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Gastric Bypass Patients
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Everything posted by BigSue

  1. The annual subscription for Bariatric Pal Multivitamin One is the best priced bariatric multivitamin you can get. I think all chewable multivitamins taste terrible, so I get the capsules. I suggest you order a smaller quantity to try before you commit to a whole year’s worth. I also use Bariatric Pal calcium chews. I LOVE the French vanilla caramel and Belgian chocolate caramel. They taste like candy. They are lower priced than most other brands, and they often go on sale (I bet they will be on sale for Black Friday!).
  2. BigSue

    SO cold

    Drinking a hot beverage (tea or coffee) helps. Warms you up from the inside!
  3. BigSue

    GB Stalls - 8mos out

    First of all, there is no such thing as a "window of opportunity." There is no clock or deadline on weight loss surgery. The surgery is permanent. The surgery itself doesn't cause weight loss -- the surgery is a tool that helps you to eat less so you can lose weight. For most people, yes, the effect of the restriction wears off over time, so the first year or so is often called the "honeymoon period" because that's when it's easiest to lose weight due to low appetite and high restriction. But that doesn't mean that you can't lose any more weight after X months post-surgery. You have to build and maintain good habits during that honeymoon period so you can sustain the weight loss. It is a lifelong journey and if you get back into eating too much, you could regain the weight. Second, yes, weight loss normally slows down as you approach your maintenance weight. It's easy to lose 10 pounds when you have 100 pounds to lose, but much more difficult to lose the last 10 pounds (when you only have 10 extra pounds). This is partly because having excess weight results in burning more calories -- if you're carrying an extra 100 pounds, it just takes more energy (and thus burns more calories) to do anything. If you maintain a constant calorie intake -- say, 1800 calories per day -- you will lose weight quickly at 300 pounds but more slowly at 250 pounds, and eventually you'll get to an equilibrium (say, 200 pounds) where you are burning the same number of calories as you're eating, so your weight will stabilize. If you want to lose more weight after you reach that equilibrium, you'll either have to lower your calorie intake or increase your calorie burn by exercising more. Finally, my personal opinion is that people should not get hung up on a specific number on the scale. The non-scale measures of success are so much more important. If you are satisfied with your health and appearance at 222 pounds, there is no reason to worry that you are 2 pounds over the range that your surgeon estimated (which is almost certainly based on statistical outcomes, not a personalized assessment of you, specifically).
  4. BigSue

    Pre-Op Diet, Two weeks out!

    Pre-op diets vary widely from one surgeon to the next. Some take a one-size-fits-all approach and require a 2-week liquid diet for everyone just to be safe. Some don’t require any specific diet until the day before surgery. Some dictate pre-op diet based on individual patients. I strongly suggest you follow your surgeon’s directions. Do you trust him to cut you open and rearrange your digestive system? If so, then trust him to give you appropriate pre-op instructions. If you don’t trust his medical judgment, you probably shouldn’t let him do surgery on you.
  5. This might make you roll your eyes, but I like to say that you don't choose your goal weight -- your goal weight chooses you. You can't just pick a number and will your body to get to it. I feel strongly that the non-scale victories are far more important than the number on the scale. I wanted to lose enough weight to get rid of diabetes and hypertension, to wear non-plus size clothing, to fit into a restaurant booth, to walk up a few flights of stairs without ending up winded and drenched in sweat, etc. If you get to that point and the scale says 10 pounds higher than the arbitrary number you picked, so what? That said, when I had my psych evaluation, the psychiatrist wanted me to say my goal weight (probably just to make sure I had realistic expectations), so I went with the average weight loss for gastric bypass. There are a lot of online calculators for this, and I think I used 70% of my excess weight to arrive at a specific number (I ended up losing 100% of my excess weight). Here's another calculator that uses a lot of data from actual WLS patients to give more precise predictions based on more specific parameters: https://mbsc.arbormetrix.com/Registry/public/calculator/uiCalculator/7?menuId=1013
  6. I can’t believe I haven’t really thought about this NSV until now, but now that you mention it, I remember that I used to go through so many pants because of wearing out the inner thighs. I haven’t worn out a single pair of pants since I’ve been my current size (about 2 years)!
  7. If your biggest concern about this surgery is loose skin, you are not ready for bariatric surgery.
  8. BigSue

    Surgery day!

