Bariatric Girl: Second Chance At Life

Kirsty at RealSelf on 29 Oct 2010 at 11:24am

Wouldn't we all like a second chance a life? For Yvonne McCarthy, more commonly known as Bariatric Girl, and host of WLS - Journeys, that chance was given in the shape of life-altering bariatric surgery.

Yvonne, a serial dieter, was heavy from an early age. Describing herself as big-boned and pleasantly plump, she got through life with some self-esteem issues but not too many problems until she started college. Pressures of college life and fitting in created a stressful situation where Yvonne found comfort in food. Piling on the pounds and becoming a self described "prisoner of [her] weight," Yvonne found what she thought was the perfect diet... love.

For Yvonne, falling--or thinking she was falling--in love was a great weight loss solution. She became extremely, and alarmingly, thin. She started to experience college in a way she never thought she would. Yvonne was third runner-up in a beauty pageant and was made a Phi Mu Alpha sweetheart. She was also treated better than she ever had been before by her peers. Apparently falling in love was giving Yvonne a life she had always wanted.

Except it wasn't. "I really resented the fact that I was being treated so differently even though I was the same person I always was," says Yvonne.

It wasn't only that she was being treat differently; although Yvonne looked great, she was on a very physically and emotionally unhealthy diet. Eating only cottage cheese, tomatoes and crackers for two years may have made her the "new babe on campus;" however, it was unrealistic to think she could maintain that regimen forever.

After college Yvonne gained weight, lost weight and gained weight again through several yo-yo diets. She also got married to a man who implied he would leave her if she gained weight. (Later, he he did leave her when she gained weight.) However, the most devastating period in her life was when she lost her mother to cancer. All of these traumatic periods in her life left Yvonne battling depression and finding escape once again in food.

In December 2000, Yvonne had a "light bulb" moment and began to seek out information on weight loss surgery. She contacted a bariatric surgeon for a consultation and, after getting the approval and support of her father, she decided that she wanted weight loss surgery... possibly more than she had wanted anything in her life.

In May 2001, Yvonne McCarthy had gastric bypass surgery. This, you could say, was the day that Bariatric Girl was born.

Yvonne has written a review of her weight loss surgery, titled: Second Chance at Life.

After successfully losing 130 pounds and keeping her weight stable for 10 years, Yvonne has a few tips to share with anyone thinking of having or having already had bariatric surgery:

  • Make sure you get enough protein. Protein shakes are a must.
  • Take your vitamins daily.
  • Ensure you're mentally prepared.

Yvonne describes having surgery as giving her a "second chance at life," something she never thought she'd have and something that she cherishes. She also wanted a way of giving back and of helping other people who are going through exactly what she went through, because she knows more than anyone how isolating it can be to be obese.

Bariatric girl, the blog, was created: A space where Yvonne could blog about bariatric issues and give information and support to the people that so desperately needed help. Yvonne has since become a celebrity of the bariatric world. She is in contact with hundreds of WLS patients, has a very good following for her blog and now hosts her own show on the WLS channel. Yvonne's compassionate nature and strong link to the subject matter have made her irreplaceable in so many people's lives.

As part of her ongoing journey to help bariatric patients, Yvonne organizes events to show what life after bariatric surgery is and how successful it can be. She recently got together a group of people at various post-op stages and showed all of their before and after photos. In her own words "there wasn't a dry eye in the house."

On a personal note, Yvonne is now the happiest she has ever been. She has a new, loving, supportive and respectful man in her life, she's doing what she wants to do and is helping people in a way that no other could. Yvonne has a way of letting you know that she cares about you because you're a human being, no matter how much you weigh or how you look; that is why Bariatric Girl is the shoulder that so many bariatric patients use to cry on.

Meet and chat with Bariatric Girl on her RealSelf review page.
 

Comments (6)

I am glad Yvonne is so honest and unpretentious about her weight battle. She is a great model for mature and young people to have in their lives. People are so rude, and some simply treat obese women as though they are non-entities - not a real person. I have had a battle with weight at various times in my life, and now I'm 56 and need to lose weight once again. It's a challenge, and I've considered the lap band procedure. I wonder if anyone on this blog has had an experience with the lap band surgery and would be willing to share. Thanks
  • Reply

Hi Rebecca -- Welcome to RealSelf! Here's a link to lap band reviews. Hope that helps and please keep us updated on your progress.

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Thank you Rebecca. WOW you are so nice! People can be very rude no matter what size you are. I have several friends that are successful lap banders!I'm 56 too! I had my surgery at 47 and it was the best thing I ever did.
hugs, Y
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It's amazing how people view us differently just because we happen to be a certain weight. This is a great, and well written, story. Thanks!

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what a great article... congratulations Yvonne thanks for being such a wonderful friend and mentor
  • Reply

Hi Debra, Thanks for your comments. Can I ask, have you had weight loss surgery yourself?

  • Reply