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Gastric Bypass Patients
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Everything posted by DLCoggin

  1. Since having my surgery on October 20, 2011, I have set a "main" goal every year. Year one was obvious, get to the weight that my body wanted to be at. Approximately fourteen months post-op I hit 155 lbs, my weight loss leveled out, I felt great about my weight, about myself, and about what I had accomplished. Year two. I had read so many times about "bounce back weight gain". Usually ten or fifteen pounds but sometimes much more. I researched everything I could find and there appeared to be no physical or metabolic justification for the weight gain. It was/is quite common, but I could find no science to explain it. So my year two goal became to avoid the bounce back. I established a window of 151 to 156 lbs that I was determined to maintain. I changed my weigh-ins schedule from my year one weekly weight checks to year two daily checks. My weight in year two was seldom below 151 (maybe two or three times) and never above 156. Year three. As you get further out veterans who have "been there done that" often drop off of the forums. It became more difficult to identify potential "bumps in the road" that were common in the third year post-op period. Then over a period of time I read a number of posts by a five year veteran who repeatedly stressed that maintaining your weight becomes more difficult, m u c h more difficult, after the two year mark. And responses to this member's posts seemed to confirm that many had experienced the same difficulties. Once again I looked to science for an explanation and possible suggestions for avoiding or at least minimizing the challenges. And once again I was unable to identify any credible science to explain the problem. So my year three goal became more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I had lost 130 lbs. And I had maintained it for a year. The goal for year three became to maintain my commitment, and my focus, on following my plan that had resulted in the success I had achieved. Stay positive. Stay patient. Monitor my weight daily and respond very quickly to weight changes. Making slight increases or decreases in my calorie goal depending on whether I needed to gain or lose two or three pounds. Exercise to my ability. Continue to maintain a food log. The result? I frankly never experienced any identifiable change in my diet, in the effort required to maintain my weight, or in my confidence that I was in complete and absolute control of my weight. No changes. None. Zip. And my weight this morning? 154.2 I only have one problem - I'm at a total loss for a year four goal! Everyone's thoughts, suggestions, ideas or experiences are most welcome!! You guys have a terrific day and regardless of where you're at in your journey always remember - follow your plan and you're gonna love the new you!
  2. DLCoggin

    11 year veteran with heartburn/intestinal issues

    I have a close friend who is 15 years out and has experienced similar symptoms on two different occasions. Both times turned out to be a bleeding ulcer at the anastomosis. Absolutely treatable but sooner is better than later. If you have not done so already, I would encourage you to see either your surgeon or a gastroenterologist without delay. There are a list of other possible causes but regardless, it's always better to know rather than guess. Please share the results of what you learn so that everyone can benefit from your experience. Looking forward to hearing of your full recovery!!
  3. DLCoggin

    When you're ready to stop losing

    You've obviously already done a great job Ginger and I think you have a great plan for moving forward into the maintenance stage. I really believe that gradual calorie increases followed by monitoring your body's response in terms of weight gain or loss is the way to go. BMI is a less than ideal measure of healthy weight, especially for those with a higher than average amount of muscle mass. I think your plan to get the body fat analysis is a terrific idea. I've never had one but would be very interested in your experience and what you learn from it. The rapid weight loss part of the journey was incredibly exciting and rewarding. But the maintenance stage was, for me, where the real fun began. It's one thing to prove to yourself that you can lose weight. It's quite another to discover that you really have made the all important lifestyle changes. That you can eat quite a "normal" diet and still maintain your weight. That you can manage your weight instead of it managing you. That you really, truly, absolutely are in control and lovin' the new you!!
  4. During the "rapid weight loss" stage of my journey I weighed once a week, even once every two weeks if I could stand it. Daily weigh-ins can be frustrating at best and self-defeating at worst during this stage. Once I transitioned into the "maintenance" stage, I started to weigh every day for weight management purposes. I established a weight window of 151-156 lbs. My daily weigh-ins give me immediate feedback on how I'm doing. More importantly, they allow me to identify and respond to two or three pound shifts (up or down) immediately. If my weight is a little high, I decrease my calorie goal by 100-200 calories for a day or two and my weight comes right back down. If it's a little low, a 100-200 calorie increase for a day or two and it comes right back up. I've done both many times. Works like a charm. My weight has not been above 156 for two years. It did slip below 151 two or three times but was easy to correct. Today's weight - 153.8. I've been logging in My Fitness Pal for over three years and it is an amazing tool for truly managing your weight. As opposed to your weight managing you. It puts me in complete control. The confidence from knowing that is priceless. Making a two or three pound correction is a snap. Correcting 10, 20 or more pounds - considerably more challenging.
  5. DLCoggin

