The Fresh Start Program is an Australian-wide support, education and coaching program that assists people who have had weight loss surgery to create a new healthy lifestyle. It was founded by Amber Kay and Alex Shirley and uses a team of highly skilled allied health practitioners including dietitians, exercise physiologists and counsellors to provide a first-class support service.
A 2015 survey of patients enrolled on the Fresh Start program by a leading Sydney-based Bariatric Surgeon, found that 97% of patients wanted to keep the program as part of their surgical package and would recommend the program to others
- Dr David Martin, Martin Obesity Surgery, Strathfield (since 2010)
- Dr Ian Martin, Martin Obesity Surgery, Auchenflower (since 2012)
- Dr Andrew Russell, Rockhampton (since 2014)
- Dr Peter Bovey, Townsville (since 2016)
- Dr Ken Loi, St George Obesity Surgery, Kogarah (since 2017)
- Dr Nicholas Williams, Riverina Bariatrics, Wagga Wagga (since 2017)
- Dr Richard Harrison, Riverina Bariatrics, Wagga Wagga (since 2017)
- Dr Craig Taylor, OClinic, Wollstonecraft (since 2018)
- Dr Arun Dhir, Melbourne Gastro Surgery, Bundoora (since 2018)
- Dr Ben Keong, Melbourne Gastro Surgery, Bundoora (since 2018)
- Dr Jacob Vanyai, Melbourne Gastro Surgery, Bundoora (since 2018)
- Dr John Jorgensen, St George Private Hospital (since 2018)
- Dr Philip Le Page, Concorde (since 2019)
In a 2018 survey of patients enrolled on The Fresh Start Program at Dr Ken Loi's clinic at St George Private Hospital, the clinic received 107 questionnaire responses from patients who completed face-to-face workshops from October 2017 until November 2018. 100% of patients participating in the workshops indicated that they would ‘recommend the support sessions to another bariatric patient’ and the average rating for the session being ‘informative, enjoyable and valuable’ was 97.9%.
Amber is co-author of "Get Back On Track After Your Weight Loss Surgery" and a qualified and experienced Mindset Coach specialising in Bariatric Surgery Support. Amber has over 20 years’ experience in training, coaching and human potential with an Honours degree in Psychology, and a Diploma in Coaching, and is an Associate Member of the Australian & New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society.
Amber is passionate about helping bariatric surgery patients to let go of disempowering habits and behaviour patterns, to transform their mindsets to truly value themselves and their health, and to realise their true potential and weight goals.
Alex is is co-author of "Get Back On Track After Your Weight Loss Surgery" and a Health and Wellness Coach specialising in Bariatric Surgery Support. Alex has a Masters in Health and Nutrition Education and over 14 years’ experience in the Health and Fitness Industry. He is an Associate Member of the Australian & New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society and is registered with Fitness Australia.
Alex originally trained and worked as a Solicitor, with Allen & Overy in London and Freehills in Sydney, but left the world of corporate and banking law to pursue his interest in health and wellness. With this background, he is very aware of the pressures involved in maintaining a balanced lifestyle and he uses this prior experience to provide clients with a highly professional service.
Steve is a qualified and experienced Counsellor specialising in Bariatric Surgery Support.
Steve trained originally as a Health and Physical Education specialist and for the past 20 years, after achieving his Masters degree in Counselling, has worked extensively as a coach, counsellor and educator.
Steve is committed to helping people to create and reach their ideal health vision so that they can enjoy a more fulfilling and rewarding life.
Linda is a Health and Wellness Coach and an accredited Exercise Physiologist. Since graduating in 2009, she has worked in a clinical setting, assisting a variety of clients with musculoskeletal rehabilitation and weight management. She presents lectures at James Cook University in these areas also.
Linda is passionate about wellness coaching and the potential benefits that clients can gain from this support system. She loves being active and assisting others to find the fun in physical activity.
Claudia is a licensed Wellness Coach who is passionate about setting up others to achieve success in their health and wellness goals. Claudia has a decade of combined experience working within the corporate and high performance sport industries, which equips her to be highly responsive to challenging situations, and incorporates this perspective in all of her interactions.
Claudia brings a unique and professional approach to Wellness Coaching shaped by her experiences, interests and ongoing studies in Psychology.
Ellen is a certified Health and Wellness Coach specialising in Bariatric Surgery Support and a Program Administrator for The Fresh Start Program. With a background in dance and a love of nature and the outdoors, she enjoys assisting others to feel comfortable in their bodies and to feel the pleasure of moving with energy, confidence and freedom.
Ellen is passionate about a holistic approach to health and well-being, and enjoys encouraging and supporting others through their unique personal journey towards their most vital selves.
Sally is a Program Administrator with a long history in the Beauty and Customer Service Industry. Owning her business in the past has given her a wide variety of valuable knowledge that she brings to the Fresh Start team and our clients.
Sally enjoys a healthy lifestyle and loves being outdoors. She takes pride in helping others, going the extra step to ensure that clients feel supported as they move towards their health goals, and is always committed to listening well, being curious, and doing everything she can to support bariatric surgery patients on their journeys.
