Weight loss surgery is a big decision. It’s not a fad diet, but a lifestyle change. I have been on a roller coaster for the past 20 years, and I finally got off when I made the decision to have Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery. It’s not a fad diet, but a Lifestyle Change. This is the start of my journey.
I’m 5’4″ tall so the healthy weight range for my height is 114-152 pounds, with 133 pounds as the “ideal” weight. I remember being 132 pounds when I was eleven. When I was sixteen, I weighed 148 pounds. At that time, I was told that I needed to lose weight. Looking back at pictures of myself, I can say that I definitely did not need to lose weight. What I needed was to learn how to maintain my weight and live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, I learned instead how to cheat the weight watchers system. I didn’t learn about macronutrients. I didn’t learn what foods could help sustain me, and which would leave me feeling empty.
Thus began the roller coaster. I can say with absolute confidence that I haven’t ever been 148 pounds since I was sixteen.
The Roller Coaster
When I was in my early twenties, I was living at my parents’ house after graduating college. I could eat dinner with them, or I could go out with friends. There was a gym at work, so I hit it every single day at lunch. I had nothing tying me down, no time restrictions. All I had to do was go to work. At that time, I was able to get my weight back down to about 174 after hovering around 200 throughout college.
After I met my now husband, things started to go south again. Or rise again…However you want to look at it, I guess. We got comfortable. I stopped going to the gym as often. We started going out to dinner a lot and ordering takeout a lot. So when we got married in 2010, I was right at about 205 pounds. Trust me, this was source of great heartburn for me. I had convinced myself that I was going to lose weight before the wedding. So much so, I even had the bridal shop order a dress a size too small (it zipped, but barely) because I *knew* I was going to lose the weight. Unfortunately, I didn’t put in the time or the effort, so I didn’t lose a single pound, and they ended up having to let out the seams.
After that, things just kept getting worse. I would go through phases of diets and exercise, but I never stuck to anything. I heard about other people having the surgery, but I always said, “oh that’s not for me.” It just wasn’t on my radar.
In the summer of 2019, I was about 260 pounds. I decided that I was going to try the Optifast liquid diet that was monitored by Marian Hospital. I stuck with it for about two months, until I fell off the wagon again. Once I hit that 20 pound loss mark, I started on my old habits again. Prior to starting this program, my husband and I talked about surgery. We decided that I would go this route first. We wanted to see if I could make progress on a less invasive program first. Obviously, it just didn’t work for me.
The last stop
In September-ish of 2019, I decided it was time to get off the roller coaster and pursue the surgery. My Primary Care Physician recommended it at my annual physical. While I was overweight, I had no other issues (no high cholesterol, no diabetes, etc), but we decided this was the best course for me. After an initial meeting with the surgeon, he suggested a Rou-ex-Y rather than a Gastric Sleeve. My insurance required me to do quite a bit of legwork prior to approving the surgery. I had to see a nutritionist for 6 visits (1 visit a month for 6 months), I had to go to 2 psych evaluations, 2 group sessions, endoscopy, and all kinds of blood work. By the time I had everything completed and my insurance had approved the surgery, all elective surgeries were on hold due to COVID-19.
On June 1, I got a call from the doctor’s office, confirming that my surgery date was set for June 16, 2020. I couldn’t believe it! It was finally happening! I was told to follow the 2-week pre-surgery diet, and when and where to report on the morning of my surgery. I was so excited, but I couldn’t help thinking – was I doing the right thing? Yes. Yes, I was. This was going to be the best thing for me. It’s not the easy way out. It’s a lifestyle change. And it’s a life changer.
On that day that I got the call confirming my surgery, I weighed in at 302 pounds. That’s the highest I’ve ever been in my life. I wasn’t even that heavy when I was pregnant! Because I’ve always been muscular, I always said that I carried my weight well and that you couldn’t tell how heavy I was, but I know I was fooling myself.
I did it!
During the 2 week pre-surgery diet, I was able to lose 10 pounds. After a successful Roux-en-Y surgery, I lost 13 pounds in the first week, and 6 pounds in the second week. I now know for sure that I’ve made the right decision. It wasn’t an easy surgery. There was the hospital stay, the struggle to keep water down, an allergic reaction to the surgical glue, and recovery during COVID Social Distancing with 2 kids under the age of 4 at home. Yes, I’m still mainly on liquids and purees. And yes, it will be a long time before I can “eat normally”. But if this is what it takes to be the healthiest person I can be for me and for my family, then so be it.
I’m excited to be on a new journey. And I’m happy you’re coming with me!
I am not a doctor or a dietitian. The information I provide is based on my personal experience. Any recommendations I may make about nutrition, supplements, lifestyle, or fitness, or information provided to you on this website should be discussed between you and your doctor. The information on this site does not take the place of professional medical advice.