Before & After VSG with Shari H., losing 104 pounds!June 6, 2017
Why I Decided to Have WLS
I was overweight and shy my whole life, even when I was in high school and on the dance team, dancing my butt off six days a week, I was still considered chubby and had a hard time making friends. I was also diagnosed with clinical depression in my early 20's and I know now that what I was doing was feeding my emotions with food. I was a full-blown food addict with a binge eating disorder. It shouldn't have surprised me, I come from a family of alcoholics/addicts/disordered eaters. I would try various diets and exercise regimes but nothing ever stuck, and I figured I just wasn't disciplined enough.
It didn't occur to me that there was much more mental work to be done that would help the physical efforts. I was so desperate to feel "normal" and to love my body for once in my life that I ignored that part and just focused on the physical - the weight - and what I could do to fix the outside. Plus, I had seen what obesity did to older family members, those that died of heart disease/stroke and had a horrible quality of life due to the limitations their weight put on them. I had also seen multiple family members have weight loss surgery and every single one of them had gained weight back and not made the lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. One day I just said enough is enough, I've tried everything else (well, everything but actually addressing the underlying mental/emotional issues) and I had the VSG surgery in November of 2013.
I've always felt a little different, terminally unique I call it, and so I figured I'd be the exception to the rule, I'd be the one to make it stick and be the ideal WLS patient. My surgeon asked me to lose 20 lbs to show my commitment to the lifestyle before surgery and that got my motor running, got me to a point where I was running consistently, fighting for every pound lost and set me up for a successful surgery. When I went under the knife at 241 lbs I was in relatively good shape for my size as far as my cardiovascular fitness went, which helped my recovery from surgery, and had setup some good workout habits that I was anxious to get back to once I healed from the surgery. I’ve never regretted my decision, it was the right one for me and my life has changed immensely because of it!
Before & After VSG with Shari H.
Having Surgery and Life as a Post-Op
My surgical experience was A+, couldn't have asked for a better recovery! I was a superstar in early recovery–no food issues, got back to working out quickly, doing what I could as my body healed. I even went on a short hike with my family a week after surgery! I started lifting weights about 3 months post-op, something I had never done before. Turns out I love it! I also got back to dancing, something I hadn’t done for so long because I was too embarrassed to dance in front of other people when I was heavy.
Before the surgery, I was practically a teetotaler with alcohol, so when my surgeon told me pre-op that I should just forget about drinking after surgery I figured, no problem, it wasn’t in line with my fitness goals anyway. What happened though was that once I could no longer overeat, once that food addiction of mine couldn’t be “fed” I quickly found that alcohol could take its place. When I started drinking again at about 10 months post-surgery, it was just to be social, I was going out a lot more, coming out of my shell, going to parties where men actually paid attention to me because suddenly I was the hot girl. The attention was great but unfamiliar to me, so I drank to ease that anxiety. I was slowly letting go of my health goals, stopped working out, started regaining weight and started getting really depressed again.
Within a year of starting to drink, I had turned into a daily drinker and my doctor said it was going to kill me. I didn’t think it could happen to me because I never had a problem with alcohol before. I walked into the rooms of AA and quit drinking on January 4th, 2016. I got back into the gym and started doing the mental work with a therapist and the AA program that I should have done years ago before surgery to address why I needed to feed an addiction in the first place. I still don’t regret my surgery for one second, even though it put me in a place of vulnerability for transfer-addiction.
It’s led me to where I am today - working on my issues, in the best shape of my life, going to school to become a personal trainer. I wish so much from the bottom of my heart that I could be a cautionary tale and a source of hope for those struggling with the surgery, the recovery, the lifestyle changes, any sort of transfer-addiction. It does happen, it doesn’t have to, but if it does, it’s totally possible to recovery from and rise up. I’m stronger because I struggled.
My Milestones and Non-Scale Victories
I loved the 100 lbs lost milestone because it's a nice round number, and there are so many NSV's but my favorite one has to be dancing again... in front of a mirror AND other people and not being self-conscious about it at all! Actually being able to keep up with the instructors and go all out in a hot, sweaty mess! I just lose it on the dance floor! I also love, love, love being that fit girl in the gym with the muscles, the gym doesn't intimidate me anymore.
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