Weight Loss Surgery Changed My Life

Looking for weight loss surgery success stories? I've lost 100 pounds and have kept it off for almost a year! After a great deal of research I knew gastric sleeve surgery was my weight loss solution. This article tells my story of why I chose this this drastic measure to lose weight along with the before and after surgery pictures.


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.


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”

Me with Lucy before gastric sleeve surgery.
The picture above was taken a few weeks before I had gastric sleeve surgery. I weighed 270 pounds. The only reason I allowed this picture to be taken was because I had scheduled the weight loss surgery and knew some day I would want to have a record of what I used to look like.

“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.

100 pounds lighter after gastric sleeve surgeryThis picture to the left is a bit fuzzy. I’ll get a new one soon. But you can see that I’m a much smaller person than I was pre-surgery.

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

Share your thoughts. :)

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  1. Hi Chrisi, I am really interested in your situation. Firstly, well done on your success. Long may it last. I have been dieting gaining and losing the same old 6-7 kilos for around 12 years. I did lose around 20 kgs in the 15 years before that, so you see, I am a long term loser, for sure. Your post is a total reflection of my experience, FM and all, but much more severe. I swear if anyone tells me once more that exercise will fix my problem, I will do more than scream! Lol. Anyway, just wanted to say how much I admire your tenacity and how much your post resonated with me. Thank you and here’s to your long-term health.

  2. Thank you Barbara. Even today I struggle with food. But not like before. It’s different. I don’t eat bad food, I just am trying to eat more veggies, less rice, beans, and nuts. I fear gaining the weight back. This past week has actually been going much better. And it could be due to adding in more veggies.

    I’m going to be writing more articles on lowering the thermostat setpoint or metabolism setpoint. I’m reading several books right now to help me through this. Because I am dealing with Lymes disease I need to really pay attention to how my body reacts to food.

    And yah, exercise is important, but you simply cannot pigeon hole everyone’s weight solution by saying they need to exercise the weight off.

    Here’s a few things that may help in advance of the articles I’ll be writing.

    1. Mindless munching. Wile watching TV, reading, or anything that triggers the desire to eat when you are not truly going to pay attention to your food, try preparing good veggie snacks.

    I buy organic cucumbers, carrots, and spinach and put them into a bowl to much while I’m in the mindless eating mood.

    2. If veggies are not palatable without a sauce, dip, or dressing, try baking or roasting them. Carrots are like candy after you bake them. I will put olive oil on my hands and then wipe the carrots down with the oil on my hands before putting them on the pan. You can do this with other veggies too.

    The thing about mindless munching is the taste is not all-important. It’s really more about munching. A plate of chopped up veggies, seeds and nuts are good for you, satisfying, and will help lesson your cravings.

    Best wishes for you too barbara 🙂