    Good luck -- hope everything goes well for you! P.S. Remember that you put a lot of thought into the decision to get this surgery and you know it's the right thing for you. It's very common to have buyer's remorse early on, but have faith that once you get through the hard part, you'll be glad you decided to change your life.
  9. BigSue

    Why am I so depressed

    What an incredibly compassionate and helpful reply! @mlbninja, I’m glad you found this forum and reached out for help! I hope you will click around this site and keep posting because we WLS patients have a unique set of experiences and challenges, and sometimes it just helps to know you’re not alone in what you’re going through.
  10. BigSue

    Best protein bar?

    I am obsessed with Built Bats. They are lower in calories than most other protein bars (130 to 180 depending on flavor) and DELICIOUS. They have three types: bars (which have a caramel-like texture), puffs (marshmallow filling), and granola (like caramel with granola mixed in; different from traditional granola bars), with several flavors of each, and an ever-changing selection of limited release flavors. It’s a matter or personal preference, but granola bars are my favorites, followed by regular bars, and the puffs taste good but are not as filling. Others I like include Fit Crunch, Verb, and Fulfil. I have seen Walmart and Trader Joe’s selling singles of various brands of protein bars, which is nice if you want to try one before you buy a whole box.
  11. The pre-op diet is one of the most difficult parts of the WLS process. It can vary greatly from one surgeon to the next, and even between patients for the same surgeon (for example, I've read that some surgeons require a more strict pre-op diet for patients with a higher BMI and/or who carry more weight in the abdomen), but remember that it is for the safety of your surgery, to shrink your liver so your surgeon has good access to your stomach. You are trusting your surgeon to cut you open and rearrange your digestive system, so it's important for you to do your part in getting your body ready for surgery. As for tips and tricks, it depends on what's allowed on your pre-op diet, but sugar-free Jello and sugar-free popsicles are helpful if they're allowed (also for the post-op diet). A strategy I used during my pre-op diet was to get a lot of samples of different brands and flavors of protein shakes, so I had a variety and it helped me to figure out what I liked in preparation for using post-op (but be aware that many people report a change in taste after surgery, and after stocking up on protein shakes they liked before surgery, they realize they can't stand the same shakes after surgery). Good luck!
  12. BigSue

    Met with surgeon, I just don't know...

    Welcome! I hope you find this site helpful no matter what you choose to do. I see a lot of similarities in your story to mine. I was morbidly obese my entire adult life, but always in good health. Never took a sick day. Never went to the doctor. Didn’t have any prescriptions. But I got a promotion to a more sedentary job and gained even more weight, and my quality of life was terrible. I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and was diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, and was facing having to go on medications to control those. I got to a point that felt like a crossroads. I could give up, keep enjoying eating (my one pleasure in life), and adapt as much as I could to my increasingly limited mobility, or I could take extreme action and get the surgery as a last-ditch effort to turn my life around. I had looked into WLS a long time ago and couldn’t imagine making my life revolve around my surgery. But when things changed to the point that it was effectively a life or death decision, I decided to give it a shot. I will tell you it has NOT been easy. I’m 2.5 years out and every day is still a struggle. Keeping the weight off is hard, hard work. But life a non-obese person is totally different. I lost 200 pounds — more than half my highest weight — and not carrying around a whole extra person has opened up the world to me. This would not have been possible without surgery. It’s a big commitment, but if you are ready and willing, it can change your life.
  13. BigSue


