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Three years and a lifetime later



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Good morning, BP Campers. Thought I'd stop in for a a quick visit and update. I started my preop diet 3 years ago today. I always consider this my anniversary, rather than the surgery date. Here's a recap of my journey so far.....

Year 1 - the year of losing all of my excess weight (100 pounds), dozens of NSVs, and a new wardrobe. By far, the most exciting year. Even the month of liquids, 6 weeks of diarrhea and 2 insanely painful gallbladder attacks couldn't put a dent in my enthusiasm. It was all so new and fun and easy. Life was great and I was invincible!
Year 2 - the year of finding out life still sucks no matter what size you are, losing my best friend to suicide, sinking into a deep hole of depression and finding that I could no longer rely on my old friends.....food, alcohol and cigarettes. Just struggling to get through each day with really no desire to. Two more gallbladder attacks which I finally put an end to with a long overdue cholecystectomy. Despite a complete breakdown of my emotional stability, I was surprisingly able to maintain my weight loss from the 1st year. I held onto the fact that what I put in my mouth was one of the few things I could control at that point.
Year 3 - the year of emotional healing (well, at least a start in that direction) with a grief therapist, testosterone replacement and an antidepressant. Finally able to crawl out the darkness into a somewhat bearable existence. My latest breakthrough is I actually said yes when asked out on a date about a month ago. Considering my introvert personality and swearing off relationships almost 20 years ago, this is an extraordinary step for me. We've been out 1/2 dozen times and I'm actually enjoying it. Who knows what Year 4 will bring. But I've definitely come to realize as time goes on, everything has become less and less about surgery and weightloss and more and more about life.
I maintain my weight the same way I lost it....80+ grams of Protein, 100+ ounces of Water, low carb, balanced diet including veggies, fruit and whole grains. I pretty much eat whatever I want but I make smart choices when it comes to quantities. No tracking, no measuring, just mindful eating. I am diligent about keeping any regains in check. I've got too much invested, both financially and emotionally to let a 1-2 pound regain turn into 10-20 pounds. I have labs done annually and follow a Vitamin regimen based on the results. I don't have an exercise routine, just a very busy, active life.
Bottom line is a successful WLS result is not rocket science. Whatever you had to do to lose weight is pretty much what you need to do forever. If you can't control sliders and trigger foods, they WILL lead to regain. If you don't make the psychological adjustments and permanently change your habits and behaviors, you WILL regain. It's totally up to you whether or not your surgery becomes just another failed diet. Don't be afraid to seek professional help with the mental side of it. I finally did...thank goodness.
Good luck to the newbies. Congrats to the veterans.

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I so enjoyed reading your update. Thanks for sharing and I hope more great things come into your life.

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So happy to see your update!! I'm into my third year now and my years have gone somewhat similar to yours. I also finally got help with an antidepressant in my second year and it has made a world of difference. Life still happens. Sometimes life still sucks. It sucked really bad yesterday and I was crying to my mom and she says, "You want a doughnut, baby?" I laughed and said, "Mom, you can't eat your feelings. You have to sit with them, feel them and deal with them. Not cover them up with doughnuts." I love her so much but she didn't teach me the healthiest coping skills as a child. These are the habits that make or break us further on. Miss your posts.

HW 290+/SW 261/GW 160/CW 159

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My year one was positivity, amazement, activities. Yeah and new clothes.

My year two was also realization that it is right that no matter what size those things that made you unhappy still exist and there's continued work to be made. I'm now working on not regaining bc I strayed from the path and now not having any restriction anymore. On to year three for me too

Jan 8

HW 228 SW 200 CW134

Sent from my SM-G930T using the BariatricPal App

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Also will be 3 yrs 1/17. Chubby all my life and was dieting at 12. I was adopted as an infant and my adoptive parents were slender high energy people. We ate the same foods and ate meals together and never had seconds. I was chubby and sluggish despite my dad s encouragement. At 29 I found my birth family. 300 lb people that were bright and successful. I felt like a success at 5'3" and 180. 3 kids and 20 yrs later I was 225 and eating 1000 calories a day, high Protein low carb and unable to lose weight. I woke up on a Monday and told my husband I was going to have gastric surgery and went to the info meeting that Thursday. I saw the Nut but did not learn anything I did not already know. I had been logging food,tracking Protein carbs etc for a long time. Six months later I had the sleeve surgery. I was never sick or nauseated afterwards and woke up from surgery hungry. My Dr said that wasn't possible that it was in my head. I said I knew the diff between just wanting to eat and actual hunger. Despite that I followed the dr s eating/drinking instructions to the T. I lost most of my weight in the first 6 months then slowly lost the rest over the next 6. My lowest weight was 132. At that point I felt I looked a little haggard and slowly increased to around 139. Today I weigh 145 but prefer to keep it at 140. I still log my food and try to keep protein up and carbs below 60. Some days are better then others but I have to keep my calories around 1100 to maintain my weight. 900 or less to lose. I have worn a Fitbit and can eat approx. half the calories it says I burned. I drink my Water. I'm hungry a lot. My stomach growls. But I would still say it's the best thing I ever did for myself and it's easier to maintain when I like what I see in the mirror. Hope this helps someone else. I read a lot of blogs before and after VSG. I wondered what it would be like several years out. Now I know. For me it's 1100 calories and constant vigilance. I have a beat down every morning with the fat girl that lives inside me. It's still work but at least it's working. People have reacted in different ways. Some happy for me. Others not so much. I try to keep in mind that no one would truly want me to gain it all back. Their feelings are more about themselves then me. I can only take care of myself..one day at a time. A little random but I'm typing on my phone.

Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App

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Great post! My journey was similar to yours. I was 3 years post op in Sept. The first year was all about excitement and watching all the pounds melt away. The second year was the harsh reality that regardless of my weight, I still had the underlying issues to deal with, and year 3 was all about transformation of the spirit and making sense of that new reality.

Good luck on your continued journey!

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My first year was great 80 lbs gone felt great. I remember going into my closet and nothing fit. Best feeling ever. My second year the weight started to creep up and I felt out of control. Had a lot of personal trials..... husband retired, i have been retired for a few years from my career as a teacher. We traveled. We ate. We lived the life we had dreamed of. Slowly but surely the weight returned. Now I am almost as heavy as I was before surgery. Yes, it can happen. I lost my restriction. I am able to eat just about like I did per-surgery. I sometimes wonder if I can ever lose this weight yet again. I did not fix my emotional issues even though I did briefly do counseling. I have an addictive personality and I literally went from eating to shopping. When that got old and I had a house full of junk I went back to eating and using food as a coping mechanism. Every night I go to sleep thinking tomorrow will be different. Yet by 9:30-10:00 the next day same old thing. I am always going to start tomorrow. I know what I am doing, but I really don't know how to stop. Guess I just have not found a replacement for food. Sorry for the long rant but sadly regain can and will happen for some people.

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oh Kindle, I sure miss you! I was so glad to run into your update. I hope you're doing well, and having a good time with this new person of interest in your life!

Please stop by the vets forum soon, some of us are still hanging around

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Such a beautiful and honest post. And all the replies are just as beautiful. Thank you all for sharing.

Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App

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My first year was great 80 lbs gone felt great. I remember going into my closet and nothing fit. Best feeling ever. My second year the weight started to creep up and I felt out of control. Had a lot of personal trials..... husband retired, i have been retired for a few years from my career as a teacher. We traveled. We ate. We lived the life we had dreamed of. Slowly but surely the weight returned. Now I am almost as heavy as I was before surgery. Yes, it can happen. I lost my restriction. I am able to eat just about like I did per-surgery. I sometimes wonder if I can ever lose this weight yet again. I did not fix my emotional issues even though I did briefly do counseling. I have an addictive personality and I literally went from eating to shopping. When that got old and I had a house full of junk I went back to eating and using food as a coping mechanism. Every night I go to sleep thinking tomorrow will be different. Yet by 9:30-10:00 the next day same old thing. I am always going to start tomorrow. I know what I am doing, but I really don't know how to stop. Guess I just have not found a replacement for food. Sorry for the long rant but sadly regain can and will happen for some people.

@@emleyrose I was very lucky to stumble upon an intensive outpatient treatment program for eating disorders about two years ago. It was a huge commitment. I had to be there three hours three evenings a week, and also part of Saturday, and I did it for eight months. It included individual and group counseling, dialectical behavioral therapy (mindfulness), art therapy, movement, nutrition counseling and something called supported eating. This was a kind of group eating therapy where we were taught to recognize hunger and fullness cues. Also, we did a lot of talking about what certain foods brought up for us emotionally. We all had to do many of the same things people in bariatric programs do prior to surgery, such as logging food, Water and movement, and how they make us feel. The dialectical behavioral therapy is really helpful because it consists of identifying triggers and learning strategies to either avoid them, or to do something other than the triggered behavior. I still go to that and nutrition once a week. My life is so much better as a result. I am scheduled for surgery in January, and I intend to return to the IOP because I really feel I can't learn new behaviors without lots of support, and because I will be experiencing a new relationship to food and my body. If you can find anything like this, I strongly recommend it. You put in too much work to not get the support you need!

@@Kindle thank you for sharing this. It is very helpful to hear. I plan to return to the IOP for a few months when I start back on solid food and will keep an eye out for the depression that might kick in once the honeymoon is over. If I experience anything like that, it will be back to IOP for me! Thanks for the warning.

Edited by Hollyhock

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I held onto the fact that what I put in my mouth was one of the few things I could control at that point.

I've definitely come to realize as time goes on, everything has become less and less about surgery and weightloss and more and more about life.

You're amazing. You came through the lows to find level ground. I hope you take pride in your strength and what you've learned and taught yourself.

I'm in tears about your friend and couldn't bear to quote that part. The part about eating being one of the few things within one's control hit me some time ago and what an surprising discovery it is, yes? Having become obese because of caving in to food was something that I could take charge of. It's true while sounding contrary to reality.

YOu know that earlier I wrote a similar statement to a BP'er -- about surgery taking a back seat in time. I'm not there yet because I'm still a distance from goal, but I know I'll enjoy feeling more freed from surgery.

It really is good to have you here whether for a morning or longer, should you choose.

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