second-story windows!

JP fitness 1

Now I’m excited! I’m back and more focused than ever. I am moving forward to discover what’s next for me. Of course, I’m going to take my time and enjoy all the blessings that each day brings. I hope you will continue to join me in this journey!


bariatric surgery

Amazing Skin Removal Surgery!!!

I had the most amazing skin removal surgery!


I must tell you the story of my amazing skin removal surgery. After losing 130 pounds, I was still feeling horrible when I looked at my body in the mirror. I had worked so hard to lose all this weight and now I looked like a Shar-pei!!! A HUGE apron of fat hung down my legs and I was horrified and had trouble hiding all the skin into my pants. I tried so hard to focus on the positive; I was healthier, I felt better, and I did look better in clothes. But, I couldn’t feel pretty, not with all the disgusting  and often smelly skin rolls!

So I decided to take action. I researched online and discovered that many people get the pannulectomy procedure. A pannulectomy removes just the skin of your lower abdomen that hangs down. This can be combined with a tummy tuck and/or liposuction to tighten the muscles along the mid-line of your abdomen and remove fat. But I discovered something even BETTER! The corset procedure.


Amazing skin removal surgery

Dr. Alexander Moya

This amazing skin removal surgery is called the Corset Body Lift, invented by Dr. Alexander Moya. Dr. Moya’s procedure removes all the excess skin of the lower chest, upper and lower back, and hips. The result is a more hourglass silhouette. I have to admit, I was skeptical but the pictures on the website gave me a glimmer of hope. Check out Dr. Moya’s website at:






skin removalAfter extensive research, I knew I had to meet Dr. Moya to see if I could qualify for the Corset Body Lift procedure. So I scheduled an appointment and brought my husband.  His office, at Lewisburg Plastic Surgery, in Lewisburg Pennsylvania, a mere 2 1/2 hour drive from my home. After my first appointment, I KNEW I wanted this skin removal procedure! Dr. Moya was obviously deeply passionate about helping individuals like me that struggled with excess skin after dramatic weight loss. He sat and spoke with my husband and I for over an hour. He answered every question and his enthusiasm was infectious. I left the office fully confident that this was the answer to my skin issues.

Click here to view more information about the procedure!



I won’t tell you that the surgery was easy or painless, but it has only been six weeks now since the surgery and I am so glad I did this procedure! Dr. Moya removed NINE pounds of skin!!! I am now within my ideal BMI range (gasp) and have a body that I never thought would be possible. Dr. Moya is my fairy godfather that made my wish come true! I may actually be able to wear a bikini this summer.  See my results so far:

skin removal

skin removal

You can see that there is a scar but its fading so fast! Some areas that you can’t see only have a thin pale white line. I now have a small waist, flat stomach, and I could not be more impressed with the results!  If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/becomingbariatrical or comment/email this site.

Gastric bypass, weight loss, bariatric

TSA Travel Troubles

TSA Travel Troubles

gastric bypass, weight loss, bariatric



I must share with you my recent TSA travel troubles. I had gastric bypass just over a year ago. I have lost 130 pounds! This makes me so HAPPY! I recently had to travel to Miami for business. That’s when an incident occurred that really shocked and humiliated me. We all know that people have some MAJOR skin issues after a significant weight loss. I was under the misguided impression that my lower abdominal skin was well disguised under my clothes. I never gave it much thought. It was expected and I have already met with a plastic surgeon to have it removed.



On the way home from Miami, I was going through a very busy security line to get to my gate. I was with four other colleagues and was enjoying chatting as we made our way to the security scanner. I was the last of our little group to go through the scanner. While my colleagues patiently waited on the other side, the scanner lit up yellow as I passed through. I was stopped and told to go back and get re-scanned. I was confused. I was questioned; “Are you wearing a belt?” “Do you have anything in your pants pockets?” “Is there something hidden in your groin area?”


gastric bypass, weight loss, bariatric

Of course, my response to all these questions was a “NO”. The TSA agent had me step to the side, in full view of the crowd, and patted me down. She pulled up the front of my shirt to just under my bra line and bent over to study the front of my pants and groin area. By this time, my colleagues were laughing and chiding me. I was EXTREMELY embarrassed. The entire security line was halted and all the people were staring.


