My name is Tabitha Johnson and I had a sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) in January of 2017. I’ve struggled with my weight since I was about 7 years old, when I learned to cope with negative feelings by using food as my comfort source. Little did I know that I would end up having my gall bladder removed before age 30, due to my unhealthy eating habits. Previously, I’ve gained and lost 50 to 60 pounds at a time. I’ve joined gyms, support groups, run half marathons, but continued to obsess about food.

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In 2014, I was in a car accident that injured my spine. I was unable to continue training for a half marathon that I had signed up for. I took pain medication and muscle relaxers as prescribed. I attempted to work out, but would re-injure my back. This led to a spiral of depression and continued weight gain. The pain was unbearable, but I went to work during the week and on the weekends laid in bed on pain medication. I felt like I was barely functioning as a wife and as a parent. I had discussed possible back surgery with a back surgeon. He stated that due to my age, he would not recommend it, as there was no guarantee that the pain would subside.

One day I met with my old running partner for lunch. She shared with me that she had recently had weight loss surgery. She encouraged me to go in for a consultation. I contacted the surgeon and began the process of preparing for bariatric surgery.


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It’s been a year and a half and I have lost 100 pounds. I am pain free and no longer taking any pain medication. I am able to lift my daughter and run down my stairs. For me, bariatric surgery was an answer to prayer.

Post surgery, I realized there are a group of people out there considering this option. My idea for BariBoss was born. I’m a licensed Marriage and Family therapist by trade, and understand that in order to break bad habits, one needs support and direction. When I met with my surgeon a year after my surgery, we discussed that my food cravings were gone, but when the food is in front of me, I still struggle with keeping the right mindset. I’m basically a “dry drunk” with food. My body has drastically changed, but my mind still allows for some bad habits to continue. I’m not “cured” by any means, but I now am learning to be the boss of my own body and not allow myself to be a slave to food.

Many of us who have been overweight learned to live a life of shame. There is no shame in identifying options in order to live a healthier life. I invite you to check out BariBoss and invite you to become your own BariBoss.

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