Before & After VSG with ocean4dlm, down 132 pounds!January 21, 2020
Why I Decided to Have WLS
In November of 2014, I was close to 300 pounds. I had given up weighing myself, so I'm not sure how high I had gotten. (My all-time high was 345 in 2007 when I left a miserable 27-year marriage.) That November night, my significant other went into cardiac arrest in bed. Because of my size and poor physical condition, I had a difficult time pulling him out of bed and performing CPR. Thankfully, he recovered, finished a college degree, and is doing fine!
As I ate my way through the even more stressful holiday season, I took another hard look at what I had done to myself. I needed a total knee replacement and couldn’t walk more than a couple of steps.
I was depressed about how I looked and had little hope for anything to improve. Something had to give.
I realized that I could lose weight, but I was unable to keep it off. I was an overweight elementary school student, an obese teenager, and was morbidly obese from then on, with the exception of three weight losses of 100+ pounds, followed by immediate regain, and then some. Like many of you, I had tried every diet and fad known to man.
I began to research the VSG but wasn't able to get an initial appointment with the bariatric office until early February 2015. I told the office that I wanted to begin the weight loss process and asked if my PCP could weigh me and use that number as my official starting weight, and they agreed. On January 7, 2015, I weighed in at 271. I found and joined ObesityHelp, and frequented several forums, such as the VSG and General Discussion.
I was motivated by the Before and After feature stories. I began a lean and green diet and worked to detox from sugar. When I had my initial visit with the surgeon, I was already halfway to my required 10% weight loss. I was "fast-tracked" because of this and all of the research I had done to get my head in the game.
I registered for My Fitness Pal, and began to weigh, measure, and log everything. I increased my water intake and stopped drinking before, during, and after eating. Baby silverware and small plates helped me slow down my eating and be more aware of portions.
I received approval and was scheduled for a 05/27/15 VSG. My doctor did not require a two-week liquid diet, just for the 24 hours before surgery. I did two weeks of 2-3 protein shakes and a lean and green dinner a day on my own. With these changes alone, I lost a total of 53 pounds in the four months before surgery.
Before & After VSG with ocean4dlm
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
My laparoscopic VSG surgery went well and included repair of a significant hiatal hernia. I experienced a setback when esophageal swelling made swallowing impossible and required insertion of a PICC line and a week-long initial hospital stay.
Then, I developed a DVT as a result of the PICC line, which was removed after less than a week. I refused a feeding tube and preferred to tough it out. I was re-admitted for ten days and received IV fluids along with the blood thinners. I was able to swallow small sips when discharged, and my liquid stage was extended to three weeks and soft foods to four weeks.
This unexpected experience solidified the shift of food as an exciting event to being fuel for a healthy body. When I was finally able to eat, I appreciated taste and texture so much more! I will forever be grateful for my extended recovery, as it forced me to make the whole process worth it in the long term.
I also credit the front loading I did before surgery, to build habits, and identify challenges and potential solutions. I had already eliminated white sugar, grains, and pasta from my diet. It was routine for me to weigh, measure, and log every bite and sip in My Fitness Pal. I knew what it was like to stop drinking before, during, and after meals. I had experienced eating protein first, and after the first six months, adding some vegetables or fruit was a treat.
After my second hospital discharge, I began to use two walking poles to get to the end of my short driveway and back. As my weight decreased, my stamina and muscle tone increased. By month four, I was no longer using walking sticks and was walking 4-5 miles a day. I began to swim a mile, 2-3 times a week.
I now maintain in a range of 135-140 pounds which is 15 pounds below my surgeon’s goal.
I try to get 10,000 steps a day, and no longer have knee pain. Now, I can cross country ski, snowshoe, hike, bowl, camp, kayak.. the sky is the limit. I continue to weigh daily because it works for me. I maintain my weight on about 1450 calories a day and have made honoring my pyloric valve a priority.
I still eat protein first and let my sleeve and that special valve do their magic. Yes, it is possible, even easy to eat around your sleeve. Not so much, if you eat protein first, vegetables/fruits next, and complex carbs last. I have worked to complete the shift from thinking in terms of good/bad food to fuel/not fuel. I am human and do consume non-fuel sometimes. I now adjust the rest of my intake and move forward, continuing on my plan.
Most important, I continue to learn and develop new activities, interests, and skills to replace my former emphasis on the number on the scale. I found that shift the hardest part of moving into maintenance.
How has ObesityHelp.com been a part of your journey?
Finding the VSG Maintenance Group on ObesityHelp as I neared my goal weight has had a positive impact on my ability to successfully maintain a healthy lifestyle for over three years. These special, invested individuals are like family, sharing the highs and lows of navigating life after VSG. We support, challenge, and respect one another on a daily basis.. truly a lifeline!
Share Your Before & After Success!
Celebrate your own Before & After WLS Success, milestones, non-scale victories, and inspire others! The OH team wants to hear from you to share your weight loss surgery journey. Visit our Before & After Submission page for details.