Susan Maria Leach

Living and Eating Well after Weight-Loss Surgery


About Susan Maria Leach

When I had my successful gastric bypass surgery on June 11, 2001, I landed with both feet firmly planted in my new world with no turning back. I decided from the start that I wasn’t going to prepare special meals for myself; I was going to come up with dinners for my entire family. I knew that in order to take in adequate protein and vitamins I was going to have to have the right attitude, and find the right products. This was my one opportunity to change my life.

My book, Before & After, is the map of my travels and discoveries in cooking and my website and products are the source of fuel for the never ending journey.

Everyone in these times wants to eat healthier foods in smaller portions, so without realizing it, my entire circle of family and friends has signed on for this ride. Since I am a creative cook, it has been easy for me to come up with ways to prepare foods that are not only full of protein and low in fat and carbohydrates, but also absolutely delicious. I have changed my relationship with food, but I didn’t have to leave my favorite ingredients and piquant flavors behind!

There are many foods that are very easy to eat after this surgery, but some that will always be difficult. Add in the fear of not chewing well enough, worries about ‘dumping’, and panic about stretching our new pouch, and it is no wonder that finding something to eat can be a major problem during the first twelve-month post-op period. Certain food textures work well, and lower-fat sauces to moisten the foods are a must.

It is now more than eleven years since my bariatric surgery and I am comfortable enough with my new body that I don’t need to cram myself into the smallest size I can button and wear the tag in the center of my forehead as a badge of accomplishment. I easily slip into a slim fitting pair of jeans and have maintained a loss of almost half of my heaviest body weight.

It’s not effortless to be mindful of my food choices. The drastic changes I implemented during my early weight loss period translated into permanent habits that I now choose to live with.

Rather than complain about foods I can’t have, I find it more constructive to find flavors I enjoy that come from within the bounds of my new food life. I take great joy from the everyday non-scale victories that occur all around me.

I have little tolerance for those who have this surgery and blatantly ignore the boundaries and am saddened by those who throw away this opportunity with so many needing this procedure that cannot have it.

I feel fantastic and strong, have seemingly endless energy, and am healthier than I have ever been., started as a postscript to the original Before & After, is going strong since 2003 and is constantly evolving as we create new products that taste as good as they are good for you. My husband, Ty works alongside me and we are still best friends after all these years.

Top bariatric professionals recommend my book, this website, and know that the products we have developed specifically for bariatric tastes and needs keep patients on track for good nutrition. It thrills me to be able to help so many post-op bariatric patients both online and in person, and we are amazed by the number of folks join us from around the world when we hold our BE events.

My life continues to be an extraordinary journey. Please join me.