As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, the TSA agent pulls my pant waistband forward and a bit downward exposing part of the expanse of my loose skin! She visibly grimaced and quickly pulled the front of my pants back up. Then asked, “Do you have anything hiding under all of that skin?”



gastric bypass, weight loss, bariatric


REALLY? What would I be smuggling? I wanted to cry, I wanted to run away, but most of all I was ANGRY! A simple apology or even a little privacy in this situation would have made a huge difference. I strongly urge you to use this as a cautionary tale. Be aware of this possibility. I never even imagined that my skin would appear as a large yellow area of concern on the body scanner. I am writing TSA to make them aware of this issue and providing them with some much needed suggestions of how to deal with some of the more sensitive issues of our bariatric population!


Your Weight Matters Convention!

Your Weight Matters Convention in San Antonio, Texas #YWM2015



#YWM2015 , bariatric, obesity


On August 13th -16th I had the privilege of attending the “Your Weight Matters” Convention presented by the Obesity Action Coalition (aka OAC).  This was an incredible event!  Over 500 people attended and celebrated the OAC’s 10th year of “giving voice to the individual affected by the disease of obesity and helping individuals along their journey toward better health through education, advocacy, and support.”

With Storify capturing real time tweets, posts, and pictures we were able to enjoy and share our experiences…

Your weight Matters, #YWM2015 , bariatric, obesity

My husband and I attended as many fun, enlightening, and entertaining sessions as we could. At times it was a struggle to decide between two fascinating presentations. They were really THAT good! Some of our favorites were the Event Welcome “Our Journey: Taking a Stand Together” by Michelle Vicari and Lloyd Stegemann, MD, Merrill Littleberry’s “Learning to Enjoy Your Journey through the Progress, Pit Stops and Potholes.” and Mira Rasmussen’s “All Movement Counts: Activities to Work Into Your Day” … I never imagined that by pacing around the room while you are talking on the phone or checking facebook on your phone just 2 hrs a week (3-5 minutes at a time) can add up to a 9 to 12 lbs weight loss in a year!!!

The BEST part was meeting inspiring people like…

My idol and food savior MICHELLE VICARI from the best blog “The World According to Eggface” (Check out the link on this blog)  She made both my husband and I cry tears of joy, truly a warm and caring person!

Your weight matters, #YWM2015 , obesity, bariatric, #theworldaccordingtoeggface, Michelle Vicari

Robanne Robin, author of “Half My Size” (her journey of losing 150lbs) and one of the most energetic and encouraging people I have ever met! She even made my husband want to exercise in the morning!

your weight matters, #YWM2015 , bariatric, half my size, robanne robin, #getyourstrongon,

your weight matters, #YWM2015 , bariatric, #getyourstrongon, robanne robin

And not to mention, enjoying the walks along the River Walk in San Antonio!

your weight maters, #YWM1025 , bariatric, obesity

This Convention delivered exactly what it claimed, “Our Journey. Restore. Refresh. Renew.

Can’t wait for next year in Washington D.C. … will you join us?

For more information:





bariatric surgery, gastric bypass, sleeve

Becoming Mentally Strong

It’s been 10 months since my gastric bypass, I’m struggling to find balance! I wanted to share something that has helped me ….

bariatric surgery, gastric surgery, sleeve13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do~

I stumbled upon a lecture series by Amy Morin, LCSW. It was exactly what I needed at exactly the moment I was having trouble with my motivation and focus on my journey to become healthier and take control of my life. These 13 things re-framed and re-focused my attitude!

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

If you mope sit around feeling sorry about your current situation or how other people are treating you it’s a complete waste of your valuable time. Embrace responsibility for your role in your life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

Do NOT allow others to control you, and don’t give someone else power over you! Stop saying things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because you need to understand that you are in control over your own emotions, you can filter what you say,  and you can choose how you respond.

