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5.5 Year Update



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Back in 2012/2013 when I was contemplating my VSG, I spent hours scouring this website, which I found incredibly helpful. In fact, I don't think I would have gone forward with the surgery without it. As a "pay it forward" I committed to providing annual updates to the community. I missed my year 5 update last November, so here goes a 5.5 year update. Prior updates are linked below, in case you're curious about annual progression. Enjoy and feel free to comment or ask question, if you think I can help.

This year was probably my toughest since having surgery in terms of weight management. I took on a new job that was particularly stressful and involved a lot of travel. That led to some bad eating habits. I also used to weigh myself every day and sort of stopped that for a year. Low and behold, my weight increased from ~ 195 to 218, which was my highest by far since having the surgery. My clothes got tighter (and I grew out of some) and I generally felt like ****. My lovely wife basically called me out and said "what's going on?" The truth was I just lost discipline and abandoned the basics. The biggest contributors were SNACKING and carbs. I was constantly eating between meals and choosing more carb options during meals. The sleeve provides little defense against these behaviors. I can eat as much popcorn, potato chips and candy as anyone. And during meals, the sleeve doesn't restrict as much against carbs like bread, rice, potatoes, etc..

The solution for me was just attacking these two bad habits. BTW, cutting out the carbs sort of solves the snacking issue too. By that I mean, no carbs means no chips, candy, etc.. I allow myself as much cheese, beef Jerky, Quest bars or veggies for Snacks as I want. For me, I can eat a piece of cheese and be done. Not the same for chips. With those changes, my weight dropped back down to 198 (my current weight) in about 2 months.

While this situation was a bummer, it's still child's play compared to what would have happened pre surgery. I wouldn't have gained 20 pounds, but rather 50 or more. And it wouldn't have been so easy to drop it with behavioral changes.

Other general observations 5.5 years out:

Positives:

  • I'm a totally "normal" eater. That means I naturally eat portions that a healthy, non-weight issue person would eat. For Breakfast I have 1 or 2 eggs and a veggie sausage or some yogurt. For lunch I eat a salad with some Protein or a small sandwich. For dinner, protein (small steak, a hamburger, 1 or 2 pieces of chicken) and a veg. Even 5.5 years out, I'm still completely full after those normal portions. In sum, the sleeve still works just fine and hasn't stretched out or anything like that.
  • I can eat anything. No stuck foods, etc.. Of course, some things fill me up faster, but I generally view that as a good thing.
  • The weight is staying within a reasonable band, although not perfect by any means. Today, I weighed in at 198. At my worst pre surgery, I weighed 275 and was headed for 300+ fast. Post surgery, I went all the way down to 175. I'd like to weigh 190, so like most people you talk to in the world, I've got those 10 pounds to lose.
  • Ever since I had surgery, I've been able to participate in all sorts of activities that would have previously been out of the question. I regularly walk, golf and now a lot of hot yoga. My knees and joints were killing me with all the weight and all that's gone now.
  • I sleep better.
  • I'm off all meds! Pre surgery, I had to take meds for cholesterol and heart burn. I was pre diabetic and was considering meds for that. Post surgery those meds became unnecessary. Most surprising is that over the the last 18 months, I've even stopped taking omeprazole for heartburn.
  • I don't get hungry like I used to. I've always liked food and eating, so I do continue to think about food (head hunger), but I rarely physically feel hungry. No growling stomach ever.

Negatives:

  • Once in a while (5 or 6 times per year), I eat past my stomach's capacity and vomit it up. This is always frustrating and I kick myself for still letting it happen.
  • Weight loss surgery is NOT a silver bullet. For the first 12 months post surgery it seemed like magic. Weight flew off and it didn't seem like I would ever gain it back no matter what I ate. Not true 5.5 years out. I still need to think about my weight and diet. If I forget or get lazy / complacent, I gain weight. I need to weigh myself every day. I need to lose 10 pounds. Managing weight is still work.
  • I elected kept my surgery a secret, expect for just a handful of people. I'm not sure I'd do that again. I was pretty embarrassed about having to have a surgery to get my weight under control. Since I eat normal now and it's been so long since I lost the majority of my weight, the "how did you do it" conversations don't come up any more. But when I interact with really obese people that are friends, I'd like to be able to talk about my experience and try to inspire them to consider surgery. Secrets in life aren't that fun. Yes, I could always reveal what I did to everyone, but it seems silly at this point.

So that's all for this year. Having surgery was the best thing I've ever done for myself. My only regret is having waited until I was 39. I wish I would have done it 10 years earlier!

Thanks for reading and your support.

Familyman

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Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your experiences. Its great to hear from veterans.

Good luck with that last 8 pounds!

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

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This was really helpful. Thanks so much for taking the time.

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Thanks! It helps so much to hear from vets with long term experience so we get some insight on what to expect down the road. Congratulations on your success. 😊

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Congrats on your success and thank you for sharing. There aren't many vets on here and that long-term information is soooo helpful!

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That was very helpful to read. Thanks for sharing. I'm coming up on 6 months post-op sleeve.

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This is wonderful, thank you.

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Thank you for sharing! Congratulations on your success and hard work!

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thank you very helpful for all of us

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