Hear from a WLS Patient in Her 20s

Article By: Rachel Ignomirello, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LDN

Rachel Ignomirello is a Bariatric Dietitian and Board-Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management.

Young patients considering bariatric surgery often navigate a complex landscape of concerns. Beyond the operation itself lie questions about the impact on future life events like pregnancy, the need for lifelong supplements, and the social dynamics around choosing a surgical path for weight loss. These individuals must balance the excitement of a new beginning with the gravity of a substantial lifestyle change. As a bariatric dietitian, I have the privilege of guiding patients through this transformative journey. Recently, I spoke with one of my younger patients, CG, who at the dawn of her adulthood chose to take control of her life through bariatric surgery. CG graciously agreed to share details of her journey with us, providing a look at the realities of undergoing a bariatric sleeve procedure in one’s 20s.

1) The decision that started it all. CG's battle with weight was lifelong and difficult. "I've struggled with my weight my entire life," she reveals. Her turning point came when traditional weight loss methods continually failed her, and she realized she needed a lasting solution not just for herself but for her ability to be present and active with her family. "I tried every fad diet, pills, and shots, and nothing was working," CG recalls. With the support of her family, who were behind her every step of the way, she felt empowered to make this life-changing decision.

2) Navigating social perception. In a society where weight and health are often subject to public opinion, CG initially wrestled with concerns about societal acceptance. She confides, "I was at first [concerned], but then I realized that this is the best decision for me and my family." It's a testament to CG's inner strength and her determination to prioritize her well-being over external judgments.

3) Urgent health concerns & the path forward. The decision for surgery wasn't solely influenced by her lifelong struggle with weight, but also by a pressing health issue — high blood pressure, a daunting condition for someone her age. "Well, I knew if I continued down the path that I was currently on, I was probably going to die of a heart attack at a young age, leaving my kids without their mother," she says, her words a sobering reminder of the stakes at hand.

4) The transformation post-surgery. Since her sleeve surgery, CG has experienced significant health improvements. "I have near-perfect BP now. I am able to bend over and tie my shoes without getting out of breath... My journey has just begun, and I can't wait to see where I'll be 6 months from now," she expresses with optimism. It's these milestones that underscore the profound impact of her choice.

5) Guidance & inspiration. CG's decision was fortified by the success stories around her, particularly that of her mother, who had previously undergone surgery. "My mother had undergone surgery years ago, and it changed her quality of life," she recounts, acknowledging the influence of witnessing such positive outcomes first-hand.

6) A unique perspective. Addressing the specific challenges faced by younger patients, CG speaks openly about the societal pressure and judgment from peers. "Being judged by your peers for making or choosing the easy way out. Which is not the case," she states firmly, dispelling myths about bariatric surgery being a 'quick fix'.

7) Redefining life with a new diet. Life after surgery has been an adjustment, particularly with diet. CG explains, "The diet can be a little challenging; you just have to get creative with your food." This creativity has not only helped her adapt but has also become a source of enjoyment.

8) CG’s heartfelt advice. Reflecting on her experience, CG offers advice to those in similar shoes. "I would definitely weigh all your options and talk with your support people and make the decision for you," she advises. For CG, the surgery was not a mere medical procedure; it was the best decision for her well-being and a step towards a life of active engagement with her family and the world.

CG's story is a powerful narrative of challenge, choice, and change. Through her words, we see the journey of a young person bravely choosing a bariatric sleeve as a path to a healthier, fuller life. Her experiences shed light on the unique aspects of undergoing this transformation at a young age and stand as a beacon of hope and inspiration for others facing similar struggles.

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.