Hi everyone and Happy New Year!

My name is Sue Smith and I lead the South Coast Support Group in Portsmouth once a month, for people who have had weight loss surgery, are considering it, or who are waiting to have it. Everyone is welcome, no matter who their bariatric provider is. I had a gastric bypass in 2008 and my life started over again – an infinitely better one.

At the support group, we discuss many topics including our successes, fears, and hopes for the future and, most importantly, the health and social benefits that weight loss surgery can bring.

One of the many topics that comes up time and time again, is the virtually unanimous feeling of – ‘I wish I’d had it done sooner.’ My voice is usually the loudest!

Making the decision to have bariatric surgery can be daunting, leaving you to think about all the ‘what ifs’. You may have carried out tons of research on the topic but not worked up the courage to contact a provider or, maybe you have only just started taking your first steps into the world of weight loss surgery. There is plenty of information available online, some providers will offer free information evenings, which offers the chance for you to meet the surgeons, find out more about bariatrics from the experts and to get your questions answered. Something else you might find useful is to join a support group, like the South Coast Support Group, where you can meet people who are already on their weight loss journey and can share their experiences and advice with you.

What life will be like afterwards is often one of the biggest questions people ponder. I would say to anyone considering weight loss surgery: ‘put yourself first for once’. You deserve to be healthier and fitter so that you can enjoy more of the things in life that matter to you most. Be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint, and ask for help if you need it. Life after weight loss surgery, for most people I have met, begins again the way they have always dreamed of. I know that is one hundred per cent true for me, personally.

Since starting their weight loss journey many of the group members have seen improvements in their mobility and many have been able to stop taking medication for high blood pressure, type 2 Diabetes and high cholesterol. Returning the CPAP (for sleep apnoea) machine is also a very welcome benefit for many. For some of us (myself included) being alive is the greatest benefit of all, as the risks of not having weightloss surgery were completely outweighed by the benefits.

So, what is the deciding factor that prompts people considering weightloss surgery to go ahead? It is different for everyone but the most common reason I hear is, that they couldn’t face another year of yo-yo dieting and the prospect of developing all the associated health problems that obesity can cause. They simply don’t want to wait to become the person they really want to be anymore. In 2018, I will be participating in the #dontweight campaign. It is something I feel very passionately about, for obvious reasons!

If you would like more information about the South Coast Support Group, please contact me at: sue.smith@streamline-surgical.com or call me on: 07585977487