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

Don’t resist or avoid change. Instead, welcome positive change and be willing to be flexible. Remind yourself that change is inevitable and believe in your own ability to adapt.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

You can’t change the fact that you are in a traffic jam or you have to pay taxes. Focus on what you can control in your life. Recognize that sometimes, the only thing you can control is your attitude.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

Embrace the fact that you don’t need to please everyone all the time. Don’t be afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. You can strive to be kind and fair, but you can also handle other people being upset if what you need to do doesn’t make them happy.

bariatric surgery, gastric bypass, sleeve

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

You don’t need to take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Take the time to weigh the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and make sure you fully informed of the potential downsides before you take action.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

Spending your valuable time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different is futile. Acknowledge your past and remember what you’ve learned from it. However, don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, live for the present and plan for the future.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Accept responsibility for your behavior and learn from your past mistakes. As a result, you won’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, you can move on and make better decisions in the future.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success

Appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. Why should you be jealous or feel cheated when others surpass you? Instead, recognize that success comes with hard work, and if you are willing to work hard you can also succeed!

bariatric surgery, gastric bypass, sleeve

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Never view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. Be willing to keep trying until you get it right!

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Believe that you can tolerate being alone and don’t fear silence. You can be alone with your thoughts and you can use downtime to be more productive. Learn to enjoy your own company and then you aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time. You can be happy alone!

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything

Try not to feel entitled to things in life, it just makes you miserable. You shouldn’t assume that others will take care of you or that the world must give you something. Instead, look for opportunities based on your own merits.

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Whether you are working on improving your health or trying to run a 5K, you can’t realistically expect immediate results. Instead, apply your skills and use your time to the best of your ability and understand that real change takes time!


bariatric surgery, gastric bypass, sleeveFor more information:





Cheese O’s …. YUM!

My New Snack Obsession is Mr. Cheese O’s

cheese o's, bariatric, gastric bypass

cheese o's, bariatric, gastric bypass


I stumbled upon this tasty snack at my local Target Store.  My daughter and I loved the convenient single serving bag. It felt almost indulgent to eat an entire bag of something and get 10 grams of protein for 150 calories.



The blurb on the back of the bag claims:


“Since 1931, Sonoma Creamery has made quality, hand-crafted all natural cheeses inspired by the agricultural bounty of California’s Wine Country. Mr. Cheese O’s is a tasty, gluten-free, low-carb, protein-packed treat for work, school or play — a healthy, crunchy on-the-go snack!”

So far, I’ve tried Original, Parmesan, Cheddar, Zesty BBQ, and Sweet Chili. Surprisingly, I have liked them all. If I had to choose my favorite I think it would be the Sweet Chili, but only because, for some reason, I love the sweet heat since my bariatric surgery. I don’t know why, but my surgery has definately changed my taste buds in some very strange ways!

I have also heard that for those of you that are lactose-intolerant or have become less tolerant of lactose after bariatric surgery these snacks work well.


cheese o's, bariatric, gastric bypass

In addition to the great taste there are Nutritional Benefits:

  • 100% real cheese
  • Organic quinoa and other ancient grains
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No preservatives
  • Gluten free
  • No artificial hormones
  • No corn or wheat
  • Just 150 calories per pack
  • 10 grams of protein per pack
  • 25% of daily calcium per pack
  • No trans fat
  • 0 grams of sugar
  • 6 grams of carbohydrates per pack
  • Mumbo-jumbo-free label with a short, clear and pronounceable list of ingredients.

You can purchase them at many retail stores, including: Target, Costco, and even Amazon.com.

Or directly from the Sonoma Creamery website at:




A guest article by Carolyn Almy…. an amazing inspiration to us all!


I guess you can say that I never gave up on losing weight. I had been overweight since I was eight years old. I became morbidly obese in my 20’s. At the age of 55, I weighed 285 pounds. I was a wreck. I was on medications for high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, acid reflux and high cholesterol. I was pre-diabetic and had several trips to the ER for chest pains. I guess at 55, with my youngest child graduating from high school, I had had enough. I decided that it was my time to take my life under control. That is when I made the decision to have Gastric Bypass surgery. The best decision that I have ever made. The decision that helped me change my life.

I had missed out on years of opportunities to participate in activities with my friends, husband and children. Opportunities to ride all the rides at an amusement park because I was too large to fit in the ride itself. Opportunities to hike our beautiful glens, gorges and waterfalls that our area has so many to offer. Opportunities to just get outside and enjoy the day because the weather was too hot, and I would sweat like crazy from obesity. Not to mention, all the times I did attend events and felt so ashamed of who I was, because I was the fattest person in the room. Being obese was a job in itself. The mental part of it is so consuming. Constantly thinking about losing weight, which diet I should try this week, what people think/say about me and worst of all, what I thought of me!