    When you're ready to stop losing

    Carol - wow! Talk about success stories! You are like the poster person for gastric bypass! It is unfortunate that so many of the vets drop off the forum after reaching their goals. I don't post replies as often as I once did (you can only answer the same question so many times and then it's time for others to take over) but I still monitor the forum on a regular basis and try to help out where I can. I firmly believe that, like a person that has the disease of alcoholism, I will always have the disease of obesity. Whether you're one year post-op or ten years post-op, managing your weight is a life long endeavor. Reading the victories, challenges, and lessons learned by others is an invaluable tool for maintaining my commitment. You never stop learning. Have a great day!!
  6. DLCoggin

    Three Years Post-op Today

    You're certainly welcome Mimi! Comparing notes and sharing ideas is what BP is all about. You're gonna love the new you!!
  7. DLCoggin

    When you're ready to stop losing

    Hi Ginger and a huge congratulations on your success!! Great job!! I went into my weight loss journey with the idea that my body would tell me when it was at the weight it wanted to be. I never set a goal weight. Intentionally avoided forming any expectation of how long it would/could take. After averaging just slightly under 1300 calories/day for fourteen months, my weight loss slowed to a crawl and eventually just stopped. After several weeks at the same weight, I knew I had arrived at my destination. Then I had exactly the same question you have - now what? Seemed like a good question to ask my surgeon. She told me that 1) she did not want me to lose any more weight (BMI is/was 22.9) and 2) she recommended about 1800 calories/day for weight maintenance. I felt that jumping from 1300 calories/day to 1800 calories/day was more than a little uncomfortable. So I decided to work my way up to 1600 calories. I changed my calorie goal to 1450 and maintained that for about two months. All the while checking my weight on a daily basis. I had established a window of 151-156 pounds that I wanted to maintain. To be honest, I was somewhat surprised that even though I had increased my average calorie intake, my weight remained in that window. So after a couple of months, I increased it again to 1600 calories. And once again, there was no change in my weight - for about four or five months. In fact I thought I had found my "number" - 1600 calories. But after four or five months at 1600, I started struggling to keep my weight above my 151 minimum. To this day I have no idea why. My diet had not changed. My calorie goal had not changed. My exercise had not changed. But my weight was dropping. So I increased my calorie goal again - this time to 1750. I have been at that daily goal for over a year now and my weight has been rock solid within my window. My weight this morning was 152.2. I should note that I am an avid fan of maintaining a food log. I've been logging in My Fitness Pal for over three years. This is a good example of just one of the many benefits of logging. No log is absolutely accurate no matter how hard we may try but I do everything I can to make my entries as accurate as possible. My log was priceless in helping me make the calorie adjustments and then monitor the results in terms of my weight. Without my log, calorie intake would have been a guess. An educated guess, but a guess all the same. Logging is a huge confidence booster! Congratulations again!!
  8. DLCoggin

    Three Years Post-op Today

    Thank you so much for your kind words and a huge congratulations on your weight loss!! I'm betting you're lovin' the new you!!
  9. DLCoggin

    Three Years Post-op Today

    It's been a challenge for me. On the one hand, I enjoy walking (I really do). But I sometimes have a tendency to get carried away with things which leads to unrealistic expectations. Reaching for goals that are not sustainable in the long term is a sure formula for failure. For me, exercise is the perfect example. First I set a goal of walking five miles a day, every other day. And I bought a Total Gym at the same time and set a goal of strength training every other day. I enjoyed doing both - for about six months. The walking evolved into measuring my time per mile. Then that became working (hard) to push that time down. And then pushing the total miles up. Then increasing the calories burned. On and on. The strength training started with very modest workouts (I was concerned about injuries). But that quickly evolved into pushing myself to do more and more. More weight. More reps. More sets. More, more, more. Bottom line - after about six months I eventually stopped doing both. It wasn't a conscience "forget this" decision. I just found myself skipping one or the other (and eventually both) for all of the usual reasons we come up with for not doing things we really don't want to do. It was frustrating, time consuming, disruptive of a busy schedule. And for all of those reasons, it just wasn't sustainable. Physically it wasn't a problem. Psychologically was a different story. After about a three month break I knew that I wanted to begin walking again. But I had an honest conversation with myself and realized that my goals had to change if they were to be sustainable. So here are the highlights of the new plan: My new walking goal is a daily average of about 7,000 - 8,000 steps a day. In the back of my mind I know that 10,000 steps is the recommended goal. And sometimes I do that. Some days even a little more. But I congratulate myself for hitting an average of 7 to 8 thousand. I don't punish myself on those days where I fall a little short. I don't pay any attention to miles. I don't pay any attention to minutes per mile. I don't pay any attention to calories burned. My goal is steps - period. I don't saunter, but I'm not pushing myself to the limit either. Now here's one that has been a real eye-opener. I was at costco one day and when I came out it occurred to me that I could make some progress toward my walking goal for that day with a relative quick walk around the shopping center. So off I went. And in ten to fifteen minutes I added about 3,000 steps to my day's total. A day or two later, I was at the grocery store pharmacy filling a Rx. The pharmacist said that it would be about 20 minutes. Thinking back to my Costco excursion, I decided this was another good opportunity to build up my steps for the day. In the process I discovered a small park about a block away from the store complete with a quarter mile walking track. How cool is that?! For the last six weeks, I have walked around just about every kind of store, restaurant, Starbucks and any other kind of place that life takes me. It's quick, easy and it doesn't require that I just drop everything to walk. I'm already "there". Wherever there happens to be. I'm always looking for the opportunity to do a little walking. Sounds a little silly (even to me). It might not work for everyone. But for me, it's been a huge psychological and motivational game changer. Some folks may not realize that walking is "cumulative". Numerous studies have shown that it makes no difference whether you walk five miles at one time, one mile five times during the day, or any other combination. The more steps you do, the greater the health benefit. Walking is walking. It all counts and it adds up surprisingly quickly. I walk for all of the health benefits of walking - circulation, blood pressure, cardio, relaxation, etc. I do not walk for the purpose of controlling my weight (that was never my goal). I no longer record or even monitor calories burned. I don't know or care how long it takes me to walk a mile. Like I said, my only goal is steps. I'm still working on a plan for getting back to strength training. I recognize the importance. I just need to formulate a plan that will provide a similar psychological and motivational boost. I've been thinking about trying daily, short sets (about 15 minutes) that will focus on different muscle groups each day. Probably not as effective as longer sets but, for me, almost certainly more sustainable. And sustainability is everything. I'm sure there are folks who will read this and be reminded of their own personal discoveries of sustainable ways to maintain their exercise regimens. I for one would love to read about the keys to your success!!
  10. DLCoggin

    Three Years Post-op Today

    Great ideas! Thanks so much!!
  11. DLCoggin

    No replies?

    Are you pre-op or post-op? Protein intake following surgery is quite important for a whole list of reasons. Perhaps the most important one being that your body needs a considerable amount of protein to promote healing. And unlike other macronutrients, your body cannot store protein - it must be renewed daily. There may also be post-op concerns regarding changes in metabolism, eating patterns, potential Vitamin deficiencies, swings in blood sugar, etc. in response to fasting. If you are pre-op, now is the time to gather all of the information you can. The unprecedented success of bariatric surgery in the treatment of obesity is indisputable. But that success is based on science. I encourage you to discuss fasting with your surgeon. Get the facts regarding potential benefits and risks of fasting following surgery. Perhaps even seek a second opinion if you feel it's necessary. Once you understand the science, the challenge will be to reconcile it with your faith. A decision that you, and only you, can make.
  12. DLCoggin

    Bummed out

    Eleven pounds in eighteen days is an average of just over eighteen pounds a month. So let's do the math. At eighteen pounds a month, you would lose 108 pounds in six months. Physically you're doing absolutely great! But long term success starts with realistic expectations. Relax. Take a deep breath. And just keep following your plan. The only thing you might want to fine tune a little is your mind. You're gonna love the new you!
  13. DLCoggin

    No replies?

    Consider updating your profile - surgery type and date, current weight, etc. Folks are in very different places in their journeys. The more information you share, the more responses you'll get and the more relevant those responses will be to where you're at in your journey. Although the veterans forum is an invaluable one, there are other forums which have much bigger followings. Vets tend to respond less often to "frequently asked questions" knowing that other members will usually be more than happy to share their thoughts and ideas. If you haven't done so already, check out the search function on BP. It is a powerful search engine and will likely yield great results to almost any imaginable topic. If you don't find the answer to your topic, post your question in the appropriate forum. There are tons of very knowledgeable folks here. Keep experimenting and you'll soon have more information than you can shake a stick at!
  14. DLCoggin

    Setting Your Goal Weight

    With the utmost respect for those who have a different opinion, I'm not big on goal weights or time lines for weight loss. Both are too often frustrating at best and at worst, self-defeating. I never set a goal weight and interestingly enough, neither my surgeon nor any member of her team ever suggested one. I went into the journey believing that my body would tell me when it was where it wanted to be - and that's exactly what happened. About fourteen months post-op my weight loss slowed to a crawl and I knew I had arrived at my destination. Time lines for weight loss offer a similar dilemma. Even your surgical team can only make an educated guess. There are simply too many variables. So why try to guesstimate it? Why complicate it? For me, it was much better to go into the journey with the idea that it would take as long as it takes. I committed to following my plan, as closely to the letter as I possibly could, until my body told me that I had reached its goal. I was three years post-op two days ago and my weight has been within a five pound window for almost two years. I had my three year follow-up with my surgeon yesterday. Lab results showed that the entire Vitamin profile, A1c, bp, liver, kidneys, cholesterol - all spot on. In her words, "You are one healthy dude." Lol - and then she totally unexpectedly gave me a hug! Allow your body to find its own way in its own time. Trust the process. It is so much less stressful and so much more fun. Your body will tell you when it's where it wants to be and at that point - you're gonna love the new you!!
  15. DLCoggin

    Three Years Post-op Today

    Thanks for your kind words Ms. Mimi! I walk five miles every other day and do strength training on my Total Gym every other day. Lol - at least that's the goal. I probably hit it about 75% of the time. I enjoy doing both but I own my own company and the demands on my time are not always as predictable as I would like. But as I keep reminding myself, you make time for the things that are important. I'm considering making my year four goal a fitness goal. I average just under a fourteen minute mile when I walk. I'm thinking I could probably push that down to thirteen and a half, perhaps a little better if I apply myself and stick with my schedule. The benefits of exercise, not only physically but mentally as well, are over the top. To say nothing of doing great things for your weight!! Forget about your past experiences with dieting. The bypass quite literally changes everything. Most of us simply had no reference point to compare it to pre-op. You will be amazed! Thanks again and have a great day!
  16. Three plus years of using My Fitness Pal and still going strong. I'd be lost without it. Regardless of the app that you use, next to the surgery itself, I believe that maintaining a food log is the single most powerful tool that you can have in your arsenal. It can be tedious and frustrating. But once you get in the habit, it becomes second nature. I know of no other option that even comes close to the control and confidence a food log gives you. You're gonna love the new you!
  17. DLCoggin

    Water and food at the same time?

    This is the best video I've ever seen on why you don't want to drink with meals following gastric bypass - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR0VM3mnsgM .
  18. Your PCP's comment was so wrong on so many levels I wouldn't even know where to start. But I definitely know how to find a new PCP.
  19. A new study from Stanford has shown that gastric bypass may reverse the effects of aging. http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/ObesityWeek/42950
  20. DLCoggin

    Calling Bypass vets!

    Regardless of what your weight is doing - follow your plan. Stay positive. Stay patient. Exercise to your ability. Maintain a food log (next to the surgery itself, the most powerful tool you can have in your arsenal). Stay away from the scales for at least a week at a time and, if you can stand it, two would be even better. For many, goal weights and time lines are at best frustrating, at worst self-defeating. Follow your plan. For however long it takes. Simply go where it takes you. Trust the process. Gastric bypass is the most effective treatment known to medical science for the treatment of obesity and more than 30 comorbidities associated with obesity. By a very wide margin. Never compare your weight loss to anyone else's weight loss. The fact that your weight loss is different than someone else's weight loss means absolutely nothing. Everyone is different. Allow your body to find its own way in its own time. Your body will tell you when it's where it wants to be. And when your body is where it wants to be, you're gonna love the new you!

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