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Fair warning – This was a lot longer than I thought it would be. You might want to have your Water bottle with you before starting! B)

Today (plus one day that I've confessed to above) makes one year out for me. WOW! What an incredible year. In some ways it seems like forever and in other ways, just like it was yesterday. As my signature states, I’ve gone from an 18W to size 4/6. My BMI changed from 32.8 to drum roll please .... 20.1. Hard to believe!!! My surgeon was Dr. Thomas Umbach in Las Vegas, NV. I found him through Medical Tourism and am very thankful that together we’ve made sure I have a nice long, healthy life.

The typical question – would you do it again? YES, YES, YES! I was known as a “lightweight” since my BMI was “only” 32.8. Was I fat? Definitely! Did I have risk factors? Definitely! I’ve often said that I was the smallest obese person in my family, but I had to personally realize that I was still obese. I really considered this surgery due to my father. I lost him in March 2009 due to complications from his obesity – congestive heart failure and uncontrolled diabetes. He was only 64 years old. It broke my heart to lose my dad at such a young age. I want to be around for my kids (currently 20, 17, and 9) and their kids!

Not only do I look better, I feel better. I can run up and down our stairs all day! No more having to sit down because I’m tired after one trip up. I can go to costco, shop, put the food away & still have energy for more chores/tasks. INCREDIBLE!!! With that being said, I still have not been good about regular, planned exercise. My stomach may look better if I had (but part of me thinks not – skin just isn’t going to bounce back but so much). I am thinking breast augmentation, but I probably won’t. Just invest in more push up/padded bras.

Do I want to punch out people that say I took the “easy way”? Yep! Is it hard? Yes. Do people who say I’ll gain it all back annoy me? Yep! Does my new tummy give me a tool that can make me successful? Heck yeah! Am I already successful? YES I AM! Am I concerned about maintenance and gaining again? Yes, but with continued dedication & support groups like this one, I can make it!

The next question – how much can you eat now? Slider foods – more than I thought I could/should. I can pack down close to pre-surgery amounts of Cookies, ice cream, popcorn, etc. I have been testing a bit with “normal” foods … the other day, I was able to eat almost all of a McDonald’s hamburger with just the top bun & all but 3 slices of the Apple Dippers (no caramel sauce). I had one or two more bites left of the top bun, but knew I was done. I can eat about 3 ounces of steak with a bite or two of salad & maybe 1/4 of a baked potato. My biggest battles right now are (1) head hunger at night and (2) not counting foods as “bad” or “good”. I am trying to change my thinking to “good for me” or “tastes good, but not very nutritious”.

I met with a nutritionist last week to talk about my eating plan for life. While she questioned if I still needed to track every bite I eat, I told her that it helped me be accountable. I am now tracking to 60g Protein, 64+ ounces of Water, 100+ grams carbohydrates, and somewhere between 1500-2000 calories a day. I will add a confession here – I track Monday to Friday, but rarely on Saturday & Sunday. I just kind of eye ball/mentally track on the weekends.

OK – enough rambling … Just want to leave with 2 more things. (1) If you are on the fence about this surgery, I want to strongly encourage you to investigate further. This surgery has truly saved my life & given me a new future and (2) At one year out, I thought it would be fun to go back and read some of my old posts – my worries, fears, doubts and successes. I don’t know if it will help anyone or not, but I’ve listed a few here:

Surgery & Post-Op:

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3255-on-my-way-to-the-airport/page__p__29783__fromsearch__1#entry29783

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3363-weird/page__p__30519__fromsearch__1#entry30519

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3403-surgery-recovery-sucks/page__p__30905__fromsearch__1#entry30905

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3471-im-gagging-over-here/page__p__31374__fromsearch__1#entry31374

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3538-concerned-should-i-be/page__p__32047__fromsearch__1#entry32047

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3602-finding-the-time-to-stop/page__p__32545__fromsearch__1#entry32545

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3687-advice-for-road-trip/page__p__33232__fromsearch__1#entry33232

