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True confessions of a 9 month out Sleever



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Surgery was Feb 4th, 2014. I've lost 103 lbs. I am still "Obese." I've gone from a 24W to a 14P (sometimes 12) in dress size so far. I came off High Blood Pressure medication. My resting pulse rate went from 100 to 70 on average. I fit in seats everywhere I go. I walk and bike ride quite a bit, usually 4x per week. I have a lot of energy. I see a therapist. I try to stay positive.

And...

I still feel like I am batting the daily demons. You know the ones: the demons that enjoy grazing, that don't drink 64 oz of Water every day, that enjoy carbs and occassional sweets, that track daily intake a little too sporadically, that constantly suggest, "Go ahead, you can get away with eating that."

I hate these demons. These are the same creatures I battled before surgery. Somehow I hoped it would be different or that the magic honeymoon period would have lasted longer. There are days I feel like I really haven't had surgery at all.

It's funny, because I remember doing my pre-op research and really focusing on the enormity of my decision. All the literature which said, "Gastric Sleeve is forever, completely irreversible, a major decision." No one EVER said, "Oh, by the way, despite having 75% of your stomach removed - 9 months from now you will feel extraordinarily normal and your appetite will return in similar force to what it always was and you will be able to eat quite a bit of most everything and you will have to engage in the daily battle to maintain a lifestyle diet, and you will have to restrict yourself with will power and a hundred mental tricks EVERY DAY."

Sigh.

I am switching into sleever veteran status and I am very afraid. I am afraid that I will not be able to lose to a point where I am no longer listed as "Obese." I am afraid that I am back-sliding with my habits. I am afraid that I don't really have it in me to do the very difficult ongoing forever work that is now required of me. I'm afraid that my "tool" will lose it's effectiveness. And ultimately, I am afraid of failure.

And that is my confession.

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Not to minimize your confession but reading your journey made me feel optimistic and alleviated some of my own fears! I'm glad you feel normal after 9 months! I'm glad you have a normal appetite and can enjoy foods again. Most of all I'm glad you lost a hundred pounds and your health is better!

Think of it like you have already done the hard part. You have a lot less to lose now, and you can do it the " normal" way! You have power over your fears! You demonstrated that.. Just keep going! Simply read your post again, skip your last paragraph and give your God a hand!

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Thank you for posting this. As brutal as the truth can be, I think it's good for everyone involved. People who are pre-op need to know that this is not the "easy way out". People who are post-op need to know they are not alone in battling the same demons you are fighting. But your first paragraph is critical. You have come so far and changed so much. Are you completely changed? No. You aren't going to be a 100% different person than you were before. But you HAVE changed and for the better. So cling to that and use it as motivation moving forward.

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I am going to challenge you.. not to in any way invalidate your feelings or experiences, but rather to give you "food for thought".. so please take it in the way intended.

Can you really eat as much as you used to? Are you really as hungry as you used to be? Do you think that you can continue to lose weight (and more importantly maintain your losses!)? Could you have accomplished any of this without the sleeve?

I have lost over 160#. I started at 308... and my dream, my measure of success was to get under 200# and actually maintain it. At 5'5"; still obese. I got to about 190 and sure enough... my weight loss slowed to a crawl. At about 8-9 months post op, I was losing around 2# a MONTH!

I met with my nutritionalist and she pointed out the single worst thing I was doing food wise that created my problem.. i was eating Protein bars like candy. crap. One more thing got banned from the house. Essentially, Protein Bars had become my new junk food and they are really high carb!

I also faced my own inner feelings. I had lost about 120-125# and people gave me so many compliments, I felt so good, I could physically do things so much easier... but I still had a nice comfy protective layer of fat. I frankly looked matronly, in spite of my friends saying how good I looked, i looked like a typical overweight middle age woman. hmmm. Did I really really want to lose more? Was this good enough? Was I fearful of trying to get all the way to a normal /slim weight?

I had to face my own inner decision - much like the original decision to get WLS. What do i want to make of this? How can I leverage this tool to the fullest?

I got hardcore again. I went back to basics and pushed pushed pushed, Water, Vitamins, ate low carb again, worked out... etc. Frankly, that first about 14 months post op (except for the little Detour I just talked about) I didn't do alot of fun stuff like vacations, dinner parties and cocktail hours. I focused on losing weight.