    Yes, my surgeon used the Da Vinci robotic surgery system. He was oddly insistent that HE, the doctor, would be performing the surgery, not the robot, so I guess a lot of people have these concerns. The robot is just a tool that the surgeon can use. The surgeon is in control, but can maneuver the robot in ways that human hands can't work. My surgeon said that he performs the surgery both with and without the robot, but he prefers to use the robot. I personally would rather have my surgeon operate with the tools that he likes to use.
  14. All you can do is wait. A lot of people have superstitions about how to break a stall, but the truth is that it all comes down to waiting it out. If you continue burning more calories than you eat, your stall will break and your weight loss will resume. Superstitions are usually based on the logical fallacy of equating correlation to causation — I increased/decreased my carbs/fat/protein/exercise/water and my stall ended! So they assume that whatever they happened to change was the cause of breaking the stall, even though it would have happened whether or not they made the change. TL;DR - you’re doing great, so keep it up and you’ll be successful.
  15. I wouldn't recommend spending a lot of money on incentive clothing because you'll probably lose weight so quickly that no size will fit for very long (until your weight stabilizes as you stop losing). Also, you deserve clothes that fit your body no matter what your size. I feel like I have noticed a lot more body positivity in clothing in the last few years -- I love stores that show the same item of clothing on models of different sizes so you can see how it looks on someone close to your own size.
  16. I’m pretty sure I just googled home health care and called up a local company with good reviews. You can also search for medical transportation companies. The home health care company I called offered a 4-hour shift. It didn’t even cost much more than a cab, and the aide picked up my prescriptions and carried my bag into my house.
  17. When I was considering weight loss surgery, I specifically looked for people who regretted it. I always like to be prepared, and for me, it was important to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. I had a hard time finding people who regretted their surgery; even people who suffered from serious complications often said that they would still do it again! I think it's important to go into surgery with your eyes open. It's not fun or easy. There are pros and cons and you have to evaluate for yourself if the surgery is worth it. For me, it was pretty clear cut, and yet still a tough decision. I started with a BMI over 60. My weight seriously hindered every aspect of my life. It was worth it for me to take a chance, even knowing all the negatives and risks, because it felt like my only chance to live. I lost more weight than I ever thought possible, but it's a struggle every day -- and yet nothing compared to how hard it was to live with morbid obesity.
  18. Chewable multivitamins taste terrible, so I wouldn’t recommend taking them any longer than you have to. My surgeon told me to take chewables for the first 6 weeks after surgery, and as soon as that was over, I was glad to go back to a capsule. I used BariatricPal chewables, and once I switched to capsules, I started BariatricPal multivitamin one capsules. They are a great price. I got sample packs of a couple of other brands of chewable bariatric multivitamins, and they were equally disgusting, so I went with BariatricPal due to the price. The good news is that calcium citrate chews are delicious. I get the BariatricPal French vanilla caramel and Belgian chocolate caramel, and I look forward to taking them (also a great price compared to other calcium citrate chews). I also take chewable biotin and vitamin D, Natrol brand from Amazon, and they taste good, like strawberry candies. And NatureMade sublingual B12 tablets taste like cherry candies.
  19. My surgery was 2.5 years ago, so it's sort of a distant memory at this point... I don't mean to scare anyone -- I actually hope it will be reassuring to know that (at least for me) waking up from surgery was the worst part. I remember being in the bed in the waiting area before surgery with an IV, and then nothing until I woke up. A lot of people remember being in the operating room, having to move themselves from the bed to the table, but I don't remember any of that. I woke up in a lot of pain and for some reason, I had it in my head that something went wrong and they didn't complete the bypass. When I was able to speak, I asked, "What happened?" I guess the nurses thought I was disoriented and explained that I was in the hospital and I just had gastric bypass surgery. I felt intense regret, wondering why I did this to myself. I could barely move, but I remember looking around and seeing the monitor showing my vitals. I had a blood pressure cuff on my arm that periodically ran, and it was a lot higher than normal, but nobody seemed concerned. I didn't really feel the incisions, but I had a lot of pain that I assumed was gas pain, based on what I had read before surgery, and I knew that I was supposed to walk to help with the gas pain. I kept asking to get up and walk, and the nurses told me I had to wait until they took me to my recovery room. I stayed in the hospital for one long, rough night. I was trying to walk as much as possible, up and down the halls. I made the mistake of walking at dinner time, and the non-bariatric patients had actual food, and the smell nauseated me. I got a meal tray with a protein shake, water, apple juice, coffee, and fruit cocktail (it was supposed to be sugar-free Jello, but apparently they were out and decided that fruit cocktail was the next best thing, LOL... The bariatric nurse was very upset that they had given me something that I shouldn't eat, but of course I knew better and did not eat it). Between walking, I tried to sip as much as possible, and it was very difficult. Fortunately, I had IV fluids, so plenty of hydration (and I had to pee very frequently). After the first few hours, I had very little pain and did not need to take any pain medication. I did have discomfort in my stomach, like cramping/spasms, so they gave me anti-spasm and anti-nausea medication. I had leg compression machines on my legs while I slept. The nurses came in to check on me periodically. My surgeon came in once. Once the anesthesia wore off and I was fully awake, I was eager to get out of the hospital and go home, and I felt like I had to wait forever. In hindsight, I'm glad they kept me for longer than I wanted because while I was there, I was getting hydrated with IV fluids, which was good because it was so hard to drink fluids those first few days. Once I got home, the first few days were not pleasant, but I had very little pain and recovered quickly. So if you feel completely miserable when you wake up, just know that you will get through it and things will likely improve very quickly.
  20. BigSue

