Bariatric Success

I may have posted about this before, but here are my keys to success around bariatric surgery:

  • Do the mental work to distance food from comfort, celebration, and boredom. Work with a therapist if you need to.
  • Set up your support people. Set boundaries by telling people who love you that negativity is not allowed.
  • Set realistic expectations. Don’t pin all of your hopes on a particular goal weight. Set some goals that are NSVs, like being able to fit in a theater seat or to walk a mile or reduce your diabetes meds or play tag with your kids.
  • Recognize that this will not make you happy, it will make you smaller. Period.
  • Make changes that are sustainable for the rest if your life. This is not a “diet” like you’ve done before. It’s changing how you will eat for the rest of your life. If you aren’t committed to that, don’t start this journey. I think the only thing worse than not losing weight, is losing weight and then gaining it all back, which is a distinct possibility if you don’t change the way you eat for the long-term.
  • Everyone loses at a different pace. Don’t compare your journey to theirs. You will have stalls where you don’t lose for a while; just stick with the program.

Here’s a test: can you eat a post-op diet now, and maintain it? What I mean is, protein first, veggies second, carbs after that, at least 80 ounces of water, at least 75 g of protein. Do that for a while and see if you can maintain it. Don’t worry about the amount of calories or anything at this point, because after surgery you’ll be eating a lot less. But eat in that way and see if you can be satisfied in the long term. Develop new habits. Then, and only then, are you really ready for this journey. I started the journey, changing my eating, but didn’t have the surgery for almost a year because that’s when I was mentally ready.

Progress at 17 days

Still have a drain. Off all pain meds except occasional Tylenol (like at night). Weight is around 196. Still super swollen. Fairly uncomfortable due to the swelling and drain, and itchy at the incision sites. Nipples are super sensitive, although better every day.

Journey

Interesting journey…

HW: 320

SW: 281 (sleeve 6/7/21)

Got down to about 207 and pretty much stopped losing. I decided I was ok with my body even at that size so decided to look into plastics, especially since my huge belly overhang and mons got in the way of so much physical activity. On 11/9/22 i had an extended panniculectomy and extended maxopexy (breast and side lift) where they removed 17 lbs of skin.

9 days post-op I now weigh about 196. I’m terribly uncomfortable from the surgery and nauseous/constipated. But better every day. No idea where the next step in this journey will take me, but it’s been a wild ride!

Here are a couple of pictures: close to my high weight a few years ago, and at my wedding a few weeks ago.

Here is my drivers license picture versus Halloween this year.

Happier?

Today Rio said I seemed happier since losing weight. I had to think about that.

The fact of losing weight, by itself, is not making me happier. I don’t care about weight, and know that being thin does not equal being happy. But she’s right, I am happier. Well, perhaps not “happier”, but less stressed.

Being super fat adds a level of stress to most activities. Just being out in public is stressful because of the amount of disapproval I’ve gotten, like stares, cat-calls, and overtly hostile comments. The medical community judged me. I was stressed about whether I could walk between two tables in a restaurant, or sit in a booth. I was stressed about chairs not holding me, and what clothes to wear because there are few cute clothes in super plus sizes. I was stressed about being seen eating in public. The list goes on and on.

And now, still fat but definitely not super-fat, I am not feeling those stressors the way I used to. So I am less stressed.

Happier? Maybe, but I don’t actually think so. I’m just less stressed.

Updates

Now regularly walk up to 2 miles at a time.

Went to my first adult haunted house last night on my feet for over an hour, lots of steps. My back is sore, but i did it!

Continuing to slowly lose: 10 pounds since June.

Plastic surgery scheduled for November 9!!

Plateau

Haven’t lost an ounce in a few weeks. In fact, I got down to 213 back up to 216, back down to 215. Hovering there. Sigh.

100 Pounds!

One year and 3 days after my surgery, 21 months after starting my journey, I hit 100 pounds lost, total.

In bariatric circles that’s pretty slow. But it’s steady, so I can’t complain too much.

Losing Weight

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about losing weight, like would I recommend it to others? As a Fat Activist, I would NEVER consider that. But as I see the other side, has my thinking changed?

A little.

I absolutely believe in dignity for everyone at every size. I also absolutely believe you can be healthy and active at any size. Nobody should feel they need to change their weight just because of being big, or really big. There’s nothing wrong with managing medical issues that might arise because you are bigger.

