Weight Loss Surgery - 8 1/2 years post op

View Full Version : 8 1/2 years post op

10-06-2009, 11:07 PM
As an "Old Timer" post op, I've been asked to share about my experience.

I had Gastric Bypass surgery April 20, 2001. I was 340 lbs the day I walked into the hospital. In September of 2004 I hit my lowest weight, 155 lbs. My goal has always been 150. Unfortunately over the past 5 years I fell into a backslide, and ballooned back up. I hit 197 lbs on July 21, 2009.

The realization that I was close to hitting the 200s again snapped me out of my rut of laziness, too much drinking, binging on unhealthy food and eating when depressed. Now I'm fighting my way back. I kicked myself back into gear at the beginning of August. So far I'm down 19 lbs since July..I weigh 177. 27 more lbs to go. I want to FINALLY hit 150 by April 20 of 2010. That will be my 9 year "Re-Birthday" (anniversary of my surgery).

I've learned a lot in the 8 1/2 years since surgery. I've listed some of them below. **These are ONLY tips and experiences from my own journey. I am NOT a professional and these are not medical recommendations. You should speak to your Dr. to make sure you are meeting your own needs**

Long Term Post Op Notes:

* Surgery is a tool, not a magic bullet. You CAN defeat the surgery if you ignore this fact. Anyone who says surgery is "the easy way" either hasn't had weight loss surgery, or isn't doing it properly. You must listen to your Dr., eat a nutritionally balanced diet and get physical activity to obtain and then maintain your weight loss.

* The surgery is done on your stomach, NOT on your brain. The emotional/mental/psychological issues that got you to your highest weight will still be there after surgery. Those issues need worked on just like your weight loss. Also, you may find it difficult to adjust your mental image of yourself, even when other people talk about how far you’ve come. Even if you don’t SEE the changes when you look in a mirror…look at other identifiers. How do your clothes fit? Can you wear clothing you haven’t touched in years? What about the scale, or measurement of inches lost? It takes time to feel comfortable in your new skin…and when you are losing weight rapidly, it may be more difficult for your mind to catch up. Be patient with yourself. Continued use of support systems (family, friends, 3 Fat Chicks!), therapy and working on a positive self image are required for your long term happiness.

* Keep using your pouch properly, as instructed by your Dr. Eating food and waiting until you drink liquid will help you remain satisfied longer. When you slack off on this, and start drinking with your meals, you may be washing food out of your pouch sooner, giving you more room to eat without feeling full.

* SMALL goals add up to large goals. Break up your goals instead of fixating on one number. Example of my weight loss mini goals set before surgery – “Fit in a movie theatre seat comfortably”, “Be under 300 lbs”, “Be small enough to buy clothes in Lane Bryant”, “Be able to lower the lap bar on a roller coaster and enjoy myself at the amusement park”, “Be TOO SMALL to buy clothes in Lane Bryant”, “Buy a piece of clothing in Victoria’s Secret that fits!”

* SAVE for a large goal. You know all of that money you blew at McDonalds, or take out, or delivery food? Save it. Put it aside in a jar, and label it with a large goal. ("Get under 200 lbs" when you are starting at over 300 for example). Keep putting the extra change from your wallet, or the $3 you would spend on a daily latte into the "Goal Jar" and when you hit goal, do something really special with it. Buy yourself some new clothes! Go out to an amusement park now that you can fit in the seats! Go away for a day trip, etc.

* DRINKS CONTAIN (often empty) CALORIES!!! - When you are slimming down, feeling attractive, enjoying the attention from others and going out to party and dance, that is great...but consuming lots of calorie soaked alcoholic beverages WILL take your weight back up. Each 1 oz of liquor contains about 100 calories, at least, and most drinks have at least 1.5 oz shots. Remember that as the drinks flow.

* You will probably get to a point where you can eat normal portions again. If your stomach pouch stayed where you can only eat 1 cup at a time, indefinitely, you would never take in adequate calories once your excess weight is gone...so your stomach stretches. Don't make the same mistakes you made the first time around. Maintain a healthy diet as you can take in more food.

* Contrary to the way weight loss seems to be portrayed in the media, you will NOT suddenly become perfect once you lose the extra weight you are carrying. When you have been very overweight for a long period of time, your skin may lose elasticity. Loose skin may result from your weight loss. I had surgery at 20 and even my young skin had a limit to how much it could snap back. I had reconstructive surgery (breast lift and tummy tuck) more than 25 lbs before hitting my ultimate goal. If I could do it all over again, I would have put up with the loose skin until I finally reached my goal and maintained for more than a year. Continuing to lose weight, or regaining some, then losing it again left me with a less favorable result for my money than if I had waited and stayed at the same weight after my plastic surgery.

* Celebrate your Re-birthday (Surgery Anniversary) each and every year. - My "Re-Birthday" is April 20. Every year we celebrate the day I had the surgery that saved my life. Whether or not you are at your goal on that anniversary doesn't matter. Remember where you were...compared to where you are now. This is a marathon, not a sprint...and it isn't a bad thing to look back at the starting point from time to time, as you head forward for the finish line.

