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I Am Not Really Seeing The Weight Loss I Was Expecting



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Greetings,

So I finally had my sleeve surgery 3 weeks ago and while there has been weight loss, it hasn't really been what I expected.

I don't have unrealistic expectations, but I expected to lose more weight than if I just did it on my own without the surgery with little calorie intake and some activity like with doing Optifast prior. Or just eating healthy and going for a walk everyday - which I wasn't doing prior.

Perhaps it takes a month to really get things going, but I am hardly really eating anything when compared to the 4,000 calories+ a day I was eating that got me this way. I do eat a Breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I am not starving myself - but I am not yet in the solid food phase yet.

I have sort of reprogrammed my brain and I am not really craving the things now that made me obese. Now granted I know I JUST had the surgery and don't know how things will be 4 months from now, but I am just sort of wondering in the back of my mind if the surgery was really necessary in the sense that I maybe could have lost the same amount of weight if I finally just stuck to living a better life when it comes to food and my health.

I would appreciate any feedback or advice from anyone else where weight loss started a bit slow even with having a smaller stomach now or feedback in general.

Thanks!

HM

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Posted (edited)

What were you expecting to lose? If you're looking for 30+ lbs the first month, that's pretty rare unless you're the size of someone on "My 600 lb Life". For most of us "average" WLS patients, that much loss the first month is pretty unusual. Most of us lose somewhere in the 15-25 lb range. Plus most people don't lose much the first week because of the "gain" from the IV fluids you get in the hospital (which of course is just water) - and then there's the infamous "three-week stall" that many of us experience, where you can go a couple of weeks (usually 1-3) without any loss, because your body is kind of recalibrating after the surgery - so you may be experiencing that as well.

you're not going to lose the weight any faster than if you ate the same thing without surgery. With the extreme calorie deficit we have the first few months out, you'd probably lose about the same regardless if you had surgery or not. The difference is, it's much more easy to sustain that deficit with the surgery. Most people probably could not go for months on end eating something like 800 calories. But with the surgery, you can. Your hunger is suppressed, your stomach is tiny, etc. The most I could ever lose before surgery was about 50-60 lbs. With this, I lost over 200, and have kept it off for eight years. No way could I have done that without the surgery.

Edited by catwoman7

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Posted (edited)

50 minutes ago, catwoman7 said:

What were you expecting to lose? If you're looking for 30+ lbs the first month, that's pretty rare unless you're the size of someone on "My 600 lb Life". For most of us "average" WLS patients, that much loss the first month is pretty unusual. Most of us lose somewhere in the 15-25 lb range. Plus most people don't lose much the first week because of the "gain" from the IV fluids you get in the hospital (which of course is just water) - and then there's the infamous "three-week stall" that many of us experience, where you can go a couple of weeks (usually 1-3) without any loss, because your body is kind of recalibrating after the surgery - so you may be experiencing that as well.

you're not going to lose the weight any faster than if you ate the same thing without surgery. With the extreme calorie deficit we have the first few months out, you'd probably lose about the same regardless if you had surgery or not. The difference is, it's much more easy to sustain that deficit with the surgery. Most people probably could not go for months on end eating something like 800 calories. But with the surgery, you can. Your hunger is suppressed, your stomach is tiny, etc. The most I could ever lose before surgery was about 50-60 lbs. With this, I lost over 200, and have kept it off for eight years. No way could I have done that without the surgery.

Thanks for responding.

I was 425 at my biggest. I am now just under 390, but most of that weight loss was from the 4 weeks of Optifast. Not the 3 weeks now after the surgery.

When it is all said and done, I am looking to be 210/220 max which is the weight I was prior to gaining the weight. I haven't been overweight all my life, but I have been for a good 10+ years now. I am an emotional eater. Eat my stress away as opposed to say drinking or smoking when it comes to other dealing with life vices.

I remember one time I lost about 20 pounds in two weeks when I did the Keto diet and joined a gym. Yes, I know that much of that is Water weight and that rapid weight loss wouldn't continue as well as the fact that I didn't stick with it, but these are just questions that are popping into my curious head now - will I pretty much lose the same amount of weight monthly if I just stuck to a more traditional way of losing weight.

I know it is a journey and tool for long term. I guess I am thinking how am I not losing more weight from just a calories point of view of just Soups and other liquids in small amounts as I am not in the solid foods yet phase.

I am also just thinking outloud here and just wanted to see what other people had to say when it came to weight loss just after surgery.

