getting myself back

Getting Myself Back After WLS

December 6, 2017

The title is a little bit misleading because I was never really lost. I wasn't really getting myself back because I've never changed who I am as a person. However, I was aware of the changes in thoughts and opinions of those around me, and I became more aware as my excess weight came off.

About My Background, Before WLS

I need to give a bit of background. As a child and young woman, I was always thin. I had natural jet black hair, pale skin with green eyes. I was always active and loved to set fashions, not follow them. I was turning heads wherever I went.

Then, in my thirties and forties, 5-10 pounds of added weight per year caught up quickly. I noticed that not only were heads not being turned, but there was the opposite effect. I found it difficult to catch someone’s eyes. I worked at the airport and passed hundreds of strangers each day. I would try to catch their eye and give a gift of a smile. It became a daily game of mine. It was an interesting experiment, as almost all would turn away.

I was completely invisible at almost 300 pounds!

Despite my weight, I truly believed I was happy in my skin. I had a good marriage, a successful career, and the most amazing son. I thought I had accepted that my weight was just the result of years of travel, work and eating out a lot (which it was) and that it was just a part of growing older (which it wasn’t). I did not realize that I was suffering more on the inside than I allowed myself to accept.

It really wasn’t until after I began to lose weight, that I began to see things more clearly.

Getting Myself Back, After WLS

Fast forward to several months post-surgery. I began to become visible again at the airport and in life. I saw heads turning again! Everywhere I went, people who knew me kept telling me how fabulous I looked. In fact, complete strangers acknowledged my transformation. Everyone I knew wanted to talk about how I lost the excess weight. It is a sad reflection on society, but one that emphasizes the realities of the world we live in.

I have finally accepted that I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was in my own skin for many years.

I am still not at my goal weight, but I am much happier than I was. What I find important is that I am healthier. I feel great and I have more energy.

I enjoy shopping for clothes again. I no longer need medication for blood pressure and my cholesterol meds have been cut to 1/2 the lowest dose.

Every day is a part of my life’s journey. I do not feel that I am “dieting” nor do I feel that the surgery was the answer. Surgery is just a tool. I have changed so many aspects of how I live my life. Many small changes that add together to a much bigger change. I focus on giving myself the important nutrients I need to function at my best and try to get some form of exercise in each day. I am the best “me” I have been in almost 20 years. Although I never changed, I really am in the process of getting myself back!


Jeannie O'Brien became a member of ObesityHelp in February of 2017. She spent years trying to lose weight with yo-yo dieting before she came to the conclusion she needed to reach out for help in her struggle. She had Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) on November 4th 2014 with Dr. Joshua Long at The Bariatric and Metabolic Center of Colorado. She has since lost more than 85 pounds and has dedicated herself to keeping the weight off.