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Gastric Sleeve Patients
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Everything posted by Diana_in_Philly

  1. Have you considered converting your shakes to smoothies? For breakfast two days a week (and I'm 2 years out) I use 1 cup of Fairlife skim milk (13g) plus one scoop of vanilla protein powder (25g) plus a handful of frozen tropical fruit (pineapple, mango, peach) and I have a 200-ish calorie smoothie from the blender that has more than 30G of protein. I also do a cup of cold brew coffee, a scoop of chocolate protein powder and sugarfree caramel syrup with ice in the blender for a 25-30g frappucino. Get creative.
  2. Diana_in_Philly


    Most insurance plans look at it from first weigh in not the last one pre-surgery. The carrier wants to see you are committed to following the plan and losing weight so they expect you to lose some. You should be fine. My BMI starting was around 48 and about 43 at surgery. Trust your doc - s/he has been at this with a bunch of insurance companies and knows the drill.
  3. Diana_in_Philly

    Highmark BCBS

    @SisterWannaSleeve - my insurance did not have a waiting period, but my surgeon required a minimum of 3 months of counseling with the RDs and compliance with program requirements/education/medical testing before scheduling surgery. And 3 months flew. The most important part of succeeding at this (in my opinion) is getting your head in the right place. And that takes time. We didn't get to be the size we were pre-surgery by having a healthy relationship with food. Working through all that and making peace with how your life will be different and developing new patterns and habits takes time. 6 months isn't that long. From being around this community for a while, what I have seen is that the people who generally want to have surgery a week after they see the surgeon the first time are the ones that have the most trouble adjusting and have issues post-op. It took me years to get to 300 pounds. If it was going to take 3 or 6 months to start the next new chapter of my life where I'd become half my size, I was ok with that. Best of luck.
  4. Diana_in_Philly

    Weight loss after 18 months?

    Still losing (working on converting fat to muscle and shaping my body) after 2 years. The key is going back to basics - stop grazing. Write it all down. Protein first and water. Get moving if you haven't been. Looking back at photos of me from 2015, I was probably 300 pounds. I was 271 when I first saw my surgeon in 2016 and 246 on surgery day. I was 154 this morning, so I'm down about 150, but fluctuate between 152-162 most times. But exercising regularly and then not eating the calories I burn is necessary for me. Go back to the basics. you've got this.
  5. Are you working with a trainer? Maybe they can help you get past the "stuck" point. I've been deadlifting about a year and started with squats about 3 months ago. I'm 5'3" tall and weight 154 right now. I don't use a belt or lifting shoes. I can back squat 215 and front squat about 165 (I have issues with holding the bar for a front squat - it really hurts my collar bones and shoulders - can't bend my hands back in the way needed to support the bar.) I deadlift about 200-215 right now, which is well over my bodyweight. I can do 195 for 5. I do single leg RDLs with about 105. I do glute bridges with 125. I'm working on my clean and jerk and sntach. I can clean about 75 pounds, but my upper body strength stinks. But my form is good. But working with a trainer who understands lifting has been so important - with understanding how to do weeks with deloading and then ramping back up for new PRs.
  6. Diana_in_Philly

    Going out to eat

    FYI - while I may be nationally ranked in my age group in my sport - I also have a resting metabolic rate of 1100 cal per day to avoid weight gain (had the study done a few weeks ago - my resting heart rate is generally about 45). I generally do not eat what I burn, but do work out to burn about 800-2000 calories a day - So on those days I boost my protein and carb consumption usually with supplemental shakes pre or post workout. However, on Saturday, I did fence a tournament and burned about 3000 calories. I had takeout chinese for dinner that night - but ordered shrimp with broccoli and ate 4 shrimp and a bunch of broccoli over about 1/4 cup of brown rice. Certainly whether to eat out or not is up to you. I eat out at least one a week. I've learned to manage - it has taken time. Best wishes to you.
  7. Diana_in_Philly

    Going out to eat

    So shortly after surgery, we went out to eat as a family once I was able to eat solid foods. I ordered either a soup or an appetizer as my meal. Two years out, I still often just eat an appetizer as my meal. For example, one of my favorite restaurants does great broiled crab cakes. The appetizer portion is one 4 ounce crab cake. The entree portion is 2 crab cakes. I just order the appetizer and ask that I have it brought as my entree. As time goes by, you will be able to judge sizes better, but the most important thing is to eat slowly. WHen you feel full, stop and just enjoy the conversation at the table and take the rest home. I get 2-3 meals out of most restaurants these days from one "entree" portion.
  8. Diana_in_Philly

    Over 60??

    I was 56 when I had my surgery. I'm 2 years out. From my highest (which was not officially recorded) I was probably over 300 pounds in August 2015. I flop between 152-160 right now and am working on getting my body fat down under 28 percent. I've gone from barely fitting into 24s to buying a pair of size 6 Levis this past weekend. I'm a nationally ranked fencer in my age group now and just this weekend won Bronze (all women over 50) and Silver (women 50-59) medals in fencing at the NJ Senior Olympics this weekend. I can dead lift 200 pounds and squat 215. The only regret I have is not having done this 20 years ago.
  9. Diana_in_Philly

    Portion sizes

    If your team did not give you specifics for portion sizes, did they give you calorie goals or protein/liquid goals in grams? Each kind of protein has a different density - eg. 4 ounces of chicken is different from 4 oz of beef or fish. (At that point, I was to be between 60-90g protein and minimum 64 ounces of water daily). 4 oz of chicken breast, grilled is 160 calories and 35 grams of protein. 4 oz of sirloin steak is 220 calories and 22g protein (and for me - harder to finish than chicken) 4 oz of cod is 90 calories and 20g protein (and easiest for me to finish) At six months out, I hit a stall as well. While the scale wasn't moving, my body shape was changing - somehow I was losing inches but not pounds. If you are not tracking what you are eating, start. If you are, try cutting back your calories by 5 percent - (I was eating between 700-800 calories a day at that point - I decreased about 20 calories and added some more exercise) and that jumpstarted things. But do speak with your team. I find now, even 2 years out, that I cannot eat more than about 5 ounces of any solid protein.
  10. Diana_in_Philly

    Snacks/Packed Lunches

    The days I'm in the office 2x a week I'm in the same boat. Start by getting a well insulated lunchbox which has a good bit of room and some really good re-usable ice packs. And a bunch of small containers. I make a shake for breakfast and then pack a midmorning snack, which for me is Oikos Triple Zero yogurt and 2 tablespoons of granola. Lunch is 4 ounces of chicken breast, chopped and mixed with 1 tablespoon of pesto. Early afternoon snack is a salad with balsamic dressing (about 2 cups). Mid to late afternoon snack is cheese. Dinner varies, if I need to pack it. Keep in mind, I'm 2 years out so I may be able to eat things you can/t.
  11. Diana_in_Philly

    Breakfast cereal

    I'm 2 years out. I exercise hard roughly 1.5-2 hours daily. I eat 1100 calories, of which there is 120 grams of protein and 96 grams of carbs. I can't imagine anymore what 325g of carbs looks like. Based on my calculations, 325 g of carbs is 6.5 bagels in a day. I'd have put back all the weight I lost doing that. If that's what your team is OK with and it's working for you - great. At the same point in my process, I was down to 1 shake a day and regular meals with real protein and a bit of a vegetable. Yes, whole grain carbs and complex carbs are good. But for most of us, carbs are what got us in this mess. If your team is good with you eating that - have a blast.
  12. Diana_in_Philly

    Breakfast cereal

    I would avoid breakfast cereal for as long as possible. That's an awful lot of sugar/carbs and calories for only 3 grams of protein. My team advised me to not eat anything with more than 7 grams of sugar per serving for the first six months to maximize weight loss and I didn't eat "carbs" (cereal, oatmeal, potatoes, rice, bread, etc.) until I was almost 9 months out and then only very carefully. For those numbers, you'd be better off with a scrambled egg with a tablespoon of cheddar cheese. If you are taking your vitamins, you don't need sugary cereal supplemented with vitamins. Do check with your team.
  13. Diana_in_Philly

    In preop weight wont move

    The purpose, in most cases, of that diet is not for you to lose weight but to shrink your liver so they don't run a chance of nicking it during surgery. It has nothing to do with your weight at time of surgery, generally.
  14. Diana_in_Philly

    2 pounds?

