Before & After VSG with Annette H

Before & After VSG with Annette H., down 140 pounds!

September 1, 2020

Before & After VSG with Annette H.

Why I decided to have WLS

I was overweight in elementary school. My mom tried to teach me about healthy eating and being active, but I learned how to hide and sneak what and how much I ate.  I distinctly remember gaining 20 lbs every school year (mostly during summer) until 7th grade. My most mortifying moment happened during P.E. We all had to be weighed and measured, boys and girls together. 

Looking back, I think the teachers might have tried to keep our information private-ish, but it didn’t work. When I stepped on the scale, the nurse told the teacher, “170.” I  prayed that NO ONE else heard. I wasn't that lucky. Later, the cute boy who was standing behind turned to me on the playground and just said “170” in the most derisive tone. I crumbled. I was so ashamed. That was the start of the burden of weight shame that I carried with me through adulthood.  

In high school, I worked fast food and continued my journey toward unhealthy eating habits and obesity.  I would not eat all day then eat when I got to work. At work our meals were free – and I took full advantage! 

When I graduated high school, I was well over 200 lbs and continued down that path for the next few years. By the time I was 20, I was over 230. I was determined to lose weight. I lost over 50 lbs and felt great. I was down to a size 13 and felt very cute – but then “life happened”, and before long, I flew past 230 well into 250+. 

It always seemed to start the same way. I would decide “enough was enough” and vow to make a change. I would completely restructure my eating habits and follow the diet with practically religious fervor. I would lose weight, feel great, start to relax and “enjoy” life again, and slowly but surely put the weight back on. 

Back and forth, and up and down – the weight cycle of shame would continue. When I was thinner “I was being good” when I was heavy “I was being bad.” I felt cute and worthy when I weighed less, but I felt unlovable when I put the weight back on.  

It wasn’t until I became a teacher and really started to see how a negative body image really affects young people that I started working on trying to love myself for me – big or small. 

Before & After VSG with Annette H.

OH Username: Annette H.
Total Weight Loss: 140 pounds
Surgery Type: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
Surgery Date: March 26, 2019
Surgeon: Philip Chin, MD

Before & After VSG with Annette H. - My Surgery & Post-Op Life

I must have lost over a thousand pounds in my life. For as long as I can remember, I have been on a diet or rebounding from a diet. I have lost weight on programs, meal replacements, low-carb, low-cal, low-food, liquid, fasting diets – you name it, I’ve tried it, and I was “successful.”  I followed the plans and lost weight, but I always gained it back. I needed something different.  

I had my first consultation with Dr. Murali at Kaiser Fontana on October 24, 2018. I attended the orientation on Friday of that week.

I am definitely an action-oriented individual. I am thoughtful, but I am decisive, and once I have made a decision, I move on it. I was ready to start my journey. I was ready for surgery. Who needs 12 weeks to decide? Who needs to hear all the same information again? I read the brochure – I knew what I was doing. I was ready to get it done! Little did I know that the next 12 weeks would make such a drastic difference in my journey.

I started the pre-op Options classes on November 7th.  By the third week, I realized how self-destructive so many of my behaviors had become.  I also realized how much more work it was going to take.

Taking 12 weeks to go through the in's and out's of Surgical Weight Loss forces individuals to consider the journey in more ways.  This was not just another weight loss plan – this needed to be a life change. They call it a tool for a reason. There is no magic solution. There is no easy way around it.  I needed to face all the “diet demons” in my closet if I was going to be successful. I realized that I was going to need to address all those years of hiding, tying food and weight to my self-value, and getting stuck in the cycle of shame.  

When I met with my surgeon, Dr. Philip Chin on March 4th, I felt more prepared and ready to continue on the next step of the journey.  My pre-op weight was 279. We scheduled my surgery date for March 26th.  

While I did experience some significant pain after surgery, it was not intolerable. I could walk and made several trips around the nursing station. 

My biggest challenge was getting in my fluids. I had a relatively small complication after surgery.  I reacted poorly to the anesthesia and was extremely nauseous and very tired. I did not meet the minimum fluid intake and had to stay an extra night in the hospital. By the next day, I was walking every hour and drinking all my 1 oz cups.   

I was able to take a full three weeks off work and really focus on my recovery. I was able to establish some strong habits and adjust to this new lifestyle. I read my binder over and over, and I stuck to my doctor’s recommendations about eating and walking. By the time I returned to work, I had a strong handle on what I needed to do.  

Before & After VSG with Annette H.

Over the last year, I have focused on getting my required protein, drinking my water, exercising, and taking my vitamins.  I have never liked taking vitamins. I am pretty sensitive, and I can struggle to digest them. When I committed to this life change, I committed to taking those vitamins. I tried and researched different brands and different types until I found the ones that work for me.    

I have also focused on asking for help when I need it (mentally, physically, and psychologically), reaching out to my community, and giving myself the opportunity to appreciate the journey. 

I constantly have to remind myself that I am a work in progress and this is a journey NOT a race. 

My husband is on this journey with me and was sleeved by Dr. Chin on July 17, 2019. Together we have committed to make this change and help to hold each other accountable. We hold each other up and are each other's biggest cheerleaders. Our lives are so much fuller now. We take walks, we talk more, we are working on the house – we are not content to just exist – we are living our lives

Special Milestones & Non-Scale Victory

Before & After VSG with Annette H.

  • On August 19th, 2019, my 48th birthday, I weighed 169 pounds – less than I did that horrible day in 7th grade. 
  • In October 2019, I finally reached a healthy BMI for the first time in my life.  
  • On October 5th, 2019, I walked the runway at an ObesityHelp Conference in kick-ass 5-inch, red strappy sandals and felt like a million bucks!
  • On January, 15th, 2020, I reached my goal of 138 pounds– I am literally ½ the woman I was when I started.  
  • In February 2020, I decided I was going to try to start running – actually running. Even though I am still pretty slow, I run 3 to 5 times a week. On March 28th, 2020, I ran a 10K in memory of one of my biggest cheerleaders who passed away in December.

How has been a part of your journey? 

One of the biggest factors in the success of my journey has been the help of my community. Through support, we help each other navigate this path. has given me the opportunity to meet so many people and hear inspiring stories. People who have had significant struggles to mentor me around tough obstacles, or others who can empathize with what I am going through and just let me vent. Some have stories that motivate me to keep moving forward, and some just have great menu ideas and recipes.

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