I had always imagined that one day, I would be beautiful, intelligent, kind, and thin. The problem being, that I was all of those things except that I was fat. I had to accept the fact that I was who I wanted to be in all aspects except one. I could not accept my body and decided to change that. I wanted to reinvent myself physically in order to accept the entire package. That is when, after much research, I found the best bariatric program in my area. I found confidence through that bariatric program. I finally asked for the help that I needed, and got that help from friends, family and my bariatric support family. lt took so much courage (I had never considered myself courageous) to ask for help, and even more courage to admit to myself that I was, and always will be, a food addict.

July 8, 2013, was the first day of my reinvention. That was my first visit to the UHS Bariatric program. I had my intake with our wonderful psychologist Mickey (although she is strict beyond words, she has become my rock and my friend). I promised myself that when I walked through the doors of her office, that I would NEVER look back again. I would only look forward to my new self. I went through 3 months of losing the much dreaded 5% required for the surgery (I was required to lose 14 pounds and actually lost 42), meeting with the nutritionist (who, like Mickey is so strict, but has also become my rock), countless support group meetings and meetings with my surgeon. As grueling as it sounds, I actually enjoyed all of this. It made me feel great about changing. I already felt like a new person. It helped me deal with the people who doubted that this was the right choice for me. That is when I decided right then and there that I would do this MY WAY, and didn’t owe ANYONE an explanation as to why I was opting to have weight loss surgery. This was MY time to shine…..My choice!

I had my surgery on September 12, 2013. I can’t say that it was smooth sailing. I did have a complication. One that can happen with ANY surgery. I was bleeding out and had to have a second emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. Please don’t let this discourage you from having this surgery. It can happen in any surgery at any time. There is always a warning on every surgical form that I have ever signed pre-surgery. It just happened to me. My recovery was a couple weeks longer than the usual, but I recovered well. It was tough going for the first couple of weeks. Like most bariatric surgical patients, you get those days when you wonder…what the heck did I do. That passes, and you get into your routine.

So, here I am, writing about my journey in June of 2015. I can’t tell you how much my life has change. I can find, not one negative aspect to having this surgery. NOT ONE! I am truly living my life as I had always imagined. I have achieved that one thing that I was lacking…I am thin. Actually I am 156 pounds thinner. I have gone from 282 lbs (July 8 2013) to 126 pounds. I wear a size 4/6, and am off all of my medications. I am healthier, happier and more active than I have ever been in my life.

Since my weight loss I have gone to Universal Studios and Disneyworld. I have ridden EVERY ride in those parks and have lots of room to spare in the seats. I have hiked trails that have been more challenging that I ever thought that I could possibly handle. I walk into events, stores and meetings with confidence knowing that I am the person that I have always imagined that I could be. I can also say that I am a runner (who would have thought). I am being kind and true to myself first. I am a better wife, mother and friend because I take care of me. I don’t have those nagging fat girl conversations in my head that I had for so many wasted years. I am not invincible, but I know that I have done everything that I could do to try to prevent the diseases that I was headed for at an early age. I still may die of one of those diseases (something’s gonna get ya in the end anyway), but I know that I’ve done my part to try to prevent them for as long as I can, AND live a better quality of life while I’m still young enough.

I hope that you find inspiration in my story. I love to share my journey and hope that this helps you make the decision to become the healthiest person that you could possibly be. I thank my friend Tonya for giving me the opportunity to share my story. She is truly an inspiration, and has so much to offer you with her website. Please don’t let your weight get in the way of living the life you have always imagined that you could live.




phantom fat

Are you haunted by Phantom Fat?

Do you look in the mirror and still expect to see a larger person… you may be haunted by phantom fat!


gastric bypass, weight loss, sleeve, wls


It has been eight months since my gastric bypass procedure. I have lost 122 pounds. You would think I would be reveling in my smaller size. But, for some reason, it just doesn’t feel REAL to me! I am still expecting my larger size to be reflected when I look in the mirror. I did some research, and I am not alone in this feeling. “Phantom Fat” is the phenomenon of feeling fat and even unacceptable after weight loss.