    Losing hope

    You’ve lost 62 pounds in 6 months and you’re dissatisfied with that? I think that looking at other bariatric patients can skew our perspectives on weight loss. If you are expecting the same rate of weight loss as the patients on My 600 Pound Life, for example, that is not realistic because you don’t have nearly as much weight to lose. Your expectations for weight loss may not be realistic. At your height of 5’6”, your goal weight of 140 pounds puts you at a BMI of 22.6. The average gastric bypass patient loses 50-70% of excess weight, which means that the average gastric bypass patient doesn’t quite get to a BMI below 25 (which would be 155 pounds for a 5’6” person). With a starting weight of 270 pounds, your excess weight was 115 pounds. If you lose 70% of that, it’s 81 pounds of weight loss and a final weight of 189 pounds. A loss of 62 pounds in 6 months puts you on track to achieve that in a year (but remember that there are a lot of factors that can affect rate of weight loss, and you may lose faster or slower than others). Keep in mind that this is an average and not indicative of any individual patient. It is certainly possible to lose more than that. Some gastric bypass patients do lose all their excess weight and end up with a BMI below 25. You might be able to get to 140 pounds, but it is probably going to take a lot of work. The surgery is just a tool, not magic. If you were expecting to shed all your excess weight in 6 months without trying, then maybe you did waste your time and money, but if you are willing to put in the effort and use the WLS to your advantage, then you can achieve more weight loss than you ever have before.
  21. BigSue

    Turkey neck?

    I don’t have any answers about treatments for loose neck skin, but I will say that your weight/size is the first thing most people notice. No matter how wobbly your neck is, in all likelihood, people will see that you’ve lost weight and think you look fantastic.
  22. I live alone, hundreds of miles from any family, and I didn’t tell anyone about my surgery other than health care professionals. I really didn’t have any issues. I took a taxi to the hospital and hired a home health care aid to take me home. The hospital said they wouldn’t allow me to take a taxi/Uber home but they didn’t check and I totally could have, but the home health care aid didn’t cost much more than a taxi and she picked up my prescriptions and brought my bag in the house, so that was good. Plus, I had no idea how well or poorly I would be feeling when I got discharged, so it was nice to have that peace of mind. I had surgery on a Thursday, took the next week off of work, and went back the following Monday. I could have gone back much sooner, but it was good to have the week off so I could get used to my new situation (like having to sip tiny amounts to stay hydrated and get protein). I didn’t need any help taking care of myself. I didn’t have any pain by the time I got home. I was a little tired but functional. If I recall correctly, I wasn’t allowed to lift more than 20 pounds for the first 6 weeks, but I didn’t have any need to do so. I think my easy recovery was pretty typical of most WLS patients these days, but there’s always a chance you’ll have complications, so it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan in case you do need help.
  23. BigSue


