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biginjapan

Gastric Sleeve Patients
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Posts posted by biginjapan


  1. I live in Japan and had my surgery in Mexico, so flew home about a week after the flight (I could have gone sooner, I just added a few extra days for my own piece of mind). That's Tijuana to San Diego (car), train to LAX, flight to Seoul, then to Japan. To be fair, I did book a business class ticket for my flight back because I knew I wanted to lie down for the long-haul flight. Three weeks later, I was on another long-haul flight (economy like usual) to Germany. For both I wore compression stockings (which is standard for me now anyway). All was fine.

    The worst part of flying after surgery was not being able to eat or drink any of the much better offerings in business class, but they did come by to refill my Water and Blender Bottle (for Protein drinks) every so often, and they did help me with my bag since it was too heavy for me to lift above my head post-op.

    Unless your doctor has any concerns I think you don't have to worry about flights at all.


  2. I had a gastric sleeve done in Tijuana a couple years ago but after the initial success I have since gained back about half the weight lost, and am now looking for a revision to gastric bypass (I've done my homework, this is the best option for me). I wish I had done it in the first place, but I at the time I thought a sleeve would be good enough, but it wasn't. In any event, I've been looking at reputable places to go to that don't involve going back to Tijuana. Because I don't live in North America, getting to San Diego is problematic and I would prefer not to have to travel through the States at this time (fly direct to and from Mexico). I've been looking at Puerto Vallarta as an option, but would love to hear other suggestions, since 99% of posts here seem to be for Tijuana. It also doesn't have to be Mexico, anywhere else in the world with reasonable costs and reputable hospitals would be okay too.


  3. I'm 2.5 years out and I can tell you that although I had some restriction after surgery (mostly, I think due to the swelling of the wound and the time it takes to heal), by 6 months out I could eat what others could only do at 2+ years out (full chicken breast, some veggies, etc.). I never felt a restriction the same way that others have mentioned - I could move ahead much faster in trying new foods post-op than what was recommended (I didn't, but could have). Now I'm looking at getting a revision to bypass because clearly the restriction of the sleeve did not work for me. I know it's not just the sleeve, part of it was the mental side of things. For me, I've come to realise that there is no going back to normal eating patterns. The new food/portion control is for LIFE. Fail at that, the sleeve can fail (at least, it did in my case).

    I remember the day after my surgery crying to one of my doctors that I didn't believe that they did the surgery (despite the scars and tubes and everything else) because I wasn't in any real pain, had no nausea, and was full of energy, the complete opposite to every other patient in the hospital when I was there. She told me I was one of the lucky ones that come out of surgery feeling good and that I should be thankful for it. She then showed me a picture of my stomach that was cut out (to prove it) and said that it was longer than usual. I sometimes wonder if, because of that, I didn't have the same restriction as others.

    Anyway, long story short, everyone has a different reaction post-op to surgery. You may be someone who feels restriction years out so it will help you keep portions small. You may be someone who feels less restriction as time goes on, which means you have to have the mental strength and determination to stick to what is right, and not be distracted or influenced by others in what you eat. Either way, the best way to keep your sleeve small and unstretched to be vigilant in Portion Control and drinking protocols. Maybe forever.


  4. I got the sleeve back in Feb '17 and now am in full research mode to get the bypass done sometime early next year. I should have done it in the first place, but like many others, thought the sleeve would be less invasive and I wouldn't have to worry about supplementation the rest of my life. But since the operation I've have had very little restriction and the only thing that kept the weight off was sticking to a very strictly controlled low-carb diet. Once I tried to integrate back into regular life (albeit with smaller portions) I gained a lot of weight back. It's clear I have a sugar addiction and I hope the bypass will cure me of that through negative reinforcement (although I know that's not guaranteed). All my attempts to "reset" my sleeve have failed, so I hope this process will be the one that sticks.


  5. I too am struggling with regain. I lost 100 pounds in my first 8 months (about 2/3rds of what I needed), and then slowly started adding more (let's face it, carbs) to my diet and since then I've gained back 30. It's very frustrating for me and I've been debating getting a revision myself. But I refuse to do it without making a real attempt to get back on track, which started today! (Hopefully it works, this is not the first time I've tried to do it).

    It's also my return to this site in a long time - it's been so long that the last time I was here I couldn't be considered a veteran, and now I am!