Realistically, I knew I would never look like a model. I thought I was completely prepared and expected skin issues. But I figured that being able to wear smaller sized clothes would make up for it. I did NOT expect to feel repulsion when I looked down at my abdomen! In my case, my face, shoulders, and legs look great but my stomach still looks huge to me.


gastric bypass, weight loss, sleeve, wls

The Issue

When you experience phantom fat, it is difficult for you mind to overcome all the years of negative reinforcement of your body-image. It’s like phantom limb syndrome when people lose a limb but still feel it and even experience pain from the missing limb. You can fear that the weight loss won’t be permanent and you will eventually regain the weight. Retraining your brain CAN take years.

If it gets to the point that it significantly interferes with your daily activities, are constantly looking in the mirror, or are avoiding intimacy with a partner then please seek help!

A body image expert Thomas Cash, said “You need to find ways to enjoy your body as you’re losing weight. Don’t let the number on the scale define your self-worth. That number is arbitrary. Your body is with you forever.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jean-fain-licsw-msw/body-image_b_1652490.html


gastric bypass, weight loss, sleeve, wls

What you can do about phantom fat;

I found an article on ObesityHelp, by Cathy Wilson, ACC, CLC and she suggests;

1) Take photos of yourself. Compare yourself to other people and objects in the photo.

2) Try on your clothes you wore when you were heavier to give yourself a better perspective.

3) Ask someone that is with you in a crowd to point out someone that has a similar body size as you.

4) When shopping, try on what size you think you are vs. what size actually fits you.

5) Study yourself. Force yourself to be accustomed to how you look now.

6) Take your measurements and log them to show how much your body has changed.

7) Really pay attention to people’s compliments. Don’t dismiss them! Accept them!

8) Trace yourself on butcher-type paper and really look at it.

9) Revisit places where you felt too large to fit into. How do they feel now?

10) Appreciate all the pounds you have lost. You have to know that you can’t lose large amounts of weight and not experience a dramatic change in your body!


I know all these facts in my mind… I just need to internalize them deep into my heart!



Amazing New Weight Loss Procedure!

Dr. Christopher Gostout pioneers an amazing new weight loss procedure!

new weight loss procedure, bariatric, gastric bypass


Christopher Gostout, MD

Dr. Gostout of the Mayo Clinic is developing a minimally invasive weight loss surgery for patients who aren’t good candidates for gastric bypass.  This Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty is a 2 hour outpatient procedure for overweight patients looking to lose up to 40 pounds.    This new technique is for people who would typically not qualify for gastric bypass surgery ( BMI range of 30 to 35).  This may help overweight individuals looking to change their lifestyle and prevent health problems. Unlike my situation… I had morbid obesity. That being said, I cannot judge anyone looking to improve themselves and take control of their health!


Watch the NBC News Footage

The Procedure

The Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty  procedure restricts the stomach without traditional invasive surgery. What happens is a mechanical suturing device attached to the end of an endoscope that’s small enough to fit through the esophagus. The flexible instrument is carefully introduced from the mouth to the stomach. Then, a single row of sutures make almost a “sleeve: of sorts.  This makes the the stomach much smaller so the person will feel full much quicker and for longer. Of course, patients are still put through a screening process and have nutrition counseling for weeks before the procedure, like other weight loss procedure.



new weight loss procedure

The Cost

This new procedure is now estimated to cost about $10,000. Which, would be about 1/4 the amount for RNY gastric bypass surgery.  However, it is not currently approved by most insurances so it may be too pricey for many qualified patients. Dr. Christopher Gostout and Dr. Barham Abu Dayyeh started the clinical trial  for this procedure in 2012 with 10 patients. But the news is spreading rapidly. Dr. Gostout and the Mayo Clinic team have trained doctors from Boston, St. Louis, Miami, Texas and California to perform this procedure.


Of course, this procedure is not a miracle cure. Just like any other weight loss procedure, it requires lifestyle changes including regular diet and exercise. But a perk of this procedure is that it can be reversed, repeated and adjusted to fit a person’s individual needs.



For more information: