**Meet My BariatricPal Alex Brecher **I recently posted an interview with Alex Brecher 10-yrs After Lap-Band Success Alex Brecher is not only a success at weight loss, he’s also the man behind the success of BariatricPal. Its an online social network for the weight-loss-surgery community, where patients support each other before and after weight loss. BariatricPal grew out of Alex’s desire to give back to ** bariatric surgery** patients and help them write their own success stories!
At a Glance: Alex Brecheounder and CEO of BariatricPal
Website URLs: http://bariatricpal.com/
Other: Consultant for Apollo Endosurgery, Councilperson-at-large for American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
My Bariatric Life: Alex, it is inspiring to see a successful bariatric surgery patient supporting other patients. What training and education prepared you to become founder of BariatricPal?
Alex Brecher: I lived it myself. I know first-hand every step of the weight loss surgery journey, and have spoken to hundreds of weight loss surgery patients, plus tons of surgeons and other bariatric professionals.
**MBL: Alex, what led you to found BariatricPal in 2003? What was your prior career?**Alex: Before 2003, I had worked in web hosting and VOIP. I was CEO of multiple companies whose services included web hosting, managed IT services, and ICANN-accredited domain registry. I was just motivated to found BariatricPal because of my own experience as a ** Lap-Band** patient.
After coming home from the hospital, I looked online to find a support group and somewhere to ask questions and get answers. There wasn’t one. So, I started LapBandTalk.com, which was a community for Lap-Band patients. It had so much success I started VerticalSleeveTalk.com, RNYTalk.com, and SleevePlicationTalk.com over the next few years.
With my background in web hosting, I was technologically equipped to start LapBandTalk.com as part of WLSBoards and the precursor to BariatricPal. However, I didn’t have any prior experience in the weight loss surgery industry. I learned on the fly, and am still learning!
MBL: Please tell us how BariatricPal helps obese patients.
Alex: The weight loss surgery journey is challenging. It’s hard to know which surgery and surgeon to choose, what to eat and how to keep yourself on track, how to deal with side effects and complications" every weight loss surgery patient needs information and support. That’s what BariatricPal provides.
It’s a non-judgmental place to go 24/7. The weight loss surgery community can use BariatricPal for encouragement and advice, and just as a place to hang out to make the journey easier. Anyone can join the site for free, so everyone who needs help is welcome at BariatricPal.
The community helps obese patients at every step of their journey. Those who are considering weight loss surgery can visit the site to "meet" others who have been there, done that. They can ask questions to help them decide whether bariatric surgery is for them, and what kind. They can find out what to expect if they do decide to go forward with weight loss surgery.
After surgery, patients can use BariatricPal as a 24/7 source for information and advice. Every weight loss surgery patient has those moments when they need to know now whether this is normal, what they can eat, how they can deal with a challenge. And when they approach goal weight, patients can still use BariatricPal as motivation, plus it’s a way for them to give back by being a support system for new patients.
MBL: Please tell our readers about your book series, "The Big Books on Weight Loss Surgery."
Alex: I’m super proud of these books! I believe they are one more resource to help bariatric surgery patients every step of the way, from deciding about surgery to living their best life after surgery. There is a "Big Book" for the Lap-Band, Gastric Sleeve, and Gastric Bypass. These books take the reader from considering surgery through the process of preparing for surgery and recovering from it. The fourth "Big Book" focuses on life after weight loss surgery - from eating and exercising right to overcoming plateaus to building and updating your support system to meet your changing needs. Each of these books is available in softcover and eBook forms.
MBL: Alex, you’ve been busy! What inspires you to give back to the weight loss surgery community?
Alex: Weight loss surgery - for me, the Lap-Band - has given me the best life I could have imagined, and I am so grateful. I am so privileged to be in a position to give back! I get a sense of accomplishment and pride every time I get a note from a BariatricPal member or I hear somehow about how BariatricPal touched someone’s life. I am also inspired because I get to meet so many wonderful members of the weight loss surgery community - patients, surgeons, allied health professionals - through my work, such as when I travel to conferences.
MBL: I’ve written several opinion pieces on love and relationships** for BariatricPal. In** True Love** I discuss how I’ve come to love myself the obese woman I was 12-years ago and the woman I am today. What last parting words can you leave our readers with in regard to self love and acceptance after massive weight loss?**
Alex: Love yourself! Be proud of yourself for doing what you did. Focus on what your body can do now that maybe it couldn’t do before, and appreciate your body. You may not look like a movie star, but so what? Are you happy? Are you healthy? Can you do the activities you want to do with your friends and family? That’s all I ask of myself, and it’s enough to keep me motivated and proud of myself.
Well, Alex, I am proud of you, too! You took control of your health and your life. And your wonderful online support community helps obese and formerly obese people take control of their health and their lives, too. Keep up the great work both personally and professionally!
Are you a weight loss success? Share your story on HealthCentral!** Living larger than ever,**** My Bariatric Lifisit me on ** MyBariatricLife.org**,** ** Flickr**, Vimeo, Twitter, YouTube,** ** StumbleUpon**, Google+ iew my **Borne AppÃ©tit recipe collection on Pinterest
Cheryl Ann Borne, writing as My Bariatric Life, is a contributing writer and Paleo recipe developer for HealthCentral’s Obesity Community. Cheryl is an award-winning healthcare communications professional and obesity health advocate who has overcome super obesity and it’s related diseases. She publishes the website MyBariatricLife.org and microblogs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Cheryl also is writing her first book and working on a second website. Watch her transformational video on Vimeo.