    You could be converting fat to muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. How do your clothes fit? There were many points where the numbers on the scale said I was heavier, but when I tried on clothes, I was a size smaller. Muscle weighs more and if you are doing strength training that's what should be happening.
  15. Diana_in_Philly

    Being "Fat" vs loose skin

    You don't say how tall or how old you are -- all of which affect these. I've lost about 150 and have stuff sagging and bagging all over. I look amazing in clothes with the right support garments, but naked, I'm just a pile of rolls. Do I care? Not really. I'm HALF the person I was before. I lost a whole, damn adult. At some point will I have some plastics, sure. Right now. Not ready. I went from a size 24 to a size 6 or 8 depending on clothes. My boobs point to Argentina on a good day. I'd much rather have saggy skin and be alive to see my kids get married.
  16. Diana_in_Philly

    Weird notice

    I dropped a full shoe size in the first few months and went from wearing wides to standard width.
  17. Diana_in_Philly


    If you are going to increase anything, increase water and protein. In an average workout fencing, I burn 1700 calories over 3 hours. Normally I eat 1100 calories a day (I'm 2 years out). On the days I fence, I up my protein to 120 grams minimum and at least 120 ounces of water. I also add at least 500 more calories in - still leaving me with a deficit. Also, are you on a PPI for reflux. IN my first few months, when I went off the PPI, I felt what I thought was hunger but was really reflux. And hydrate - Powerade Zero or G2 during those Zumba classes. It's vital. Enjoy your workout!
  18. Diana_in_Philly

    Am I just impatient

    So you are maybe 6 weeks out. Are you impatient - yes. It is going to take your body a minimum of six months to fully heal from surgery. You are supposed to be using this time to learn new habits and lose as much weight as possible. You are not supposed to be able to eat what you used to eat. You need to wrap your head around that protein tastes good. Carbs don't. For most of us, carbs are like heroin - once we start we cannot stop. So get your head in the game. I'm 5'3". At my highest I was over 300 but wouldn't get on a scale Right now I'm 152 and can deadlift 200 pounds. I' a nationally ranked athlete in my age group in a sport I took up after I had my VSG 2 years ago. Long term success isn't just about getting the pounds off. Its about keeping them off and that's in your head just as much as in your belly. It took you 40 years to develop lousy habits eating crappy food. Follow the plan your team gave you and this will work. You're down 50 pounds in 6 weeks. You are doing well. It takes a while to figure out what works. My guess is what you have to eat now are things you didn't really care for pre-surgery - you need to make peace with the fact that fast food is history and life is more than carbs. Sorry for the tough love, but I've seen plenty of people who I was sleeved with lose and then regain in the last two years. The battle is more in your head than you think. Consider finding a therapist to work with.
  19. Diana_in_Philly

    FSA/HSA cover vitamins??

    Really depends on the terms of the plan. Prenatal vitamins are prescribed but not covered by health insurance, but are, I believe HSA eligible. She needs to check with her employer/insurer.
  20. Diana_in_Philly

    Hair Loss! OMG!

    I'm 2 years out now. Lost hair from month 4 through month 9. Took all my regular vitamins, added biotin, drank all my water, ate all my protein. (I"m down about 140 pounds from my highest weight). My hair did come back some, but not quite as thick, but I'm also going through menopause which has an effect. It is your body's reaction to the weight loss and severe calorie restriction. It will stop. Your hair will get thicker, but may never be 100% of what it was. HOwever, I am now half of what I was, which is more important - I have a hair stylist who can help me make my hair look as full as it was.
  21. Diana_in_Philly

    Anyone eat omelets?

