Neysa BeforeNeysa lived an active life. As an elementary advisor for Save the Children, she traveled around the country, teaching other teachers. Her 14-year-old son was a budding athlete, and Neysa wanted to join him on walks and on hikes. At the same time, Neysa had put on weight over many years and was finding it harder to stay active and mobile. Neysa had contemplated weight loss surgery for quite a while, and now she decided it was time to make a change.

The first step of Neysa’s weight-loss journey was self-compassion. “I had to really learn to love myself fully, every bit of myself for who I am, what I look like, and be ready to release that weight,” Neysa said. “That was the journey I was on up until I met Dr. Smith.”

Neysa BeforeNeysa began visiting bariatric support groups. She was drawn to the Kentucky Bariatric Institute for its rigorous aftercare program – her friends who had gone to other hospitals didn’t always feel supported enough, but the Kentucky Bariatric Institute offered support, check-ups, and education before and after surgery. As soon as she met Dr. Smith and his team, Neysa was struck by how kind and professional he was.

“What stood out to me was he leads with compassion, and he leads with research,” Neysa said. “So many people in the bariatric community are riddled with shame and self-hate. I didn’t want that at all. It reassured me I was in the right place and making the right decision.”

Neysa AfterSince her surgery, Neysa’s journey has been remarkable. At her peak, she weighed 417 pounds; 16 months later, she’s lost 207 pounds. She feels much lighter on her feet and can do things she hasn’t been able to do for years. Her son has gotten into weightlifting, and the two have begun exercising together.

Neysa is saddened that so much of the conversation around weight loss is driven by feelings of shame. More than anything, she wants others to know what motivated her – and what should motivate anyone who seeks help with weight loss. Neysa

“I did this out of self-love,” Neysa said. “Not out of shame, but because I wanted to do what I needed to do to improve the quality of my life.”

Neysa believes that loving yourself as you are is essential to positive change. When she looks at old pictures of herself, she’s incredibly proud of everything she’s done, before and after the surgery. For anyone else seeking help with weight loss, she highly recommends the Kentucky Bariatric Institute.