Before & After VSG with PuggleDad, down 147 pounds!January 19, 2021
Before & After VSG with PuggleDad: Why I decided to have WLS
My struggles with my weight have largely stemmed from a lifelong battle with mental illness. Right out of the gate I didn’t get the best of starts, and early on developed PTSD, anxiety, sleep paralysis, insomnia, depression, and eventually bipolar disorder.
My weight fluctuated throughout my life, but there was always an upward trend on the scale over the long-term. I graduated high school at 265 pounds as a man standing 5’9”. The majority of my adulthood was spent flirting with 300 pounds, and once I saw the first number on the scale become that dreaded “3”, I realized things had to change.
I couldn’t tackle my mental illnesses and morbid obesity separately, they were inexorably intertwined and had left me disabled and miserable.
But weighing in over 300 pounds was perhaps the best thing to ever happen to me because that “3” on the scale was the turning point. That was the moment I truly made the decision to get better.
I had spent most of my adulthood medicated to the point where I felt like less than half a person. I needed to make a change because the miserable stability I had attained was no longer enough.
I started making appointments and trying new things. At the same time, I started working on my weight. Initially, I was able to make great progress on my own, getting down to about 250 at age 34.
However, as would be the story of my entire life, my weight would yo-yo and I would end close to 300 yet again. I realized I wasn’t really going to get to a healthy point and stay there without some help.
Sadly, the thing stopping me from seriously looking into the VSG procedure earlier was the assumption that I simply wasn’t big enough to qualify for surgery. After reading some information online, I got a referral for Denver Health and found some pretty great people there to aid me in this fight.
Before & After VSG with PuggleDad
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
With the amount of anxiety I have, I feel the days leading up to surgery were maybe far more brutal than a couple of days right after surgery. My hospital stay was not my favorite experience, but that was largely from my social anxieties at the time and inability to sleep anywhere but the comfort of my own home.
The pain and discomfort were definitely a factor, but the period of time where I was miserable was incredibly brief. I stayed one night and the majority of the following day, and then I was released. After spending a few days with my parents, I was back in my apartment and felt far better than I ever expected to at that point.
The first year of my post-op life has been easily the best year of my life, which is an odd thing to say when most of that occurred in 2020. Once I was cleared to work out, I made exercise the highest priority in my life.
My weight has been on a downward trajectory the entire time. Sometimes the weight would come off steadily, but sometimes I would go a couple of weeks without seeing a change. Then a huge chunk of it would seemingly fall off all at once, which is a wonderful high that rivals possibly anything I’ve felt in life.
When I showed up at Denver Health for the first time, they asked me what my goal weight was. I told them I would be thrilled to reach 200. That felt ambitious, but I knew if I worked hard and stayed focused, I felt I could achieve that goal after 18 months or so.
I suppose I didn’t give myself enough credit, because I would find myself reaching that initial goal just 190 days after surgery. I was left with the question of “now what?” I was happy with myself, but little did I know that health and fitness had become something close to an addiction at that point.
There was no way I was going to be pat myself on the back too much when I still had room for improvement. My next major goal would be to get my BMI in the “healthy” range, something I never dared to dream was possible before.
Ten months after having weight loss surgery for morbid obesity, my BMI dipped below 25 and into the range I so desired. The word “healthy” was being used by medical professionals to describe me, and I will never grow tired of hearing it.
Current day, I’m under 160 pounds with my one year anniversary a little over a few months. Where do I go from here? I’m not entirely sure. I don’t feel any need to see a smaller number on the scale, so I’m not going to obsess over it.
I just want to look and feel at my best and to always remember that though I’ve established myself as quite the sprinter in this post-op weight loss journey, I now must shift my focus to an even more challenging race: the marathon that awaits me.
For now, I’m focusing on eating the highest quality food and adding muscle. And for the first time in my adult life, I see a future ahead of me that I genuinely want to experience, a future that wasn’t in the cards for me as a much larger person. Happiness was something I used to experience for hours, or if I was lucky, maybe even days at a time. It’s still a bit of a strange feeling, but I certainly don’t mind.
A Special Milestone / Non-Scale Victory
- My shirt size went from XXXL to M
- I wear my pants (31 waist) on my actual waist now instead of far below
- When someone calls me handsome, I believe them now
- I’m able to do pull-ups for the first time in my entire life
- I no longer have the instinct to hide when someone starts taking pictures
- I biked the distance equivalent of the trip from L.A. to New York City and back on my stationary bike less than a year ago
I've found the ObesityHelp.com forums are a great place to share what has worked for me and to see what has worked for others.
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