  6. Yes. ;-)

    Are you taking photos? Sometimes a side-by-side visual from where you started and where you are now can show a difference that you can't see from day to day. Have you tried taking your measurements? That can provide a real numbers that things are changing. Also, even if your regular clothes feel the same (remember, larger plus sizes can accommodate 20-40 pounds of weight gain/loss), perhaps you can try some smaller clothes that were too tight for you in the past. I was surprised at how well some clothes fit after 20/30 pounds lost. Grant it, some were a little tight, but considering I couldn't even zip or button them up before meant that things were changing.

    One more thing to consider as you lose weight - of course, we all want to avoid spending money on new clothes as we drop weight, but I think most of us are able to "shop" in our closets for smaller clothes, at least for a while. That said, look at your clothes - do the pants/skirts have elastic bands, or are they button/zip? How fitted are your shirts? Do the collars on shirts look bigger (your bra strap is showing). Where are the shoulder seams - are they hanging down the side of the arms? How much material is there in the underarms? It's not about whether or not you fit inside your clothes, but do they fit you? I have to say people noticed my weight loss a lot more when I wear clothes that fit me properly.


  7. Great article that explains how our brains work both with and against us. I know for myself that it does take a long time to form new habits and ways of thinking (especially when it comes to food), but I've had successes with it both pre- and post-surgery. I do slip up on occasion though, but luckily my sleeve prevents me from falling off the rails too much before I can right myself again. Now I'm trying to work on my triggers (which is mostly not being prepared, food-wise, during and after long days at work) to really get me to good place that will help me to continue to lose weight and then maintain once I'm at goal.


  8. Of course you should talk to your doctor/therapist (when you find one), but I wonder if it's the carbs that are derailing you. They certainly do for me. I was pretty good in the beginning about tracking my food and macros, but since I mostly eat the same thing all the time, it got pretty boring so I stopped. However, I've been losing weight steadily in the 8 months since surgery. That said, over the summer I started eating more carbs that usual - lots of fruit, an occasional wrap here and there, a chai latte, etc. And I noticed a few things. One, I started getting hungrier. Two, my weight completely stalled (and in fact, went up a few pounds). And three, I noticed that unlike protein-dense foods like chicken, most carbs went through my sleeve with no problem - I could eat them all day if I wanted to. So I've gone back to (mostly) what I had been doing before (low carbs - not quite Keto but pretty close) and guess what - my weight is starting to go down again on a slow but steady basis, my cravings have stopped, and I'm more mindful about what I eat.

    We are all different, what works for one may not work for another, but perhaps you really do need to think about the carbs you are putting into your body and if that makes a difference. The sleeve has forced me to eat less per sitting and has reset my body to help me lose weight, but I've quickly learned that I cannot go back, even a little, to eating what I used to eat before. It's too slippery a slope. Which sucks because there are a lot of (high carb) foods out there that I love but that I know I probably won't eat again for a very long time (if ever). I know you're an aspiring gourmand, but you may have to channel that energy into foods that are good for you and your sleeve. Also, I don't know how old your kids are, but you may want to talk to them about having only good foods in the house for a while (so no pringles or ice cream) to help you stay on track. Temptation is a hard thing to get over, and it takes a long time to truly get over the things we love (if ever). In any event, good luck.


  9. I just cleaned out my closet again. I have 6 storage boxes of clothes ready to be gotten rid of, but unlike those of you in the US and other western countries, my options for getting rid of the clothes here are pretty limited. When I have some time, I'll photograph most of them and put them up online to see if there are any larger women living in this area will want them.


  10. Another terminal single here. It's been so long since I've been with anyone or dated that I'm actually afraid to count back the years to see how long its been (definitely more than 10!) :(

    However, even when and if I get down to my goal weight and get some plastics done on the body parts that need it, I'm not sure that I'll ever find someone. The reality is for me in Japan is that Japanese men have never shown any interest in me (other than for sex - I can't tell you how many times I've been offered money in the past - I think it was because of my boobs and my overall confidence (I look people in the eye, smile, and say hello - just being friendly, but you can't do that as a woman here).) The foreign men here are mostly interested in Japanese women, if they're not already dating or married to one. And honestly, at my age (43), I think it would be hard to find anyone no matter where I was. I'm so used to being invisible that its just the way it is for me.


  11. As Introversion said, anyone can lose weight. Keeping it off long term is another story. I was more successful with my pre-op diet (21 pounds lost in 21 days) than I have post-op; however, my weight has continued to go down, however slowly, over the past 8 months, and that's something that has never happened before. I already know from going off-plan a bit this summer that I will have to be smart about food for the rest of my life. But without the surgery I wouldn't have a chance to keep it off.