Thanks

HM

Edited by Hey Man

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Posted (edited)

People who go on a serious pre-op diet often don't have the big whoosh of weight loss in the first few months that others do because your body has already cleared out a lot of the Water weight, stored carbohydrates, and sick muscle cells that makes up a big chunk of that whoosh. Once you get to a more steady state of weight loss, most (more than half) of what you are loosing will be fat.

Yes, it's a journey and yes, the surgery is a only tool that helps you have success in the long term. You won't lose weight much faster than you would with a traditional diet. But imagine you lose "only" 10 lbs a month for the next year and a half - that's 180 lbs lost, which will put you at your goal weight of 210. Without the surgery, you'd likely fall off the wagon after 3 months, 6 months because you'd be starving. Instead, you'll actually be able to stick to that diet. How many diets did you start in your life where the start of that diet was more than 18 months ago? Imagine if one of those had actually worked. You'd already be at your goal weight now. But you're not, because it was too hard to stick to it. Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you stick with it.

Bariatric surgery isn't a quick fix, and it doesn't mean you don't have to work pretty much just as hard as you would with a regular diet. It just makes it so all that work actually "works."

Edited by rjan

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One thing you can try is tracking calories. Find a BMR calculator online and determine your current calorie requirement. Then use a calorie log for everything you eat in a day. You should be able to determine from this your daily calorie deficit. This should give you a good idea of how much weight you could possibly be losing in a week. It is going to vary depending on stalls, Water weight, etc.. 3500 calories is 1 pound. So if your deficit is 500 cal per day, you would lose 1 pound a week. I’m sure it’s more than that but that’s a nice round number to see the math.

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35 minutes ago, rjan said:

People who go on a serious pre-op diet often don't have the big whoosh of weight loss in the first few months that others do because your body has already cleared out a lot of the Water weight, stored carbohydrates, and sick muscle cells that makes up a big chunk of that whoosh. Once you get to a more steady state of weight loss, most (more than half) of what you are loosing will be fat.

Yes, it's a journey and yes, the surgery is a only tool that helps you have success in the long term. You won't lose weight much faster than you would with a traditional diet. But imagine you lose "only" 10 lbs a month for the next year and a half - that's 180 lbs lost, which will put you at your goal weight of 210. Without the surgery, you'd likely fall off the wagon after 3 months, 6 months because you'd be starving. Instead, you'll actually be able to stick to that diet. How many diets did you start in your life where the start of that diet was more than 18 months ago? Imagine if one of those had actually worked. You'd already be at your goal weight now. But you're not, because it was too hard to stick to it. Bariatric surgery is a tool to help you stick with it.

Bariatric surgery isn't a quick fix, and it doesn't mean you don't have to work pretty much just as hard as you would with a regular diet. It just makes it so all that work actually "works."

I was under the impression everyone has to do Optifast or something similar to reduce liver size prior to surgery, but maybe that is more of a Canadian requirement vs. what bariatric surgeons require in the US for patients - as I am Canadian.

So yes, I was sort of expecting that whoosh of weight loss at least temporarily following the surgery. I do also think there is a little bit of hype of weight loss made by the bariatric program I was in as they do want to get paid to do the procedure ultimately.

Yes, I concede that getting the surgery will help keep me on track long term, but I didn't think the weight loss would be the equivalent of the weight loss of someone who sticks to a diet and exercises everyday - the 1 or 2+ pounds a week, so maybe my expectations were off there.

However I think that is a reasonable expectation nonetheless because my stomach is much smaller than a normal person - so I can't consume what a regular person would daily anyway when it comes to calories or portion size.

Of course the before and after photos of many people online can be quite shocking even from 6 months to a year, so of course one hopes for similar results. Or like that actor Billy Gardell - but yes, I know he can afford chefs and other things to keep him on track.

Again, I am just thinking outloud here. Maybe my entire view will change in a couple of months. I think you kind of nailed it - I was expecting a whoosh of initial weight loss.

Thanks,

HM

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Posted (edited)

Sorry... I realize I read wrong. I thought this was a revision surgery. But you were quoting someone else in your earlier posts.

Edited by losinglosinglosing

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5 minutes ago, losinglosinglosing said:

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but according to your activity history, you had surgery in 2016. Is this a second surgery, a revision or conversion?

Does it really say that? I went through the program once before, but at the time decided it was not right for me and bailed. Got back on the horse and did it 3 weeks ago.

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1 hour ago, rjan said:

How many diets did you start in your life where the start of that diet was more than 18 months ago?

That's got to be one of the best answers I've heard yet.