I would never give unsolicited advice to someone to lose weight because that’s their business. But if you are large and asked my opinion about losing weight, here it is:

In my humble opinion, these are the only reasons to try to lose weight:

  • You have health problems that are likely stemming from your size, and they are not manageable with medications or other means. For instance, my diabetes has caused some damage to my kidneys. It’s not terrible, and I can manage it, but losing weight has improved my diabetes, which in turn will protect my kidneys from getting worse.
  • You can’t move in ways you want to move.
  • You have pain in your body, like your back or your joints that is likely caused on exacerbated by your size and isn’t isn’t correctable by surgery. When I had pain in my knees, knee replacement took care of that. However, my back injury caused me severe pain every single day and there was really no operation that was likely to fix it. I was on 800mg of Ibuprofen several times a day, and that sort of kept it at bay, but not really.
  • You have serious enough mental health issues stemming from the constant abuse you face as a fat person that you just can’t deal anymore.

For anyone who thinks they want to lose weight, first start with these things:

  • Start with just eating healthier. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables (at every meal), more fish and chicken than fattier meats. Don’t “diet” – but consider changing how you eat with a goal for it being a LIFELONG change, not just until you lose 50 pounds.
  • Work on your mental health (likely with a professional) around food: decouple it from comfort, celebration, boredom.
  • Practice radical self-care:
    • Wear clothes you look good in that fit you well and are comfortable
    • Bathe enough to feel clean
    • Get massages and manicures if those are your things
    • Keep up with regular medical care (with a doctor who won’t fat-shame you) like mammograms, colonoscopies, PAP smears, yearly physicals, etc.
  • Find doctors to address any medical issues who will listen to you and treat you and not blame everything on your fat.

In other words, VALUE yourself, and see how that works for you, before you decide you need to lose weight.

If you do these things and decide you need to do more, TALK

Losing Weight

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about losing weight, like would I recommend it to others? As a Fat Activist, I would NEVER consider that. But as I see the other side, has my thinking changed?

A little.

I absolutely believe in dignity for everyone at every size. I also absolutely believe you can be healthy and active at any size. Nobody should feel they need to change their weight just because of being big, or really big. There’s nothing wrong with managing medical issues that might arise because you are bigger.

I would never give unsolicited advice to someone to lose weight because that’s their business. But if you are large and asked my opinion about losing weight, here it is:

In my humble opinion, these are the only reasons to try to lose weight:

  • You have health problems that are likely stemming from your size, and they are not manageable with medications or other means. For instance, my diabetes has caused some damage to my kidneys. It’s not terrible, and I can manage it, but losing weight has improved my diabetes, which in turn will protect my kidneys from getting worse.
  • You can’t move in ways you want to move.
  • You have pain in your body, like your back or your joints that is likely caused on exacerbated by your size and isn’t isn’t correctable by surgery. When I had pain in my knees, knee replacement took care of that. However, my back injury caused me severe pain every single day and there was really no operation that was likely to fix it. I was on 800mg of Ibuprofen several times a day, and that sort of kept it at bay, but not really.
  • You have serious enough mental health issues stemming from the constant abuse you face as a fat person that you just can’t deal anymore.

For anyone who thinks they want to lose weight, first start with these things:

  • Start with just eating healthier. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables (at every meal), more fish and chicken than fattier meats. Don’t “diet” – but consider changing how you eat with a goal for it being a LIFELONG change, not just until you lose 50 pounds.
  • Work on your mental health (likely with a professional) around food: decouple it from comfort, celebration, boredom.
  • Practice radical self-care:
    • Wear clothes you look good in that fit you well and are comfortable
    • Bathe enough to feel clean
    • Get massages and manicures if those are your things
    • Keep up with regular medical care (with a doctor who won’t fat-shame you) like mammograms, colonoscopies, PAP smears, yearly physicals, etc.
  • Find doctors to address any medical issues who will listen to you and treat you and not blame everything on your fat.

In other words, VALUE yourself, and see how that works for you, before you decide you need to lose weight.

If you do these things and decide you need to do more, TALK to me.

Creeping Along

After essentially being stalled, I’ve now lost 4 pounds in the last month. Slowly…

I am encouraged because there is a woman in my bariatric support group who has lost all the way to her goal weight 3 years ago, but said that 10 months in she stalled for 5 months, then lost 50 pounds more. Maybe that will happen to me.

Check out the timeline