    A lot of people feel the way you do pre-op, but I think it's like pre-wedding jitters - you're just trying to find something to convince you not to do the thing you're worried about, even though you've been working towards that goal for months (if not years). But really what you want to do is have the surgery. It's helped so many people to not only lose weight, but to keep it off for good.


  12. Personally, for me, I don't view plastic surgery as a reward - it's the end part of the entire sleeve/weight loss process. I don't know how much I'll need, but boobs and arms will definitely need to get done.

    Rewards for me will be activities and experiences that I've always wanted to do but that I never did because of weight issues - like learning how to scuba dive (somewhere fantastic, like the Great Barrier Reef), or climbing Kilimanjaro, or seeing gorillas, or hiking to the lost city in Colombia, or going skydiving/bungee jumping (despite my fear of heights), or walking the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela, etc. I'm not saying I'll be able to do (or afford) all of these things, but any one of them would be a real reward to me, and would signify how far I've come in my weight loss journey.


  13. I'm almost 8 months out. In the immediate pre- and post-op sleeve environment, it had a really profound effect - changing my relationship with food, getting a full-body "reset", having little to no hunger, much more energy, etc. I never had any problems with any food or drink along the way. But I have since learned the hard way, that that's not necessarily a benefit.

    Over the summer I was travelling, for basically 4 weeks, and it became difficult to stay completely on track the entire time. So, occasionally at first, but then with more regularity, I started trying more foods that I've been avoiding - wraps for lunch, chai tea from Starbucks (the only thing other than regular tea that I can drink there), and other foods (mostly carbs) that I told myself were a one-time only thing (like my dad's birthday cake). But once I started introducing carbs/sugar back into my life I noticed 2 things - one, that my cravings came back with a vengeance, and that I didn't feel full or satisfied as I had in the past; and two, that my weight loss came to a complete and absolute standstill. It's clear that I can eat anything - I did not have any negative reactions to anything that I tried - therefore, I know that I will have to vigilant about food for the rest of my life. It's taken me a couple weeks to wean myself off the carbs and back into a proper diet, much harder than when I did the pre-op diet. It's been a real wake-up call for me. So I'm thankful that my sleeve (and the effects from it) is preventing any demotivating weight gain, and that I have a chance to get back on track.


  14. I think it's possible to wear a size or two that's too large, but then things just look bad (although that depends on the cut of the clothing and your body type). I thought leggings would last me a long time, and they have, but only with multiple safety pins pinning back all the excess material (I wear them at home only). I was a 24, now I'm down to a 14/16. Unfortunately for me I live in a country that does not have thrift stores with any clothes that would fit me (even if the size was correct, the shape would not be) and I have to look professional for work. So I just spent a lot of money on clothes - about a 1/3 of the clothes fit me right now, another 1/3 are the next size down, and the final 1/3 are 2 or more sizes smaller than what I am right now. So it seems like a lot, but really it's not. On top of that I was able to go through all of my old smaller clothes sitting in my parent's basement, so that has given me a few more clothes and shoes that I can wear in the (hopefully) near future.

    You're lucky you live in the US - you have a lot of options available to you for smaller clothes that are fairly cheap, I would totally go for those. You can re-thrift them when you are finished, and in the meantime, you'll feel and look better in clothes that fit you properly. Even though I barely lost weight over the summer, most people at work keep commenting on how slim I've become, and the only difference between then and now is that now I'm wearing clothes that fit me properly. It makes a big difference.


  15. My mother had pin-straight hair before having kids; after all her pregnancy-related Hair loss, what came back was darker and curlier that what she had had before (sandy brown hair to very dark, very curly brown-black hair). My hair is still falling out, but I think (I hope!) I've got some new growth coming in - if it is, then it appears to be the same as before. I was worried, because I thought the same thing that happened to my mother would happen to me!


  16. I chose 140 because that's the high end of the normal BMI range for my height. It's also the same weight I was at my thinnest, when I was 24 years old (actually, I probably was down to 135, or even lower, but I didn't have a scale and 140 is the last number I remember seeing). If I get to 140 I will have also lost 50% of total body weight from when I was at my largest, so it's a nice number to aim for. If I go lower, no problem. It gives me room for a little "bounce back" which often happens, and if it does, will probably be easier to maintain.

    Interestingly, in Japan 22.9 is the high end of the normal scale, 23-24.9 is overweight, and anyone 25 and up is obese. So I'll probably never meet the "normal" weight limits on my yearly health checks, even though that BMI scale is meant for people of Asian descent. Recently I went home for a visit (and much needed clothes shopping), and my family, friends and random people (like shop assistants) refused to believe that I am still obese - again getting to the idea that we as a society have a skewed view of what is "normal" weight. Even my Western friends here in Japan don't believe that I could still be considered obese. Grant it, I'm very close to just being overweight, but still...