Guess what, when I refoced, reduced carbs, my hunger decreased and my weight loss accelerated back to the 9-12# a month until I got to my ultimate goal in Feb 2013.

I am now maintaining under my goal weight and it is still work. (it is easier than staying under 300# was for me preop, but it is still work). It is my lot in life. Guess what, it is the struggle most women over 40 engage in to stay trim. It sucks. My best friend packed on about 35# over the last year or two and she is hungry all the time.. just to lose a pound a week she has to really work it.

Anyway, in truth, i would have been okay if I had maintained at 190.. beats the crap out of 300+ and gaining.. but I am very glad that I took the plunge and continued on as I love my body and health at a normal BMI, but the reality of the WLS situation is that it is not a guaranteed easy ride to skinny-ville.

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@CowgirlJane - I SO appreciate your reply. You are the voice of so much reason on these boards. And yes, for sure - I needed to vent about this and to diminish some of my fear by expressing it.

1. I could NOT have done this without the sleeve. I have no regrets about that.

2. If I didn't lose any more weight - that would still be OK given how much healthier I am. (I was most assuredly on my way to 300 lbs)

3. I am exactly in that place you describe: lots of compliments, came a long way, have a new wardrobe, feeling pretty good - but also feeling a bit stuck - weight loss down to about 4 lbs/month.

4. YES - afraid to get all the way down to a normal weight (gasp, skinny even??). In fact, losing another 10 lbs would put me at my lowest weight in 15 years. Yikes - terrifying.

5. The bratty, lazy un-grownup part of me wants this to be easier than it is and is definitely staging a rebellion.

But no, it is not over - and I can refocus and rein in my mis-behaviors. I am just now going through the mental and physical process of really deciding to this - to get hardcore as you say.

Am I worth it? Can I take the final step and face the risks that go along with doing that? Am I strong enough? Do I have the support I need? These are the things I am consciously and unconsciously working through.

Thank you for your caring reply!!

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Excellent food for thought! I think I, too, have become a little too comfortable and complacent. Here's hoping your "challenge" will give me the kick in the butt to see bigger losses again.

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At 9 months out I'd reached well inside that ever elusive "healthy BMI zone". My friends, (all are now larger than me but many not by much), were telling me to "stop" in no uncertain terms, (is 145 pounds at 5'6" too skinny???). My favorite jeans\pants were all size 4 which was smaller than I ever imagined so I decided to enter maintenance and adjust my goal up to 145. I lived there for 3 months, actually creeping down a bit weight wise until I recently decided that it was in me to go ahead and finish my original journey to 135 pounds, (an even 100 pound loss and still in the middle of healthy for my height). So damn the opinions of others who are not my Dr., I'm going for it! A few less calories, a few more Protein grams, a few more minutes on my bike and a few more push ups... I WILL get to my goal! And so can you!

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I agree that while my pre-op program definitely prepared me for the physical changes and the diet changes, it did not prepare me for the emotional changes. I didn't expect them and they caught me off guard. I thought "If I can lose x amount of weight, I will truly be happy and I will no longer battle my eating disorder." Nope. Didn't happen. I lost x amount of weight, but still battle my thoughts every day.

But what did happen is I got an amazing tool to support me in my weight loss journey. So even if I do have one of those "bad days" (see today's blog post).... I am eating maybe 1/2 c. of the food instead of 4 c. of it. What also happened is that I've realized even though I've reached and passed my goal weight, what I thought would "cure" me did not, and now I've had the opportunity to dig deeper into my emotional eating issues and figure out what it is I'm allowing myself to NOT think about when I'm obsessing over the food.

So, I guess my point is just some encouragement. I think we've all had those days, but the key is to be grateful that we have this tool, embrace the journey for what it is, and keep on doing the hard work! Good luck to you!

Edited by livvsmum

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Hey hey Human,

I am still new to all this and your concerns I share. Other than weight loss, I still have to find a way to healthfully address stressors in my life in a different way. I signed up for an online 4 week course. It was 97.00 and, I am guardedly optimistic it will be a great help. I chose the Tuesday night session but there is still time to sign up for Saturday's first class. If you go to

Strongcoffey.com or Google Kelly Coffey you should find the info. She weighed over 300 lbs and had bariatric surgery but early on realized there is so much more to be addressed. I was impressed with the work she put into the presentation, her honesty, and insights. I think you may find some helps via her class, blog, Facebook page...

Check it out. Good luck!

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