Before & After VSG with Stacey, down 106 pounds!July 12, 2022
Why I decided to have WLS
Growing up in a southern town, normal meals were something fried and with potatoes, and I was taught to eat what was on your plate. My family was never concerned about their weight, so they did not teach me to make healthy choices. I started “dieting” when I hit junior high school doing all the new fad diets and taking any kind of diet medicine to lose weight. I was always active in sports, but was still heavier than all my friends.
After I got married, I started packing on the “happy weight” and had a baby within the first year of marriage and I gained 60 pounds. Once again, I started taking diet pills to lose the baby weight. My second pregnancy was a set of twins and while I didn’t gain much weight during the pregnancy, the scale started going up after they were born.
I always joked with my husband that I wish I could just cut part of my stomach out and that would solve all my weight loss issues. Little did I know there was a surgery that did just that.
My husband, who is always my biggest cheerleader, was completely against me having surgery. He said I needed to do it in the old-fashioned way of eating right and working out. So I hired a personal trainer, who supplied me with one-on-one workouts and a customized eating plan and started the process “the old-fashioned way”. A whole year rocks by and I was in no better shape or weight than when I started. Now yes, throughout that year I did lose ten pounds here and there, but it never failed. The weight would come right back.
I went to the doctor to have blood work done just to make sure everything was fine in my body. All tests came back fine. At this point, I weighed 234 pounds and I had no energy for anything. I hated to go shopping for clothes because I could never find anything to fit and to be comfortable in. I was completely miserable. My husband finally saw the real struggle I had to lose the weight and keep it off and he agreed to the surgery. At that point, I began the search for the right surgeon.
Before & After VSG with Stacey
Name: Stacey Birdsong
Total Weight Loss: 106 lbs
Surgery Type: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
Surgery Date: August 21, 2017
Surgeon: Dr. Guillermo Alvarez
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
Without having insurance to pay for the surgery, I knew I would need to go to Mexico, as the price of the surgery in the United States is very expensive. I came across a YouTube video of Brandi Carter and her testimony of having the surgery and using Dr. Alvarez with Endobariatric. She talked so highly of him and the whole process that I decided to research him a lot more. All the reviews I saw of him were people saying nothing but the best things. I haven’t found one bad review on him yet. To my surprise, he was on Snapchat where he would video the surgeries he was performing live every day for you to follow along. My husband and I started following him and immediately loved how transparent he was with his daily life as a surgeon. I knew this was my doctor.
I began the process of filling out the online health questionnaire and within a day, Dr. Alvarez himself sent me a video chat to let me know he was accepting me as a patient. The process was smooth sailing from that point on; I scheduled my surgery and waited for the day to come. Everything went beautifully with my surgery and the whole experience at Endobariatric. Dr. Alvarez runs a very well-oiled machine. He lays out the whole experience and what to expect for you in his patient guide, and everything goes exactly as it says. He has the cleanest hospital I have ever seen and some of the sweetest nurses who are there for you, without hesitation. There, you are treated like family, and that’s no exaggeration.
Post-op was pretty easy for me. I followed the post-op instructions to a T and sailed through pretty easily. Although by the end of the three weeks, I was definitely ready to eat solid food again! I dropped the majority of my weight within the first few months. By my one-year mark, I had lost all the weight I needed to lose. I lost a whole person. I was the smallest I had ever been in my whole life, and that made me so happy. Most of all, I felt so much better. I had more self- confidence. I was more active because I wanted to be and because it was finally easy for me.
From that point, I had to start figuring out how to maintain this new weight that I was so happy to finally be at. I knew I needed to keep my protein up, my carbs low, and drink a lot of water, but I also wanted to just live my normal life and not feel like I always had to be on high alert about what I was eating. So I adapted to carb cycling, yoga and even took up running. I am now four years post-op and so happy to say that I have maintained my 106 lb weight loss so far. I documented my journey of going through weight loss surgery and started my YouTube channel in hopes to encourage other people who are considering WLS and show them that it is a good option. It's definitely not the easy way out! I'm forever grateful for Dr. Alvarez and his whole team for giving me this tool that has given me back my life.
Before & After VSG with Stacey: Special Milestones
One of my happiest non-scale victories was being able to go into my favorite clothing store and pull the size of shirt or jeans that I need and not have to try them on because I KNOW they are going to fit. I’ve always loved clothes, but when you are pretty big, it gets hard to find clothes to fit. That took the fun out of shopping for me a long time ago. I have a newfound love for shopping now with my new body.
Another special milestone for me is my husband noticing and making a comment about how happy I am now and how I’m down for anything now. My husband is very outdoorsy and adventurous and loves to be spontaneous and I was not because everything we did, I was uncomfortable. Now, after losing over 100 pounds, I’m ready for any hike at the drop of a hat!
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.