Happy 5 Years Post-Op to Me!

Gwen M.
on 3/13/19 7:44 am
VSG on 03/13/14

Short version: Happy five-year surgiversary to me!

Long version: Keep reading...

It's hard to believe I'm five years post op, but the calendar doesn't lie. I feel like I should make some wisdom-filled post that's super insightful and stuff, but that's not where my brain is at right now so you get bullet points.

Here's a link to my weight loss graph. The blue box is my surgeon's goal weight for me. The green box is my goal weight for me. I added some labels for major events along the way.

I'm grateful I had weight loss surgery. It motivated me to pursue mental therapy, to be kind to myself, and to make exercise a part of my life. All of those things combined in a way that inspired me to go back to college and helped me to survive my dad's end of life and everything involved in that. I feel like I'm a better person than I was five years ago.

Everything isn't perfect. I occasionally have nightmares where I look in the mirror and see SMO-Gwen looking back. If I don't weigh myself daily, I start to avoid the scale because I worry it'll say 320 when I step on it again. I get angry that people (like doctors) treat me better now than they did when I was SMO. I'm often plagued with self-doubt and imposter syndrome. It's super weird to me that the people I meet now don't know that I was SMO.

The reason I had weight loss surgery, and subsequent reconstructive surgeries, was because I was tired of having a body that prevented me from doing the things I wanted to do. I can honestly say that, now, there is nothing that I want to do that my body prevents me from doing and that is an amazing thing to be able to say.

Specific stuff:

+ I weigh myself (almost) every day. Sometimes I miss a day since I get dressed too soon or whatever, but I try to weigh daily.

+ I have a protein shake every day for breakfast since I don't like solid food in the morning, but protein is necessary. This is my compromise with myself.

+ I don't track my food with something like MyFitnessPal. I get obsessed with numbers and tracking would be unhealthy for me. I promised myself if I ever got to a point where my weight wasn't doing what I wanted it to, and I didn't know why, that I'd start tracking... but I've never gotten to that point. I always know why my weight is, and isn't, doing what I want it to.

+ I do log what I eat (almost) every day. Just keeping a food journal helps with my mindfulness. When I avoid logging, that's a good sign that I'm making poor choices.

+ And I definintely make poor choices from time to time.

+ I describe my way of eating as "lots of protein, avoid refined and processed carbs, let the fat fall where it may."

+ I still weigh my portions and aim for 4-6 ounces, depending on what I'm eating.

+ Exercise is important for health. Full stop. It's especially important for healthy aging (physical AND mental) as every system in your body requires oxygenated blood to function. If you're not exercising, you're doing yourself a disservice.

+ My relationships with people have changed to become less food-centric, although I still enjoy food-centric events when they happen, it's nice to have non-food-centric gatherings too.

+ I've been 100% open and honest about my surgeries with everyone, this has worked well for me.

+ That said, people do say really strange stuff when you lose a lot of weight and I've had complete strangers approach me and ask me about my weight loss. That can play games with my brain.

+ Apparently, I love clothes. Who knew? I have a ridiculous coat collection. Losing weight has been expensive for me - clothes, college, races, reconstructive surgeries... these are all things I "blame" on weight loss. Totally worth it.

+ No one has ever been weird to me about my eating habits.

+ Ice cream is a liquid - i.e., WLS is not a magic fix.

+ I still love to cook, but my cooking habits have changed. It was challenging to figure out the right balance to feed my family and not end up with wasted food. These days, I cook only protein three nights a week, full meals (protein+side or a casserole type thing) two nights a week, and the other two nights are leftover nights. There's always rice in the fridge for other people to eat. I love my sous vide and it's the kitchen gadget I use the most.

+ When I started exercising beyond post-op walking, my exercise had two main components - running and fitness classes. For the fitness class part, I joined a gym that offered a lot of classes at convenient times for my life and tried everything that sounded remotely appealing and forced myself to give each new class (and teacher) four tries before making a decision about whether to keep the fitness class in my life or not. This was beneficial for me since it allowed me to get past the "I'm a horrible, uncoordinated whale" feelings that I think are fairly normal for people to feel the first few times they try a new thing!

+ I'm not sure I'd say that it's easy at this point. I don't think it's hard either? It's just... life. Overall, it's a pretty great life.

I think that's everything. Thanks for letting me share this part of my life!

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 42 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

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

mmsmom
on 3/13/19 7:57 am - Woburn, MA
with

Congrats, Gwen - you are an inspiration!

     VSG on 04/28/2014 

amygrace
on 3/13/19 1:14 pm

Great inspiration! I will be having surgery in April. Of course, since I haven't had my surgery I have no idea of the things to come. But, some things baffle me. Like...how can you be such a horrible eater before weight loss and be in those habits of eating anything and everything to now drasically changing those habits for good! It scares me to know end!!!! The only thing right now I can attribute it to is your hunger pains and taste has dramatically changed. But, even five years out, is it still that way? Bottom line....I'm scared I will go back to my old ways over time. I know you have to make a conscious effort to stay slim, but have you wanted to eat like you did before? Is the desire there? or no? Do you just want to indulge when stres****s?

Gwen M.
on 3/13/19 1:16 pm
VSG on 03/13/14

You're right to be concerned. Surgery will not magically fix your habits - all it does is change your stomach. Use the time when you can't eat a lot to work on changing the source of those bad thought processes and habits - your brain. If you want longterm success, you'll need to change the mental components. Therapy is a really great tool!

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 42 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

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

guyute111
on 3/13/19 1:26 pm

Congratulations on your sucsess!!!

It's great to hear stories about long term success. I've been searching for but don't often find many updates from people much past 2 or 3 years post-op. I was happy to read this post today!

Sparklekitty, Science-Loving Derby Hag
on 3/13/19 2:18 pm
VSG on 12/10/13

If you'd like info from folks who are further out from surgery, the daily menu threads (RNY and VSG) are a great place to look. There are lots of posters here who are 5+ years out who will share insight into what life is like when you're past the 2 or 3 year point. There's usually not much reason, save a major WLS anniversary, to make an independent post about it :)

Nerdy Little Secret (#42) - Derby Strong!


HW 300 / LW 150 / Post-regain goal: 170

Gwen M.
on 3/13/19 2:40 pm
VSG on 03/13/14

In addition to what SparkleKitty said, you can always ask too. The people who do still come around OH are usually happy to answer questions about post-op life.

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 42 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

TrendWeight | Food Blog (sort of functional) | Journal (down for maintenance)

AnnieG522
on 3/13/19 1:48 pm
VSG on 10/05/17

You've done so beautifully in so many ways! So grateful you shared.

HW: 240 lbs CW: 205 lbs: SW: 199 lbs GW: 130 lbs

1 MO = 167.0
2 MO = 156.4
3 MO = 148.4
4 MO = 140.6
5 MO = 136.0
6 MO = 130.0 (GOAL)
1 YR = 122.0
Inches: 50.5 lost

MotivatedToFit
on 3/13/19 3:22 pm

So inspirational! You did amazing on your journey and have been such a big help on this site to newbies such as myself. I hope I will be as successful as you are on my own journey! Cheers to your weight loss and health.

Maritopia
on 3/13/19 5:32 pm
VSG on 03/01/17

Congrats on your continued success and thank you for being on OH to help others figure it out too.

Height: 5'5" SW: 222 lbs CW: 122 lbs

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