Losing:

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3884-took-measurements-today/page__p__35215__fromsearch__1#entry35215

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3944-time-to-increase-the-portions/page__p__35826__fromsearch__1#entry35826

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/4565-need-some-support/page__p__40607__fromsearch__1#entry40607

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/4263-wanting-to-eat-more/page__p__38113__fromsearch__1#entry38113

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/4778-size-12s-and-medium-tops/page__p__42293__fromsearch__1#entry42293

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/4827-gotta-get-serious-about-exercise/page__p__42772__fromsearch__1#entry42772

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/3769-am-i-the-only-one-wanting-sweet-liquids/page__p__34103__fromsearch__1#entry34103

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/5217-its-a-fat-day/page__p__46024__fromsearch__1#entry46024

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/5065-post-op-when-did-you-have-your-first-carbonated-drink/page__p__44749__fromsearch__1#entry44749

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/6305-my-funny-nsv/page__p__55830__fromsearch__1#entry55830

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/5869-normal/page__p__51835__fromsearch__1#entry51835

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/7060-why-cant-they-just-say-congratulations/page__p__62386__fromsearch__1#entry62386

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/7964-irritated-with-people/page__p__69470__fromsearch__1#entry69470

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/7376-i-cried-tonight/page__p__64804__fromsearch__1#entry64804

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/8064-need-to-be-accountable/page__p__70372__fromsearch__1#entry70372

Moving to Maintenance

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/8602-calling-those-on-maintenance/page__p__75039__fromsearch__1#entry75039

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/6171-weight-regain-with-vsg/page__p__54548__fromsearch__1#entry54548

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/8392-today-7-months-out-and-642-pounds-gone/page__p__73224__fromsearch__1#entry73224

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/9506-goal/page__p__83431__fromsearch__1#entry83431

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/9995-almost-9-months-out/page__p__87012__fromsearch__1#entry87012

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/10260-i-am-not-controlling-my-sweet-tooth/page__p__89285__fromsearch__1#entry89285

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/10135-holiday-strategies/page__p__88283__fromsearch__1#entry88283

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/10981-nsv-nsv-nsv-for-me/page__p__95104__fromsearch__1#entry95104

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/11548-so-discouraged/page__p__99499__fromsearch__1#entry99499

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/12379-this-is-why-journaling-food-is-so-important/page__p__106369__fromsearch__1#entry106369

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/12406-fruits-and-veggies/page__p__106553__fromsearch__1#entry106553

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/12769-not-quite-a-year-out/page__p__109462__fromsearch__1#entry109462

· http://www.verticalsleevetalk.com/topic/11607-i-have-a-question-about-alcohol/page__p__99986__hl__alcohol__fromsearch__1#entry99986

For newbies … this is a great place to start: http://www.obesityhe...or-New-Members/ (yes, I know this is another website, but many of us frequent there as well as VST.J)

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Great post, lots of info. Congrats on your change of life.

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Congratulations Mini Me -- I have always enjoyed reading your posts, but this one is the best one by far. I feel so much like you and I am thrilled that you still feel that way a year out. Your journey has made my journey that much easier and that much more enjoyable. Thank you so much for everything you give to us :) Hugs!

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Mini-Me.

I love your posts. It was great that you shared this. At 9 weeks out, I am still hanging on to every worry. It lifts my spirits to see you do as well as you have and gives me hope. It is also good to know it is normal to still struggle, worry, wonder at a year out (different ones but still there). Thanks for sharing this wonderful moment with us.

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congratulations mini... tomorrow is my surgery date! so we will be one year apart. thanks for all your sharing and i hope that next year i have a great report to share. kelly

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I want to commend you for being so giving even after you have reached your paradise, I feel that it is important to give back, you have not forgotten about the hundreds of people who are right there, sitting at their computers eating a box of oreos(as I was) and too scared to ask for help, the ones who are headed to surgery despite no support from loved ones and who are scared and nervous, and those of us who had the operation and are on the journey. Thank You, there is a true ministry in the bariatric surgery community.

