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She Didn't Recognize Herself

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Laura Tenbus

December 7, 2018
Ebony will never forget the day she saw her friend's wedding pictures. She generally avoided being in photographs or tried to hide in the back, but as part of the wedding party, that wasn't an option this time. "I thought that couldn't possibly be me," she said, "I didn't recognize myself." Despite her friend's assurances that she looked beautiful, Ebony felt terrible about her appearance. She had been struggling with her weight for many years, but until that day, she didn't realize how bad it had gotten.

Ebony's weight problems began in her 20's when she unexpectedly lost her mother — this combined with depression caused her to turn to food for comfort. A cycle developed of eating for emotional relief, getting discouraged by her weight gain, and then eating more to lessen her discouragement. She wore baggy clothes to hide her body and secluded herself in her home. "I stayed home all the time," she said, "I didn't get involved in anything." Ebony's isolation only worsened her depression. She felt stuck and didn't fully understand the extent of her weight issues. It took seeing those photos to snap her back to reality — she wasn't happy with the trajectory of her life and it was time to make a profound change.

Ebony did substantial research on bariatric programs before she landed at GBMC's Comprehensive Obesity Management Program (COMP). Despite a two-hour commute from her home on the Eastern Shore, she made her first appointment the day after attending an online information session about the program. "I liked that there were meetups and such a supportive Facebook group; I didn't see that in other programs," she said.

Since her surgery in 2014, she has lost more than 127 pounds, which she likes referring to as "losing a whole person's worth of weight." Now, Ebony actually gets complimented on her appearance. She uses this opportunity to tell people about her experience, something which often takes people by surprise. "A lot of people can't believe that I used to be overweight," she said. Ebony loves telling people how COMP helped her both mentally and physically. Her depression symptoms have improved significantly, which she attributes to her weight loss. "I'm in a better headspace than I've ever been." She says that losing the weight has helped her explore herself and her interests. She has started coaching a cheerleading team and actually goes out with her friends. "I finally have the courage to do the things that I couldn't before."

Ebony is a huge advocate for weight-loss surgery and encourages people who are struggling with obesity to investigate for themselves. She is working towards becoming a nutritionist for bariatric patients to help them develop healthy habits and maintain their new lifestyle. "I truly believe that it changes your life for the better."

If you’re ready to begin your own transformation, or would simply like to know more about weight-loss surgery, please sign up to attend one of our free information sessions!
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