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What I've Learned Four Years In



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I'm four years into my surgery this month and here are the things that I've learned.

At the beginning most will feel mixed emotions. Euphoric due to rapid weight loss, concern due to stalls and minor setbacks and trepidation due to looking at how others are doing and you feeling you're not doing enough. The one feeling we all have will be a renewed confidence in ourselves due to the fastest weight reduction you might have ever experienced.

We attain our goal weight. We then transition into making wise food and lifestyle choices. No longer are we to eat the things that made us obese and unhealthy such as the three C's, Cookies, Cake and candy. We will get more exercise. Maybe we park further from the building, maybe we join a gym, maybe we walk, run or work out. We are feeling great and we love our new selves.

Next we work on maintaining the weight loss and our healthy lifestyle. One thing happens, we decide since we lost so much weight it couldn't hurt to visit our friends the three C's. If only for a short while and only in small amounts. Hey, why park so far? It's really cold/hot, I'll park closer. You're still feeling confident even if you gained only 10lbs of the 100 you lost. Hey, you're still down 90lbs. No problem, I can lose the 10lbs. I've lost far more than that after surgery.

Then we realize, we are no longer weight loss super beings. We are just mere mortals who now have to work hard to lose the weight. Our bodies after time (usually after the one year mark) will not give us that rapid weight loss we once depended on. Here is when your determination and or lack of it will affect you for the rest of your life. We will all get back on a diet or healthier eating plan to lose the weight we gained. The majority will not succeed because it is not as easy it was when we first had surgery. Some will become complacent and throw up their hands and surrender. The weight will come back and the thoughts of a revision will come to our heads. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not allow for a do over. For a few they will overcome and work on shedding those pounds. They will succeed due to a variety of reasons such as a good support group, using the honeymoon period wisely and really making better lifestyle choices or simply losing one pound at a time instead of trying to lose all of it at one time.

Since my surgery four years ago I had five friends and family members undergo the surgery. We ALL gained back some of the weight. Some were able to lose it and regain their healthy lifestyle. Some never were able to lose the weight and went back into the habit of eating for gratification.

This is what I did. I originally got down on myself. How did I after three years let myself gain 10 lbs. I vowed to get it off. My 1st week I lost 1/2 a pound. I was devastated, how could this be? The next week I gained a pound. Why? I needed help!! My regular group meetings were cancelled due to covid so I lost valuable support there. I decided to call my family and friends who had the surgery. I spent hours talking to everyone, I told them about my struggles and they told me about theirs. We all came away with a few good ideas of what to do. First don't look to lose the WHOLE amount in one shot. It won't happen and it will derail you from succeeding. Set a goal of 1-2lbs per week. Don't worry that some friends or family might be losing more. We aren't in competition with them. Look at the little things. One friend said she stopped putting Crystal light or Mio in her Water. She only drank plain ice water. It seemed to help her jump start her weight loss. Another friend said he started taking the stairs instead of the elevator. He climbs seven flights at least once a day. Another told me her husband who did not have the surgery brought Snacks home and that she would eat them. She purged her home of the unhealthy snacks as she did right after her surgery. I started to implement these and other ideas and I have lost 5lbs in five weeks. I'm at the half way point to getting back to my goal weight.

We are not super humans we need help and we need encouragement in order to succeed. There are a few on here who have done a tremendous job on their own and they are to be commended and emulated. For me, I need and I will take all the help I can get. Everyday is a struggle to be healthy. I told my surgeon that all this is happening after only four years, how do people succeed at maintaining the weight loss? He said sadly, the majority won't.

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Thank you so much for sharing, @Danpaul. Your experiences are what all of us will likely experience in some way at some stage. Yes, we are only human.

Interestingly, Dr Matt Weiner did a video recently about making single easy changes to your diet just like you & your support group are implementing. In essence, he suggested about every month make a change - drop something from your diet or add something. A small change is always more achievable than a major overhaul. It resonated with me & I was so happy to read of your actual successful experience of making small changes to your diet & routines.

Congrats on being almost back at your goal (happy) weight.