  17. I had my surgery back in February and I still haven't told my family about it. Only a couple of friends who live in other countries (!) know. I'm not married or in a serious relationship, nor do I have kids, so I did want some people to know before surgery, just in case. Even though I haven't told my family, co-workers, and other friends and acquaintances, most people have been supportive of my weight loss efforts so far, and I'd like to keep it that way (although my parents are encouraging me to keep my old fat clothes, "just in case." I want to tell them that it's not something I will have to worry about). I did have a few people ask me if my weight loss was intentional, and I have to admit I was touched by their concern.

    I've always been a private person so it's not unusual that I've kept this to myself. That said, if someone asked me specifically about it, I wouldn't lie, but I have a feeling no one will do so.


  18. I would be worried about that too. Have they said why your calories have to be so low, and for so long? Even when I was on my pre-op diet I was told to stay above 800 calories if possible (and even more when I was post-op), since getting so little in can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Look at the Biggest Loser contestants they studied a couple years ago - every single one of them had a worse RMR after the program than before, and most gained weight back because they could never increase their calories to a more normal range without it affecting their weight.


  19. 33 minutes ago, zallykatz16 said:

    I have my surgery in September but I can not afford a gym at this point. Is walking enough in the beginning?

    Yes! Plenty of people exercise post-op without joining a gym. I'm just over 6 months post-up and all of my exercise up to this point has been walking. One thing that surprised me post-op was how much energy I had. So instead of sitting in front of the computer all evening, I would find myself getting restless and go out for another walk at the end of the day.

    That said, I'll probably be joining a gym in September when I get back to Japan from my holidays, as the reality is I need to do more than walk. I can't run or do anything high impact due to heel spurs in my foot, and I'd like to have more strength training options than I do at home. Also, I live in a tiny Japanese apartment, so there isn't a lot of room for me to work out, even if I had the inclination to do so. I figure if I can make going to the gym part of my daily work routine, it will be much easier for me to commit to it.


  20. 11 hours ago, JTHmom said:

    How are you doing with your surgery?

    Do you mean now that I'm 6 months post-op? (as of tomorrow, yay!)

    Honestly, I had no problems in the hospital or afterwards, never had any real restrictions, food aversions, or anything else like that. I try to stay from carbs just because they are real slider foods for me and don't provide the nutrition I need, otherwise I eat whatever is available - usually Protein and veggies (and sometimes fruit). Of course, my portions are pretty small (compared to before) but bigger than what most here have posted about.

    That said, my weight loss has slowed considerably, so I'll need to re-evaluate what I'm consuming and change up my exercise. Unfortunately I'll be travelling for the next 3 weeks which makes any kind of consistently to my food and/or schedule pretty difficult. Not to mention no weigh-ins! (that might be a good thing).


  21. I don't mind the Premier pre-mixed shakes, but making shakes from the powder is disgusting (for me at least). I've been using Syntrax powders (both traditional powders - chocolate, vanilla, and unflavoured) and Syntrax Nectars (which are like drinking juice) both pre- and post-op. In both cases you get 23g of Protein, 0 carbs, 0 sugars, 100 calories. The nectars I usually mix with just Water, but the powders I mix with unflavoured almond milk (or soy milk), and if I'm using chocolate, I usually add some PB2 Peanut Butter powder and (sometimes) either unflavoured/unsweetened Greek yogurt or half a small block of fresh soft tofu (the latter will make it thick like a milkshake), plus (usually) a banana. On top of that I always add either flax or chia seeds (ground). All those add-ons add to the protein count (often I get between 30-35g, depending on what I use).

    Oh - my new favourite smoothie is mixing Syntrax Roadside Lemonade with unsweetened almond milk, and 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries (or other berries) - it's really refreshing in the summertime!


  22. 10 hours ago, ebroms17 said:


    Thanks! Is the discomfort what I was describing or does it feel like feeling full was before the surgery?

    I think everyone feels it a little differently. I've only got the burps once in all of my post-op eating. Usually it's just discomfort - tightness and pressure, and I feel like I can slowly feel the food moving through my intestines while my stomach remains uncomfortably full. It's definitely not a GERD-type feeling (which I had pre-op), although I do get pressure in my chest occasionally. If I overeat there's no way I can drink 30 minutes after eating - it's more like an hour before I feel good enough to consume anything.

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