Recently the Obesity Help Conference I met this great woman, Jill. Jill was to speak during the event, but I did not know that, nor did she introduce herself as anyone of importance.
And we just TALKED AS PEERS.
Let me tell you something —
I LOVE THAT.
I love when there is no pretense, no bull, no "Hey I Am Smarter More Important Than You Because I Have Six Degrees In This And Related Fields Already And You Boooooooooore Me" – she just spoke to me. This woman probably would have taken off to coffee and sat for hours to discuss things, because she seemed genuinely interested.
People often introduce themselves to me as Their Very Important Titles, "Sally Smith, Director of ______ , ADHD, MD, PT, OT, PhD, XYZ, etc…AND YOU ARE?" and then they subconsciously roll their eyes and look for ways out of the situation when they realize they are socially mismatched with an unemployed "disabled" college freshman = me. "Oh hi, I am still talking to you!" (Or not. That also happens. Thank you!)
*That said, she's trained to speak to Teh People Like Me so it may have been this as well? (Please don't say it. I get it, please note *subconscious eye-rollers, we (lay people) see it. Also, "Have you lost weight? Changed your hair? Lost a spouse? Stopped eating? You look better than the last time I saw you." Don't do that. It's really, not okay.)
This is what Jill had to say about the Obesity Help Event in her newsletter -
The OH Conference was amazing! Thank you OH, for organizing such a warm, caring, joyful event! So much celebrating of every ones WLS successes! I can't tell you how touched and elated I was to attend the OH fashion show, where so many conference participants got to strut their stuff down the cat walk, enjoying the fruits of their WLS successes while being cheered on as they publicly owned their new bodies! It was truly beautiful to witness so many men and women celebrating their own courage, progress, and hard work. There was also plenty of opportunity for learning and for talking about how the WLS industry can be improved.
There was a particularly lively discussion about what's missing for many of the post-op folks.
Beth S-B. (of Bariatric Bad Girls) and Courtney W. were two very courageous post-op women on a panel that spoke very honestly and directly about how the WLS industry needs to do a better job of standardizing care and helping post-op patients get access to the psychological aftercare services they need to address addiction and transfer addition issues that can plague the WLS community—before AND after the surgery.
Unfortunately, there is no "lap band" for our brain, so it's critical that the WLS industry recognize that the medical intervention of surgery is literally just the first step. The next, equally important step, is to get the kind of emotional and behavioral support necessary to develop healthy (non-addiction based) strategies to deal with day-to-day stress and the eventual return of hunger and cravings after the surge.
This additional step is critical to achieving sustainable, long-term success after weight loss surgery. Thank you Beth and Courtney for speaking to the prevalence of addiction in the WLS community, for wanting more for those who feel alone and ashamed because they suffer from addiction, and for being bold enough to demand aftercare that targets this silent, deadly (and not so secret) epidemic.
Thank you Jill. Really. THANK YOU.