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the closer you are to a normal BMI, the tougher it is to take off weight. That's because you're already pretty much at an equilibrium (calories in - calories burned) when you're normal weight - or pretty close to it. The last 20 or so lbs are always a bear to take off for most people. My last 20 lbs took FOREVER to get off - and now, slight regains are as well.

and it's not just us. I remember so many times sitting at Weight Watchers meetings when I was pre-op and super morbidly obese, rolling my eyes at these normal weight - or slightly overweight - women b**tching and moaning about how hard it was to lose 10 lbs. Yea right - try losing 100, people. Now I totally get it....

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Thank you so much for posting. I'm 20 months out and am falling in the category of bringing the 3 C's back and I've stopped exercising beyond walking this last month. I haven't regained weight yet, but I know if I don't get on top of it I will.

Sadly, I don't have a support group for my diet -- I have friends I've been exercising with but we all fell off the wagon at the same time :( I appreciate any support and ideas from this group as I really, really want to be healthy. I don't want food to rule my life either in a free for all or too strict way.

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8 hours ago, loridee11 said:

Thank you so much for posting. I'm 20 months out and am falling in the category of bringing the 3 C's back and I've stopped exercising beyond walking this last month. I haven't regained weight yet, but I know if I don't get on top of it I will.

Sadly, I don't have a support group for my diet -- I have friends I've been exercising with but we all fell off the wagon at the same time :( I appreciate any support and ideas from this group as I really, really want to be healthy. I don't want food to rule my life either in a free for all or too strict way.

Hi Loridee,

I'm in a similar spot. I am 4 years post-op and was plateauing for over a year (not maintaining at goal weight, I still have 100 lbs to my goal), now I'm gaining weight. I think finding a support group would really help me get back on track too.

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Stall and Loridee, out of necessity I had to form my own support group. Are there others that you know who have had the surgery that you can talk with? I found that just by talking and bouncing ideas around we all benefited. I told my surgeon that he should try to set up a way for his patients to exchange emails so we could network. Prior to covid he had two group meetings a month. He tried zoom meetings but they were not effective. So far he hasn't done it. I subscribe to Dr. Becky Gillespie on you tube. She doesn't give bariatric specific weight loss advice. Hers is geared more for us mere mortals and it's usually backed up with the science behind it. I find that fasting for 12 hrs a day helps me control my weight. I don't eat between 7PM - 7 AM. I'm also considering a longer fast but don't want to try until I'm absolutely sure that I can commit. One thing I've found out from not only my experience but with others, if you do not commit to a plan it will never work.

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Oof, I hear you on the difficulties losing weight the closer to normal BMI you get. I’m just 15 lbs from goal. I’ve already lost 160, it seems crazy that these last few could be such a struggle but here we are. My weight loss has slowed dramatically a few times and each time I have to look and see what’s going on. Am I snacking again? Am I eating calorically dense food like nuts? Is sugar creeping back in? I know I will slowly push the boundaries and let bad habits sneak back in. I just have to keep course correcting, and I’ll probably be doing that for the rest of my life.

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On 8/25/2021 at 5:49 PM, blackcatsandbaddecisions said:

I’ll probably be doing that for the rest of my life.

It's a life long struggle

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On 8/25/2021 at 5:49 PM, blackcatsandbaddecisions said:

I just have to keep course correcting, and I’ll probably be doing that for the rest of my life.

Amen sister. I honestly think this is the not-so-secret to weight loss and maintenance: keep doing what works until it doesn’t anymore.

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Thank you for your honest take on the process beyond the honeymoon period. Congratulations on the five pounds and good luck getting off the other five. You can do it.

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I am 3 years postop and did amazingly well, 100+ lbs. However, the magic is long gone and it is a daily struggle. I have gained 30 lbs back sitting on my backside due to Covid, health and family issues. However, every day I get up and try to do something different. I appreciate all of the responses and stories that I have read from each of you and feel that I can continue to fight the good fight. I never want to be back where I was prior to the surgery with all of the things each and every one of us goes through on our postop journey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and I wish every one of you the best on your journey.

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