    Eggs are one of my favorite things and have been since that glorious day about 3 weeks post-op when I could have a scrambled egg. (OK - I was able to eat two bites of it before I was full but it was the best scrambled egg I had ever had!) I order them when I'm out frequently because I can get my protein and some veg in that way (in fact I had one for lunch today - with cheese, spinach and mushrooms). I prefer them flat to fluffy even now 2 years out.
  22. Not making the time for myself is what got me to 300 pounds in the first place. Never again. All the gym work I do is to support my fencing - I've set a goal to try to qualify for the women's national team for my age group when I'm in my 60s. My first shot will be in 4 years. I plan to fence at least 2 tournaments a month this season, starting in September - my husband will be running the Navy Half Marathon in DC (he's lost 60 pounds on this journey with me) and the day before his race I'll fence an event in Falls Church, Va. In April, he came to a National tournament with me in Richmond and ran a half marathon that weekend. This has become our recreation. (It helps that we have one kid in college away from home and the other is now high school age and pretty self sufficient and doesn't mind late dinners.)
  23. IMG_0001.mp4I'm meeting with a sports registered dietician who understands bariatric patients next week about just this. I'm down about 140 pounds and I've taken my body fat from about 50% to 30% (which is pretty good for a 57 year old mother of two). However, what I'm learning from working with two personal trainers is that to really build muscle mass and replace fat, you need to add carbs (I know - it goes against everything we think) but as I understand the metabolics of it, if you do not have enough carbs in your diet your body cannibalizes muscle for energy rather than the fat. But I have been frustrated with finding the right balance of carbs to make this happen without going down the slippery slope because they are crack to me. Timing of protein and carbs around your workout is important as well. You should have some kind of protein within an hour after a workout (usually I go for one of those Muscle Milk kind of things at about 30 grams and 200 calories) and fiber rich carbs an hour or so before and starchy carbs and hour or two after. I say this from the standpoint of someone who is 5'3" and now 152. I am a nationally ranked foil fencer in my age group (started fencing after surgery) and I fence 6-7 hours a week and am in the gym doing a crossfit-type class with olympic lifting 3 hours a week, Pilates 1 hour a week and agility/speed/other strength at least one other hour a week. I spoke with my bariatric nutrition team (all really great RDs) and no one there had experience with feeding a post-bariatric athlete. It took a lot of phone calls, but I found someone who is in my health plan so I can have her visits covered. You may want to speak with your team. DO NOT EAT ALL OF WHAT YOU BURN! Some of what you burn yes - but not all. Here's a video of me doing a clean and split jerk from about a week ago. Weight is low (55 pounds) but I'm still learning technique. Did I ever thing I'd be able to do this? Nope. ( Back Squat 215, Deadlift 195, Front Squat 165 - current body weight 152). IMG_0001.mp4
  24. Diana_in_Philly

    I've lost as much as...

    I'm in between an adult woman and the OED (Complete) when you consider my highest weight was over 300 (but not specifically known because I wouldn't get on a scale) and is now 152.
  25. So, my highest recorded weight was 271.5. Looking at older photos, I'm sure I was over 300 for a good period of time before that - I just refused to get on the scale. I'm 2 years and 1 day out as of today. I weigh 155 right now (fluctuating between 155 and 162) with body fat at 30% which isn't bad for a 57 year old mother of 2. My team said success was losing 60% of excess body weight. By the BMI chart, I should get down to about 140 for the top end of "normal" but I know I look ridiculous at that weight. I'm kind of happy where I am and working on changing fat to muscle mass so the numbers aren't as important. All that being said, if we go from 300 pounds, I've lost 145 which is 96% of my excess weight. If we go from 271, I've lost 116 pounds, which would be 82% of my excess weight. But I'm not about the numbers at this point, but the percentages and pounds of muscle.

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