10-06-2009, 11:55 PM
Congrats on fighting back and losing 19 pounds :carrot: good luck with the rest of the weight :)

10-07-2009, 10:16 AM
Katrina: Thank you for writing in and letting us know about your success. I love, love, love it when longtimers let us know the positive side of WLS. I'm so happy that you have a handle on the weight gain. How are your labs? Is there anything that you can share with us, that will keep us all out of trouble?

10-12-2009, 03:32 AM
I am going to have surgery on Nov 6 (Gastic Bypass), and I have found a lot of helpful information on this website on what to do and what to expect. It was good to read your story on things I should be aware of as time moves on. I don't think it can be re-emphasized enough that this surgery is a tool, not a cure. I am already looking forward to my "Re-Birthday" in 2010! I wish you continued success. :carrot:

10-12-2009, 10:12 AM
katarina - thank you. i think your post should be required reading for anyone considering surgery, and for those of use who've been around for awhile.

i also have gained weight - and it's freaked me out. but over the past few weeks, things are happening differently, and i've been changing my eating habits again - almost naturally - which makes me happy [just think about what i could do if i actuallly FOCUSED on it!!!!!].

but something happened this weekend that let me know that the surgery is still working - i threw up twice in the same day!!!! both times were because of eating carelessly [too fast, too much food on the fork], and as strange as it sounds, i was glad it happened - i needed the reminder.

10-12-2009, 10:36 AM
Jiff I'm with you on being mindful and recommitting to working the tool!
Yesterday I had a Vegan (Sure that means it's healthy right) PB and Chocolate cookie (at the Summit Farmers Market) and for the rest of the day made bad choices including a free hotdog oh and Ultimate Crumb cake

Not to be food porn girl But If it's not a secret it doesn't feed in to my secret eating mechanism
Whats on the menu today SBD Ph 1 with some tweakign its very WLS friendly
I eat Dark Meat and use protein powder that's the only real switch
I'll raise my coffee to detox and exercise!

10-12-2009, 11:27 AM
I am with you all, I have to work at this maitenance CONSTANTLY. When I eat bad things, I feel like poo. When I overeat, I vomit. It is not fun and it helps me do the right thing.

10-12-2009, 12:38 PM
Hello All! Thank you for replying to my post.

Shancole: Congrats and good luck on starting your journey. Starting is tough...take one day at a time. I remember the first time after surgery that I was able to eat solid food after 2 weeks of liquids...I had some soft tuna fish with a little bit of light miracle whip. I sat there for 20 minutes looking at that 1/4 cup of food...afraid to eat it, not sure how my body would react, and doubtful that it would really fill me up. But let me tell you what...when I finally took a bite? It was the most delicious bite of food I ever ate!! :)

Jiffypop, well thanks! If you think people should read this when they are considering surgery, I'd suggest contacting the moderator. They could make this a sticky post. I see you have had HUGE success in your journey. I completely understand how you feel about regaining some weight..but you have caught it and are making steps to get back under control, just like I am. I'm proud of you for that. You should be proud of yourself!

To all, Yes, maintaining your weight loss is tough. When we first have surgery our focus is losing weight, losing weight, losing weight, sticking to the plan, being obsessive about counting protein and special vitamins, etc.....but after a few years, after you've gotten close to goal, it is far too easy to get lax...and the scale can creep up over time. Life is no longer "I'm a gastric bypass patient"...it becomes "Wow, I am "normal" and I'm living a normal life" so it is easy to forget our special needs in order to maintain our longterm success. This is NOT a short term choice...this is a long term lifestyle change. WLS patients always need to keep that in mind.

As for me: Yesterday I started weight resistance again..did a lower body weight workout. I've been going to the gym for the past two weeks..and I'm currently down to 177.2. 12 lbs to my January 1, 2010 goal, and 27 lbs to my final goal (150). Still going!


10-12-2009, 03:26 PM
LOL!!!!! ummm. Katarina - i AM the moderator! along with Leenie. i'm just not sure the best way to go about this - sticky the whole thread??? or just your original post - and retitle it as a MUST READ?? i'm leaning that way - but i have a deadline today and one tomorrow, and then leaving for an out of town business trip for the rest of the week [don't worry - i'll have computer access!!!]

anyone have any thoughts???

10-12-2009, 05:08 PM
JIffy you are a hoot.....Make it a must read. I think it is excellent...and so true.

10-17-2009, 12:00 PM
Thanks Katarina. Your post was so helpful. I had surgery in May, and I often worry about long-term issues. I guess I should take things one day at a time, but stay mindful. I haven't exercised for the past 2 days and was reading the blogs to get me motivated. Feeling a bit down (it's been pouring rain for 2 straight days, yuck!), but know that getting in some cardio will help.
Good luck in your continued fight, and thanks for sharing your story.