    Great job on your progress! I’m not generally one to “reward” myself, and I kind of look at the weight loss as its own reward. If you’ve been living with obesity for a long time, some really basic things that most people take for granted can be amazing to experience for the first time — like shopping in a non-plus-size store, traveling on an airplane without a seatbelt extension, or just being able to bend down and tie your shoes. Many of us experience great health improvements like stopping blood pressure medication. There’s a very long thread about weird non-scale victories here: http://sparktrack.bariatricpal.com/f/a/Y50OG68aRzzLR0Yjxz0aTA~~/AABcJQA~/RgRlAveiP0RTaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmFyaWF0cmljcGFsLmNvbS90b3BpYy80MzY3MTAtd2VpcmRlc3Qtbm9uZS1zY2FsZS12aWN0b3J5LWlsbC1nby1maXJzdC9XA3NwY0IKYx-iciBjIPHUHFIRc2FyYTc4MUBnbWFpbC5jb21YBAAAAAA~ I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with buying yourself a nice shirt or new phone or treating yourself to a massage to celebrate, if that’s how you like to reward yourself, but I think it’s also good to appreciate all of the ways your life is improving as you lose the weight.
  24. A lot of people who have never struggled with their weight (or people who have only had to lose, like, 20 pounds) want to think of weight as a personal or moral attribute. They want to believe that their ability to control their weight is indicative of their personal superiority, so they feel threatened by the thought of some of us -- whom they view as inferior based solely on weight -- can "cheat" our way into their category. Many people who haven't looked into weight loss surgery also have no idea how hard it is. I think back to the first time I read about gastric bypass and thought it sounded like absolute magic -- the answer to all my problems! You get your stomach stapled and the weight just falls right off. And then I found out about all the risks and potential complications, dumping syndrome, and the fact that some people still regain the weight, and that was enough to turn me off from weight loss surgery for 15+ years. And even then, it wasn't until I actually started the process that I found out about the pre-op diet and all the post-op phases, having to constantly sip water all day just to avoid dehydration and go for weeks without solid food. I'd be willing to bet that most people have no clue how hard it is to get through all the pre-op requirements and post-op phases. Ironically, it's those people who have never had to think about weight loss surgery who really have the easy way out in that they don't have the propensity for weight gain in the first place. They have no idea how hard some of us have to work to lose weight and/or keep it off.
  25. I'm two years post-op, and my appetite has returned, but not nearly to the extent as before surgery. In the beginning, it was easy to lose weight because I wasn't hungry at all and physically couldn't eat much, but that has gradually changed. It feels upsetting at times to see the portions that I am able to eat because I think, "I shouldn't have room for this big of a salad," but I think my perception is skewed because I'm comparing my current portions to my initial post-op portions, not to what I used to eat pre-surgery. I remember pre-surgery often feeling like my stomach was a bottomless pit, and no matter how much I ate, I could still feel like I was starving. There are times now when I eat a reasonably-sized meal and still feel hungry, but even then, it doesn't take much to get all the way full. I'm probably doing it wrong because we're not supposed to eat to the point of getting really full, but I'm not perfect. And sometimes it's still hard to tell whether it's real hunger or head hunger. I can definitely see how people can regain a lot of weight after a few years, because I feel as though my stomach has stretched out quite a bit and I could over-eat if I'm not careful about what I eat. However, I have COMPLETLEY changed my eating habits and shifted toward low-calorie foods. I've been tracking everything I eat in MyFitnessPal for over two years, and I consider that the #1 key to my weight loss, other than surgery itself (in fact, I lost 70 pounds before surgery this way). I'm not stupid -- I know how to read a nutrition label -- but there's something about actually logging my food intake that makes me confront my choices and think about what is and isn't worth eating. I still track my calories in MyFitnessPal and I'm afraid to stop, but I suspect that I would probably be ok without tracking because I've gotten into good habits. I've also found that at times I've eaten more than I should (e.g., eating at a restaurant or getting hungry between meals and having a big snack) and think, "I need to limit my calories for the rest of the day," I actually end up not being hungry for the rest of the day, anyway. My tastes have also changed since surgery. I used to be kind of a picky eater, and I'm not sure if my actual tastes have changed or if I've just become more open-minded, but I eat all kinds of things now that I wouldn't have touched before surgery. I used to hate seafood and now I love it and eat fish almost every day. I used to hate a lot of vegetables, like squash, peppers, radishes, cauliflower, etc., and now I'll eat just about any vegetable. I consider cauliflower rice to be the greatest diet hack of all time because it simultaneously eliminates a high-carb food and sneaks a vegetable into the meal. Plus, if you buy the frozen stuff, it's faster and easier to prepare than actual rice. Before surgery, I turned my nose up at the idea of cauliflower rice, but now I eat it several times per week. I suspect that a lot of people who regain the weight rely too much on the restriction and don't change their eating habits, so when the restriction wears off, they're kind of back where they started.

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