I have been on a bazillion diets in my lifetime and never stuck them out for that long. Except for intermittent fasting for 2 yrs. and added strict Keto the second and only lost 40 pounds. That was when I decided to get the surgery but it did keep me from becoming a full on diabetic.

1 hour ago, rjan said:

It just makes it so all that work actually "works."

And this ^^^^^ I can stick with it if it I'm seeing results. It only stands to reason we will quit if we don't.

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OP we all second guess and over-analyse immediately after our surgery. If you stick to your plan you WILL lose weight. Significant amounts of weight. You cannot not do that. However - you will NOT lose weight in a linear fashion. There will be many weeks (or even the occasional month) where you will lose virtually nothing despite knocking your socks off. What matters is that in the long term (18 months or so) if you do what you are asked to to use your sleeve to the max then you will lose LOADS! Welcome to your journey - it's quite the ride for lots of us!

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I've lost 20 since surgery (4 weeks) and 15 lbs during the preop diet for a total of 35 pounds. That's about what you lost, right? I stalled around 2.5 weeks in that lasted well over a week. Hang in there. It will come off. And like someone said, make sure you're tracking everything, and I'll go farther and say, before you ever eat it. What if you focused on some nonscale victories. For me it was a smaller size piece of clothing or getting my shoes on without huffing and puffing. Just today, I put on a shirt that didn't fit prior to surgery. Your body is doing a lot of behind the scenes work that may not be reflected on the scale.< br>This is not an easy process, and you don't have to do it alone.

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Great advice from the others above.

Yes there are many advantages the survey affords you. The other bonus of the surgery, which I think is most valuable, is the time & opportunity it gives you to change the way you eat. You introduce healthier, more nutritious foods. You discover healthier ways to cook food, better alternatives to old favourites, new flavours, portion sizes, nutrient content of foods, etc. You change your relationship with food, better understand how you ate & why you ate & better manage those impulses. (You can do this alone or do it with the support of therapy.) You understand more about what your body needs you to eat to function effectively versus what you just want to eat. You’ll learn what your body needs will likely be different to what someone else needs. And that there’s no one right way to eat. There’s only the right way for you.

Don’t know about you, but no other diet I was ever on gave me this opportunity & I’ve been on a lot of different ones over the years. I saw a diet as being restricted or being punished. As soon as the diet finished I went back to eating the same way as I did before. I didn’t learn a single thing in all those years of dieting. Since my surgery I’ve made quite a few changes to my eating but I don’t think I’m on a never ending diet to maintain my weight. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. This is just how I eat. It’s a change of how I think about & look at food & eating. And yes, I still enjoy food & the flavours, textures, etc.

I’m very grateful for all I’ve learnt & discovered since my surgery.

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I barely lost in the first two weeks post surgery and promptly stalled at the end of week 2, where I proceeded to stall frequently throughout the entire first year. My rate of weight loss post surgery was the same as my rate of loss doing calorie counting pre-surgery. I never had the big-loss-numbers some others have. But it still worked, I reached goal at around month 13/14. Despite not losing fast, it worked. It's done what I needed it to do, it stopped me self-sabotaging and continues to be the adult in the room when it comes to me and food. Losing slowly and steadily is ok! So long as you stick to the plan, the weight comes off.

If you're an emotional eater, get yourself a bariatric therapist who can help because the primary thing this surgery does is help with Portion Control. Everything else is down to us, the calorie counting, the staying on plan, and getting on top of any mental issues that have contributed to obesity and may cause trouble down the line.

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I've lost a similar weight to you in roughly the same time span. I did lose more post op than pre op though, 7kgs vs 10kgs. In the infamous 3 week stall now. Plus I'm backed up and working on fixing that issue. Taking a break from the scales. You need to be patient. This isn't the 100 metre sprint, it's an ultra marathon. If you do a bit of googling you'll see that the first 6 weeks isn't a time to expect anything much. You're body is adjusting to its new way of life. Hang in there, I'd anticipate you'll have weeks of great losses given you're starting a bit higher. It will come off nice and steady. Join our May Surgery thread, we're all there for each other.

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On 6/1/2023 at 4:17 PM, Hey Man said:

I don't have unrealistic expectations, but I expected to lose more weight than if I just did it on my own without the surgery with little calorie intake and some activity like with doing Optifast prior. Or just eating healthy and going for a walk everyday - which I wasn't doing prior.

Hm.

Those are unrealistic expectations.

Surgery is no magic procedure that makes your TDEE 2000 kcal higher than it used to be.

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