I posted this in the VSG forum, but figured I'd post it here too because it's probably even more relevant to those of us who start off in the SMO range.
My fourth surgiversary isn't until March 2018, but I started the surgery process a bit over four years ago and I started in on lifestyle modification for REAL at the beginning of 2014. So I'm in that four-year time period and I wanted to share my experience with weight loss. I'll try to keep it brief.
I'm sharing this because I see a lot of comments that if you don't lose it in the first year, you won't lose it. Doctors say this - that you can expect to lose all the weight you're going to in the first year and then that's it. I see (and hear) people say, "don't waste your honeymoon period" and imply that if you don't reach your goal in the first year you're doomed.
I'm 5'4" and was 319 pounds at the beginning of 2014. This was my highest weight that I was aware of. I might have weighed more than this, but, if I did, I didn't step on a scale to know of it. [This put my BMI at 55.]
2014 - I started lifestyle modification at the beginning of the year and lost 27 pounds between January 1 and March 14 when I had surgery. In 2014 I lost 124.4 pounds total.
2015 - My dad's cancer spread to his brain, previous habits started creeping back into my life, weight loss slowed. In 2015 I lost 14.3 pounds.
2016 - My dad died, Binge Eating Disorder began to rule my life, but I sought diagnosis and medication. In 2016 I lost 8.4 pounds. (This is net loss. I gained weight during 2016, lost it, and lost 8.4 more pounds.)
2017 - While this year has been challenging due to college (finished my AA degree and started my BS!) and reconstructive surgeries (recovering from third and final one now), it has not been the complete emotional rollercoaster that 2015 and 2016 were. I attended bereavement group through the local hospice, I continued seeing my therapist on an "as needed" basis, I started going to a local professionally organized support group once a month, I exercised regularly for the first half of the year until surgeries waylaid mobility for the remainder of the year. In 2017, so far, I've lost another 24.2 pounds (skin weighs very little, so this weight loss cannot be explained away entirely by reconstructive surgery).
So I guess my point is, and what I want to try to convey to anyone reading this, is that you CAN still lose weight after the first year. The weight loss will probably never be as fast as it was in that first year without serious intervention, but the weight loss CAN continue. If you've stopped losing weight, or even gained weight, you CAN get back to losing.
Never let anyone convince you that whatever success you achieve in the first year is it and that you need to be satisfied with what you've lost by that point because it just is not true.
And if, like me, you get to the point where you find that your pre-WLS habits are taking control of your life, please, please, please seek professional help. You are worth it.
VSG with Dr. Salameh - 3/13/2014
Diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder and started Vyvanse - 7/22/2016
Reconstructive Surgeries with Dr. Michaels - 6/5/2017 (LBL & brachioplasty), 8/14/2017 (UBL & mastopexy), 11/6/2017 (medial leg lift)
Age 41 Height 5'4" HW 319 (1/3/2014) SW 293 (3/13/2014) CW 149 (7/16/2017)
Next Goal 145 - normal BMI | Total Weight Lost 170
Thank you very much for sharing your journey. So much of weight loss is a mind-game to me. It really helps to hear from others on the same journey.
Great post Gwen,
My clinic, although great in some regards, really falls into this category. First, their expectation was for me to maybe get to 230.... Then, at my one year appointment, when I weighed in at 170ish, the NP decalred I was in maintenance, and that I was done losing weight. Just like that.
Some of this journey can be such a long slog, that hearing things like that can be the justification for allowing old habits to creep back in.
To be honest, 230 was coincidentally my lowest adult weight, and I know I could have been content there. But that weight wasn't good for my health, and was still MO.
Same with 170. Just out of the obese range, I could have used her declaration of maintance as a cop out. It can be scary to have so many changes happening and I'm definitely in new territory, the temptation to declare maintance was definitely there.
No thanks. While the weight definitely doesn't come off the way it did those first months, it is still definitely coming off.
I think we bang the drum on the first year so loudly, is because it really is the "easiest" time to maximize the loss. Our focus and will is resolute. the momentum of rapid loss is validating. When you go from losing 5 pounds a week, to 5 a month (if that), you need to switch gears, and find new metrics to feel like the effort is worth it.
RNY Sept 8, 2016
M1:23, M2 :18, M3 :11, M4 :19, M5: 13, M6: 12, M7: 17, M8: 11, M9: 11.5, M10: 13, M11: 10, M12: 10 M13 : 7.6, M14: 6.9, M15: 6.7
Gwen, thank you so much for sharing this, and always sharing so much of yourself.
As a newbie, less than 4 months post op, I do read a lot about the honeymoon phase. I have watched with wonder at your posts about how much weight you've lost this past year, and connected the dots that you put together so eloquently in your post, but reading it is great validation. Yes... the honeymoon phase is "easy", with restriction and malabsorption and excitement to get the weight off. My journey is not perfect, so I can see how it can be difficult down the road.
IF, my centre's goal for me is 180 to 195, and at 5'2, that's just not doing it for me!! I am so glad to have the support of this group because if they said to me, when I hit that range, "ok you're in maintenance", I'm not sure how I would have reacted. Now, I can smile and nod and keep doing my thing.
Gwen, keep shouting from the rooftops your message of seeking help. Those who need to hear it need you to keep saying it!
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. Choose happy.
Opti -10 / M1 -25.5 / M2 -10 / M3 -14.5 / M4 -13 / M5 -10 / M6 -5.5 / M7 -9.5 / M8 -13.5 / M9 -0.5 / M10 -2.5 / M11 -2.5
Century Club and Onederland in month 7!!
Thank you for sharing Gwen! My 1 year anniversary is coming up on January 12, and I know I'm not done losing so it's good to read about your success in spite of the emotional upheaval. Thank you so much for sharing.
Happily married, mom of 3 teens. On a journey to healthy!
Weight Loss: PreOp: 13 lbs M1: 21.9 M2: 13.4 M3: 14.4 M4: 10.3 M5: 11.9 M6: 11.9 M7: 9.5 M8: 6 M9: 5.2 M10: 4.5 M11: 6.9 M12: 0.5
129.4 lbs lost and counting!
I echo this post 100%. Yes, you CAN!
My highest weight was 394 at 5 foot 2 inches. I had RNY surgery in October 2010.
My current weight (range) is 142-146. I did not reach this for 6 -SIX!- years post surgery. Of course most it came off in the first 2 years.
My surgeons hope was that I would lose and maintain weight loss to 180. I was not in a panic to continue losing beyond that. My anxiety was more about gaining it back.
I keep close tabs on my weight for other reasons, beyond regain. All I know is that if I gain weight back, I will know this time. No more avoiding the scale for 3 months figuring there is no hope anyway. There is hope. You CAN do this.
Please believe Gwen B and me and countless others who know you deserve this. Yes you. Even you. =)
Never Never Give Up!