Hi, my name is Chrisi and in April of 2014 I had gastric sleeve weight loss surgery. After my surgery it took about 1.5 years to lose 100 pounds. I have maintained my weight loss for about a year now. I think this is a good indication that my surgery was a success.
However, if you think weight loss surgery guarantees your success, you should know the full story. Whether you have had weight loss surgery or are just considering it, you may find my story helpful.
Before my weight loss surgery I was 100 pounds overweight, felt ugly, embarrassed, and avoided looking at myself in the mirror. For years the general consensus has been to blame weight problems solely on the individual.
One result of this attitude has been that those who have or have had a weight issue can feel like it’s all their fault. But I want to say that I don’t care how overweight someone is, it’s almost never their fault.
Are you a fan of The Biggest Loser? If so you may feel, as many do, that weight problems can be solved by simply working out. Maybe fat people just don’t exercise enough. Well, let me give you a bit of insight into what some of us “fat” people go through.
“I PUSHED THROUGH PAIN TO EXERCISE THE WEIGHT OFF”
Is it an exercise issue? Most would agree that a lack of exercise can contribute to weight issues. However, in my case exercise was not the problem. In fact, you might be shocked to learn just how much I did exercise.
I may have been 100 pounds overweight, but I was not a couch potato. I was in fact quite active. Even at my peek weight I was walking 5 to 10 miles per day. My daily routine included getting up very early and walking just before sun rise for two hours.
Later in the afternoon around 2:00 pm I would walk another one or two hours. On top of that three times a week I worked out for an hour with a professional fitness trainer.
So, what do you think? Was it an exercise issue?
Believe me, working out so hard was very difficult to do. For about the last 25 years I’ve dealt with chronic pain, so you can imagine, or you may personally know, how difficult it can be to keep up a routine of strenuous exercise when you hurt every day. For a long time I could not do it without pain medication. I kept thinking; if I could lose at least 50 pounds my pain would decrease greatly and my energy would come back.
“i thought weight GAIN was the reason for my pain”
“Frustration, depression, and feeling ugly”
I was not a slacker! I was exercising like crazy and still not losing weight. So I decided to go back to Dr. Powell, a local weight loss doctor.
He put me on a 1200 to 1300 calorie a day diet and I did my best to stick to it. However, I was hungry all the time and frustrated with the progress I was making. I decided to increase my exercise even more. I began ridding my stationary bike 3 days a week at home for about 30 to 60 minutes.
Losing about 1 lb a week was still not good enough. I was beginning to lose a little weight. But I was still hungry all the time. Plus, I was beginning to develop other issues due to the extreme exercise. More exercise equaled more pain for me, and I didn’t want to take more pain medication. Whoever said “no pain, no gain” didn’t deal with chronic pain.
“what was wrong with me?”
I talked to friends and they couldn’t figure out why I was working so hard and the weight was not falling off. I was not eating more. I was eating less. So that was not the problem either.
At this point I decided it was time to take a more drastic approach to my weight loss. I had looked into weight loss surgery back around 2005 when I learned of a friend who had the surgery and was doing quite well.
At that time it was far too expensive and I didn’t have any health insurance. However, this time I was able to afford it so I decided to do the research online. I spent quite a long time looking over other people’s stories and researched a few hospitals and doctors as well. I was thrilled with what I discovered.
Weight loss surgery in Mexico was way-the-heck-cheaper than here in the US! In fact it costs about $20,000-$25,000 here compared to $4,000-$7,000 in Mexico. I scheduled an appointment immediately and had the surgery 11 days later.
My stay in the hospital was excellent. They took a video of me the day after I had the surgery.
I cannot believe that was me! This video has my name spelled differently because I was so embarrassed about how I looked in it. I still cannot believe that was me. Today, I look much different. I have lost a total of 100 lbs.
I’m thrilled to have maintained my weight loss for about a year. My body seems to want to weigh about 176-178, but I want to weigh 170, so I’m working on changing my set point rather than dieting.
I’m a firm believer in the benefits of weight loss surgery. But it is not a cure-all. If you don’t resolve to make healthy dietary choices after surgery the weight will come back. Maybe not all at once, but eventually it will happen.
For me it has been extremely beneficial to cut out junk, fast, and most processed foods. This has really helped me be successful.
I think it’s vital that before you decide to have this type of surgery you really understand what you’re getting yourself into.
I feel is the biggest benefit to weight loss surgery is what another doctor refer to as a gift. It is something you will get one time and that’s it. You can’t repeat it. That gift is this really amazing thing that happens when you have the surgery.
“The instant set point reduction”
The main benefit of weight loss surgery is how it changes your body’s set point. A few weeks before I had the surgery I weighed 270 lbs. My body wanted to be this weight. So my set point was 270. Trying to move your set point to a lower weight is one of the most difficult things for an overweight person to accomplish.
Weight loss surgery instantly changed my set point to 175 – 180 lbs. Today I weight about 176 lbs. However, if I am not careful, I am sure my weight would gradually creep back up to where I never want to go again.
I wear a size 12 – 14 pant size and I never want to ever have to buy a size 16! And to do this I need to manage my diet. If I don’t my set point will increase, and I will be extremely unhappy.
In the next article I’ll be talking more about… managing your set point