First and foremost I want to thank the Rocky Mountain Goat and Andru for reaching out after the launch of my book. It is something I am incredibly proud of and am sincerely humbled that even after all these years of being away, I still feel like Valemount is supporting me!

I also wanted to take a moment to reach out to the Robson Valley (or whoever else may read this) and the people who are struggling with weight loss, obesity, and the stigma that surrounds them. I have had quite a few locals reach out to me over the years and a few since the article ran, asking questions about weight loss surgery. I am working with my sister, Nicole Dryden, to get copies of my book available at the Clinic for anyone who is interested in reading it – you can also order it on Amazon, and Kindle, both in paperback and ebook.

The real reason I wanted to write in to the paper though, was to let anyone who is suffering from obesity know, you’re not alone and if you want to change, you can absolutely do it.”  It’s hard yes, but the quality of my life has increased so much in these years since I took back control – and I’m not saying that lightly.

Weight Loss Surgery – in Canada – is a tough thing to go through. There is a long period of waiting, referrals and still a lot of stigma. For me personally, I had my surgery while I was living in Texas, and it being nearly 11 years ago now, I totally understand what you are going through. This is the thing. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve said in the past, or what your friends, family and partners think: this has to be a choice you make for yourself and realize that it’s a lifelong choice. There are days that I wish I was born with the ability to enjoy whatever foods I want, however I know that indulging in that cheesecake is going to leave me very very sick on the floor for hours. There are a lot of sacrifices. But think about what you’re sacrificing now! There are ten thousand little moments that I remember my weight affecting my life:”  airplane seats feeling too small, doctors gowns not fitting, not being able to walk around for very long, have children and the list goes on and on and on… Weight Loss Surgery gave me my life back. I now spend my days walking all over New York City, in heels, chasing my son across the lawn in Mount Robson, and I was able to see the most gorgeous historical sites in Japan – all because I lost weight.

For those of you who knew me growing up – I wasn’t ashamed of my weight. In fact I liked how I looked. Weight loss doesn’t have to be because you have this intense hatred of your body — or maybe you do. We are all on a different path”¦ but I am here to tell you that if you want to change, you are not alone and you can do it.”  And if you don’t want to lose weight – you don’t have to either. This was a choice that I made to better my life and I wish I had done it 10 years sooner.

Valemount is an incredible place to grow up – and if my life permitted it, I would gladly move back. I visited this last summer for a week and was just so proud of how much my little town has grown and evolved and persevered. I am so thankful that my last trip home, I was able to go on hikes and walk around and rediscover home. I’m so thankful that my weight no longer is a factor in any of these things. It’s a tough thing to talk about openly, but if you’re ready, I’m here to listen :)

Email:”  [email protected]
Thanks again Valemount, I’m proud to call you home.

Kelsey Payumo (Dryden),

New York, NY