Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You? A Candid Conversation with a Patient and Her Surgeon

Celina Leger

Celina Leger tried it all — from fad diets to exercise. But the weight would just not come off. She felt uncomfortable in her body, both physically and mentally. When she became 100 pounds overweight, the number was so overwhelming that she did not want to try anymore.

“By failing, it made me feel worse and worse. I remember looking at a photo of myself and feeling large and uncomfortable. A year later I looked at that picture and said, ‘I wish I could just get back to that weight.’ That went on for years. I felt miserable in my skin, and I knew it was time to do something.”

Still, Celina was not sure she needed bariatric surgery. When her primary care physician suggested it, she even felt a bit offended.

“In my head, I thought, ‘This is for people I see on the TV shows.’ I was ashamed that I would even have to take this drastic measure. I did not know enough about the surgery and what it could bring to my life.”

Understanding Facts vs. Myths

Celina did a lot of research and made an appointment with Laura Doyon, MD, FACS, FASMBS, a bariatric surgeon at Emerson Hospital. Empowered to take control of her life, she accepted surgery as an option.

However, it took Dr. Doyon’s help to dispel a variety of “myths” surrounding weight loss surgery.

A big concern was that she would be rejected as a candidate if she did not lose enough weight pre-surgery. Dr. Doyon assured Celina that this is not the approach her practice takes.

“It is not a helpful tactic because we know people can lose weight with a fad diet. But you are not gaining anything by dieting before your surgery. It is much more meaningful to adopt healthy eating practices than trying to ‘trick’ your body into losing 20 pounds to prove that you are a ‘good patient.’ I think that is more damaging than beneficial,” Dr. Doyon explains.

Emerson’s dieticians work with patients to help them get on the right track to healthy eating before surgery.

Celina Leger dancingWhere Is She Now?

On July 15, 2020, Celina celebrated the one-year anniversary of her surgery.

Today, she has lost more than 106 pounds — reaching her goal weight. She now focuses on maintaining her weight, staying fit, and living a new and happy life.

As a hip hop and tap dance instructor, Celina is thrilled to keep up with her young students. She no longer has pain in her feet; all of her plantar fasciitis symptoms are gone. Her marriage is stronger than ever, and she feels like she is a better mother because she is confident and no longer focused on her weight.

“I can take a picture with my kids and not feel like I need to crop half of it out or hide behind them. I am living life. I am not just existing. I am more excited about the activity in my life than what I am going to eat. I know that food is just fueling my body. It is not making me happy or taking away stress. It is just there to fuel my body and keep it healthy.”

During the pandemic, Celina maintains her healthy habits to support her immune system.

“Being at a healthy weight, eating healthy and exercising, and having less stress on my body… I feel like if I were to get COVID, I would survive it. I would be okay. Whereas before surgery, I would have questioned that.”

She credits the team at Emerson for providing her with the tools she needs to continue along this healthier journey in life.

Take the First Step

If you are interested in learning more about our surgical weight loss program, or to watch an on-demand information session about the program, please fill out the form on this page.

Listen to the Podcast

Dr. Laura Doyon sits down with Celina Leger to discuss the bariatric surgery process and how to decide if you need it or not.

Subscribe to the Health Works Here Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts and wherever podcasts can be heard.


  • Emerson’s Center for Weight Loss is the second largest program in the state in terms of bariatric surgery cases. The steady growth is due to the surgeons’ expertise in performing several different procedures, including revisions.
  • People come from all over to have weight-loss surgery at Emerson. The program has earned a reputation for supporting each patient holistically — as a whole person — and not turning patients away.
  • We are proud to provide a state-of-the-art patient care experience. This includes patients meeting with a navigator and a mental health coordinator. The front desk staff welcomes patients and looks forward to seeing them at their regular appointments. The Center for Weight Loss follows strict protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for optimal health and safety.

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