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What an excellant post Mini Me! Wow can you believe it's been a year! I had my surgery Dec 29, 2009 so it's been 1 year and 1 month for me. . . I am simular to your experiences too. . . I can do 6-8 oz of food but give me sliders and man you'd never know i had surgery . . . i have eaten 1 whole 7oz bag of black licorice before over an afternoon, but realized really fast that i don't want to do that very often or at all. . . (1 bag = 550 calories) Would I have the surgery again? perhaps. . . would i advocate this surgery? YOU BETCHA!!!! I see my daughter struggling with her weight right now and i have suggested this surgery. . . she states "No mom, not now, I want to do this on my own first" . . . bless her heart . . . but she goes to the gym and works out about 2 hours 3 - 4 times a week and has started eating healthier. . .

I myself right now am 12 lbs away from the goal the doctor has for me and about 25 lbs from where I want to be at. . . I look good and feel good. . I can do things i had not been able to do as a morbidly obese person . . . I can fit into a plane seat, tighten the seat belt with about 8 inches left over, i can go up the stairs without thinking i need a respirator or a crash cart . . . I still hate shopping and exercising but that will come with time. . .

To the newbies, you will get there just like Mini and Me! Its a lot of work, but it's a work in progress. . . together we will all get through this and get to where we thought we'd never ever get too. . . the journey is long, rough, and wild, but it's so worth it in the end. . .

To the seasoned group CONGRATULATIONS! your all getting there . . . in no time it'll be your year! Keep up the excellant work! Keep encouraging those who are here to learn from you, you have no idea how important your experiences are to those who need the words!

And finally Good luck to all and everyone. . .your all beautiful inside and out !

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This was a great read and gives a insight to what life is like after we make goal. Helps us prepare us that we will still need to be vigilant even after the loss. You veterns give us such valuable knowledge. Thank you. May the changes you seek become yours.

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Mini-me, I am so impressed, and it's so sweet of you to "pay it forward"-- I'm really hoping that a year from now I can write a post like yours! I am so excited for you, and so excited to hear that you are so happy with your results. It *is* going to be hard work, but it's so much easier when I see inspiration at the end of my road!!

:)

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Thank you for sharing your story and being an inspiration to us all. I am just a month out and it is so nice to know that I will get there eventually! I am so happy for all of your success.

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Thanks so much for that amazing post. 3 weeks after surgery and I'm struggling so much with head hunger. I'm afraid of eating too much and stretching my new tummy out. I've been at a stall since Saturday and that has depressed me somewhat. I will read your posts and your feelings and see if that helps me get through this hard time right now. I love my sleeve. I'm just new to it and trying so hard to make sure I make it work. That is what I'm worried about too. That I will fail and everyone who voices their opinions will be right. Sigh.

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Heyyy Mini-YOU!!!!! Wow, thank you SO MUCH for writing that wonderful inspiring post!!!! You have really outshone lady - and I give my hats off to ya!!! I have no doubts whatsoever that you will maintain your itty bitty girlie figure - you're doing all the right things.

Especially thank you for sticking around and cheering all of us on that are still on our journeys to a new, better, thinner and healthier us. :-) :cheer2: :drum: :grouphug: :target: :whoo: :bananahuge: :bananahuge: :bananahuge:

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OK ... I have to admit that I read all your comments and started bawling like a baby. I remember what it was like coming out here when I was researching and learning. People helped me so much. I don't feel like I've given back much, but it is wonderful to know that I have helped some of you in some small way.

We are all in this together. I know that all of us struggle with our weight and that this is a lifelong journey. I've also read research that having a support group is very beneficial to being successful. So, I am here for the long haul. I promise to support you and hope that you will continue to be here for me.

OK - the tears are starting to subside. I am overwhelmed and humbled.

Your friend,

MINI-Me (a.k.a. Anne)

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