Meet Frankie and Jess, a local couple who for years struggled with their weight until they decided to do something about it. This is their story.

I’m Frankie Washington (bariatric patient) and I’m a professional illustrator. I used to weigh over 400lbs. and had lots of health problems including high blood pressure. I came from a family where everyone was overweight and I grew up thinking this is how life is. But then my doctor suggested I go to a seminar at Kent Hospital to find out about weight loss surgery. He said it might give me the help I needed to lose weight and get healthy.

My girlfriend, Jess, also struggled with weight her whole life. So when I told her about the seminar, she decided to go too. The first thing that struck me was how kind Dr. Giovanni from Kent and her team were – compassionate and really genuine. We felt this was someone we could trust.

Dr. Giovanni nailed it when she said our overeating was an addiction. We could exercise all we wanted, but we were eating too many calories. I realized that I’m addicted to food and the surgery was a way to help curb that addiction.

When we walked out of that seminar, we knew that weight loss surgery was for us. There was finally a tool to help us lose weight. Dr. Giovanni explained that it’s not a magic bullet but it does help.

The first thing we did was work on losing weight to get ready for the surgery. I lost about 40 pounds and Jess lost around 20. Now that we’ve had the surgery we’ve lost a lot more.

I lost 170lbs and Jess has lost 140. We’re exercising and eating much better. My blood pressure is lower and I’ve got a lot more energy. We both do power walking and Jessica is doing yoga and I’m lifting weights.

The way I see it is that my body is like a car. If you have a car and you don’t take care of it, it’s going to break down. So I’d tell anybody to take care of your body like you would a car.

It’s funny because for years I thought that surgery was for people who couldn’t do it themselves and I thought I can do this myself. But then I realized I couldn’t – I needed help. The thing is that the surgery isn’t instantaneous. You have to work at it – eat healthy and exercise.

Now both Jess and I feel that we’ve never been so healthy and happy.

After surgery and losing all the weight, one of the big things was going into a movie theatre and I’m literally preparing to shift into the seat but now I can pop right into it. It’s like sometimes I forget I’ve lost all this weight – ‘ghost fat’ I call it.

What really helps is that Care New England has support meetings for people who have had weight loss surgery. It’s once a month and it’s fun to be in a group of people who know exactly how it feels.

Surgical weight loss is the best decision we’ve ever made. All together we’ve lost over 310 lbs. But we’ve gained a whole lot more – more energy, better health, and a new lease on life.

Weight loss surgery isn’t the end. It’s a brand new beginning.

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The Center for Surgical Weight Loss at Care New England offers seminars at both Kent and Memorial Hospitals. Call 401-736-3731 to find out more or sign up for a seminar here.

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