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I have debated wls seriously for a couple years now. I have not talked to a doctor about it, though because of my weight I'm sure they would recommend it. I am 5'3 and weigh about 285. I haven't had any problems with my health yet due to obesity. I have been fighting my weight all of my life. I remember being in 2nd grade being on diets. I know what I weighed at every significant day in my life. I was just a few pounds overweight up until I met my husband. After that it was no longer a few pounds overweight I was obese. I gained 140 pounds since we met 15 years ago. I have lost weight several times, my biggest around 50 pounds, but mainly i lose 20 then gain. This has been a trait of mine my whole life even as a teenager. I would weigh 140 lose to 120 then gain it all back.

I have read several posts on here the last six months. I go back and forth on surgery. My insurance won't cover it so it will be all out of pocket which will be a big chunk of my savings. Also I hate going to the doctor. And i know a lot of doctor appointments will go into it. Also, and probably my biggest reason is fear of it not working. The reason I am this big is I can't follow a strict diet. I have tried over and over. I know like most of you I've CICO, Keto, Atkins, and many other diets. I love sweets. And I am a very emotional eater. At least when I'm bored. And I think about food way too much. After reading several posts on here and watching some of the shows on WLS, my biggest question is...if you still have to stick to a diet of low carb and high Protein diet or at least follow a strict diet, how do you do it with the surgery, when you couldn't without? Is there a big difference in hunger, even if before you weren't really eating because of hunger but feeling?

Thank you for any advice.

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You are not going to have a problem living with high Protein low carb. I was a huge lover of bread and other carbs...huge. After I went on the diet and got the surgery, the weight falling off literally changed my whole perspective in a couple ways:

1. I physically cannot eat carbs and bread like before because it fills me up too fast and makes me feel ill. I am just not interested in carbs and fatty foods any more.

2. Once you see the weight coming off, you will be motivated to keep it going off.

3. You learn to eat your protein first and veggies next. After that, there is no room for carbs. I really don't miss the carbs at all.

4. You will be satisfied by the food you eat so it is not like before...nothing like before so you have to forget now and realize your body is changed and you are NOT PHYSCIALLY ABLE TO EAT LIKE THAT ANY MORE.

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Learning to feed your body on hunger cues and not your feelings may be something you need to work through in therapy. Most bariatric programs worth their salt will have you do a behavioral evaluation. You'll want to be honest with them about these things and start working on them early so that you can get ahead of yourself.

I'm not one of those people who's taste suddenly changed after surgery. Now at 6 months out there's very little I cannot eat if I choose to. It's a matter of making the better choices. I for sure still have food cravings and want to eat things that aren't necessarily going to fuel my body the way they should. I personally try to find balance, if I'm craving something I'll have a small portion because I feel like fighting it leads to binging and I'd much rather have a balanced diet.

I will say the surgery helps me with being able to recognize more easily when I'm actually hungry versus just wanting to eat for the sake of it. It's much easier to pause and check in with my body and then shut it down if I'm not actually hungry. With getting full so quickly it's also much easier to stop if you do start to eat something you shouldn't because you'll quickly get full.

Everyone here will tell you over and over again the surgery is just a tool you still have to put in the work to keep up with things. And for some of us it's harder work. I would love to be able to agree with all the points Tony presented above but they simply aren't true for me. So instead I make an effort to actively work against my cravings and my smaller stomach absolutely helps with that. (PS not to say Tony isn't working, I just mean it's different for everybody). It's definitely not a quick fix but I think worth it thus far.

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What she said ^^^^^. Also, I do work hard to count my Protein and avoid the pitfalls, but my work shows up on my body. Before surgery I did the work and half a pound would be the loss. After surgery AND weight loss work, I see a solid 2-4 lbs difference per week. Yeah, I know next year I’ll be closer to goal and half a pound loss will sound great, but it’s nice taking the down elevator right now. The physical stomach restriction will make the difference in maintenance too!

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3 hours ago, JenH38 said:

if you still have to stick to a diet of low carb and high Protein diet or at least follow a strict diet, how do you do it with the surgery, when you couldn't without? Is there a big difference in hunger, even if before you weren't really eating because of hunger but feeling?

I have good news and bad news.

Good: for me, there really WAS a big difference in hunger levels. For most of my first year, I had next to no appetite and when appetite returned, it was much more management than before. Even 2.5 years out, my appetite is about 65% of what it was pre-op. And that's a good thing.

Bad: WLS doesn't completely fix emotional eating. You will still need to be mindful of what you eat and why you are eating at any given time. It is possible to "eat around your sleeve" just by eating small amounts of the wrong things, all day long. So if emotional eating has been an issue before surgery, you'll need to keep working at that after surgery. Therapy can help with getting to the root of why you use food as a coping mechanism.

Overall, I have no complaints about the surgery. I had no major complications, I lost all my excess weight and I'm still maintaining. So I don't want to discourage you. Just be prepared to continue working on your mindset and emotional health.

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Yep, the emotional eating issue needs addressing before WLS. It seems to be a BIG reason why a lot of folks really struggle post-surgery. It's the thing that really trips folks up. You can't replace a coping mechanism with nothing.

The surgery itself (at least for a bypass) helps you switch up your habits and re-learn a new normal through restriction and hunger reduction. My personal experience has been zero hunger and having to pretty much remember to eat, and I'm truly done in a couple of mouthfuls. Drinking Protein Water and regular water fills me up. A switch has definitely been flicked in me, and while I know my hunger will eventually return to a degree, the surgery is giving me the luxury of time to unlearn bad habits and embrace better ones.

The big reason I always failed before surgery was self-sabotage. I'd get to almost where I wanted, then some event would trigger a binge and it would all fall apart. The surgery is going to stop that binge and help me stay the course. And I'm honestly finding a lot of joy in not caring about food like I did. I still *think* about food, because it's a habit of a lifetime, but I no longer care about it.

Let me just say it's great that you're taking your time and weighing this up before leaping in. All your doubts and questions are important ones to consider.

Edited by Smanky

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The surgery will give you lots of help to lose weight to begin (loss of appetite, smaller tummy, etc.) but in the long term you have to make the decision to make the permanent changes to how, what & why you eat. If you go into this thinking you’ll come out the other side weighing less but still eating the same way & for the same reasons you’ll put the weight on all over again just like you always did. That might sound harsh but it is the truth of it.

After surgery, I really looked at what, why & how I ate. I took that time to refocus my food choices & gained a better understand of my eating cues. I did a lot of reading & worked out a new eating plan because I realised I couldn’t go back to how I used to eat if I was to be successful in the long term.

You may find you won’t follow a specific restrictive ‘diet’ like Keto or Atkins, etc. to maintain your lower weight but you may pick & choose & develop your own eating style that fits into your lifestyle, isn’t too restrictive &, this is the big one, is sustainable.

Generally I eat lowish carbs, lowish fat, very little sweet, high Protein. Big change was eating more nutritionally dense food & eating more regularly. And I eat about the same number of calories as I used to eat when I was obese. My metabolism actually works now so I can eat about that same 1300 calories & maintain my current weight.

Do I miss the foods I avoid now like sweet things? Nope, not really. Uncle’s 80th yesterday. Most had dessert. I had a cup of tea. There was birthday cake later & I had tea again. Did I feel like I was missing out? Nope. Didn’t want it either. Realising you can reach that mindset where you’re not really interested in foods you used to crave & love to eat is a bit of a head spin.

Weight loss surgery is an amazing opportunity. You just have to fully embrace all it can offer. And don't be afraid to ask for help from a dietician or therapist along the way.

All the best what ever you choose.

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