Rebecca is a Program Administrator whose passion for wellness is founded in her own personal experiences of learning how important exercise, food and wellness is to maintain a healthy mind and lifestyle for her whole family.
She loves connecting with and assisting our clients, and is excited to be a part of a program that helps support people through their journey, to feel healthy, both mentally and physically, and guides people to gain the confidence and strength they need in order to believe that they are capable of achieving their current and future goals.
Sharon is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who is a valued member of our consulting team. With over 15 years of experience in clinical dietetics Sharon has developed a passion for bariatric surgery and weight management.
Sharon works closely with a surgical team in Brisbane and is dedicated to keeping up-to-date with current research in the area of bariatric surgery and to understand the specific requirements of this group.
Sharon takes great satisfaction in helping people meet their long-term health goals.
Regan is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Physiotherapist who is a valued member of our consulting team.
Regan works within the allied health industry supporting a wide variety of clientele from assisting with chronic disease management to enhancing athletic performance. Regan has also worked as a personal trainer for the past 5 years.
"I have found The Fresh Start Program to be a very helpful resource for our patients, that has only become bigger and better over the years since we started using the program. From an administration point of view, the process is very simple and streamlined and enrolling patients is easy. I would highly recommend The Fresh Start Program to any bariatric practice".
Erin Baker, Practice Manager
"We know that the journey doesn’t end when you leave the hospital ward, and the road for each patient is different. The best outcomes are achieved by clinics that integrate their medical expertise with psychology, dietetics, and exercise physiology, tailored to the individual needs of patients. The Fresh Start Program enhances patient support by providing an individual space for patients to build on the advice and guidance they have received, while reinforcing the advice of other experts. I believe this sort of comprehensive, unified and ongoing approach to patient support is best practice now, and should become standard practice for bariatric patients in future."
Cal Paterson, Clinical Psychologist
“Thank you so much for your wonderful educational facility that you make available to our bariatric patients”.
Simone Launt-Peters, Accredited Practising Dietitian specialising in Bariatric Surgery
“The Fresh Start Program has been a wonderful addition to my bariatric practice. I work in a regional centre and both my local and more remote patients have found this resource to be of great benefit. I have had nothing but positive feedback from patients regarding Fresh Start and would certainly recommend it as a great addition to a General Bariatric Practice.”
Dr. Andrew Russell, Rockhampton
“Last year I took charge and control of me for me. I had got to 158 kgs and realised I was literally eating myself to an early grave. I invested in a bariatric sleeve operation in June 2014 and have reshaped my body and my life. I changed my eating habits and discovered a new lease on life. Currently I am around 88 kgs and proud. I can run up a flight of stairs without resting. I can shop and buy normal clothes. What really helped me achieve the new me was the support, the phone calls and email classes from Fresh Start - the understanding and non- judgmental help on hand. I took three foolscap pages of notes from my one-on-one coaching session. It was interesting to hear me describe the new man in the mirror and how I felt and interacted with the new me. I have had to learn how the new man thinks and after 50 years of bad eating habits, the retraining of the mind was Fresh Start’s biggest contribution. I tried new recipes and combinations, discovered new exercises to fit into my life style. I have interacted with the Facebook
community and found that a source of motivation recipes hints and helps... The Fresh Start Program helped to cement the decision to face the change.”
“Amber, the workshop in Sydney yesterday was so, so good. Looking over my notes from yesterday and taking action today. Thank you.”
Cassandra, New South Wales
“I just joined one of your webinars. It was amazing!!! Thank you so much!!! Very useful and inspiring with lots of positive tips!”
“Going into my decision-making process about the surgery, I did wonder how I would go, both mentally and physically. Then I was introduced to the Fresh Start team. The resources regarding well-being, food and exercise are informative and thought-provoking. The most important aspect though for me was the ability to pick up the phone and celebrate little achievements with Alex.”
Anne, New South Wales
“I was quite unsure about taking up the offer of a one-on-one mindset session with Amber. I knew I was struggling with how I viewed myself; however I kept putting off making contact as I didn’t know exactly what it was that I needed to focus on. With Amber’s help I was able to talk it through and recognise exactly what it was holding me back. Now I’m able to recognise my weight loss achievements and I feel confident that I’m going to achieve my goal of being healthy.”
“I have found the program of great assistance. The recipes and nutrition guides have helped me to keep on track, and the mindset resources and exercise tips have really got me going!! I have continued to lose weight, even 18 months after surgery, and I am now able to exercise freely, and I am attending a gym and aqua aerobics classes 4 times a week. This I would not have considered six months ago. So thank you. The program has taught me that I was doing a good job, that I was on the right track, but it also kept me focused. I now feel I have done a great job – with your help!! I have found your program very useful, and would certainly recommend it to others. Thank you for the chance to participate in the program.”
Jenny, New South Wales
“I’d like to thank the Fresh Start program. This keeps me in touch with the other people who have had the surgery, and the reality of what one must do to keep achieving. Keep up the great work!”
Alana, New South Wales