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Join me as I share my 9-month VSG journey, in which I underwent gastric sleeve surgery and experienced extreme weight loss of 160 lbs. Let's dive into the details of my bariatric surgery experience and how it changed my life for the better.
NOTE: This is my own experience; I am not a doctor and this should in no way be taken as medical advice. You should talk to your own physician and get counsel before making any decisions on what works best for you.
Like many women, I've faced challenges with weight loss throughout my life. I tried various diets, exercise plans, and even weight loss supplements, but nothing seemed to bring lasting results. I felt stuck, overwhelmed, and frustrated – until I discovered the world of bariatric surgery and decided to embark on my VSG journey.
I never intended to discuss my personal struggle with weight. However, many people have asked me about it and shared their own stories of hardship; so I felt compelled to share what I've learned on this journey toward peace through weight loss and self-care.
I have PCOS. PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and is a hormone imbalance that affects one in 10 women across the US. It can cause issues with your cycle (making you infertile), hormone imbalance fertility problems, weight gain or loss—and a million other things I won't get into right now.
I tried every diet and exercise under the sun. I’d lose weight, gain it back—it was a vicious cycle. No amount of exercise or food changes helped me long term. So I went vegan (yes, VEGAN), did strict Keto and so forth…Nothing has worked until now.
It is important to remember that surgery is not an easy way out. Losing weight and keeping it off requires determination—whether you do so on your own or with the help of something like a diet, shot or surgery.
I wrestled with whether or not to use this weight loss tool, and I'm calling it that because this is hard work and only part of a solution. You may think you're taking the easy way out by using a program like this, but you are not. It is emotionally, mentally and physically challenging. Although you may experience initial quick results, major lifestyle changes are still needed to maintain good health and weight loss.
I didn't make this choice lightly, but I'm glad that I did. My life and health have been completely restored!
After extensive research, I decided that gastric sleeve surgery was the best option for me. This bariatric surgery involves removing a portion of the stomach, leaving a smaller, sleeve-like shape. This helps reduce the amount of food you can consume, leading to significant weight loss. Before undergoing the procedure, I consulted with medical professionals, attended support groups, and educated myself on the risks and benefits of the surgery.
There are other kinds of bariatric surgery, medications and programs that might be right for you. But this is the type my doctor and I decided was best for me—so please talk to your own physician. Many things play into why one person would choose one treatment over another: health concerns, cost or even convenience
Essentially, they make your stomach smaller by removing a portion of it, which resets the hormones in your stomach.
My mother died at age 55 of rheumatoid arthritis complications, and my father had two life-threatening heart attacks. My parents weren't overweight nor did they have any health issues (no epilepsy or PCOS for instance). So the odds were stacked against me in that respect.
I want to be around for my children as long as possible.
The day of my gastric sleeve surgery finally arrived, and I was both nervous and excited. The procedure went smoothly, and I was on the road to recovery. The first few weeks after surgery were challenging as I adjusted to my new diet and lifestyle. I experienced some slight pain and discomfort, but with the support of my medical team, family, and friends, I persevered.
As I progressed through my VSG journey, I made significant changes to my diet and exercise routine. I started by consuming a liquid diet, gradually transitioning to soft foods and eventually solid foods. I learned the importance of portion control, mindful eating, and healthy food choices. I also began incorporating regular physical activity into my daily routine, starting with gentle exercises and gradually increasing intensity.
Previously I had even went vegan and tried every supplement under the sun, but nothing helped me. Then my vitamin levels were tested—they were so low! Now all of those are improved, along with other measures like BMI.
I meal planned, food tracked and weighed my food. Then I started working out on a bike—riding with my family more and walking as well. Making it a priority to get the nutrients in from protein sources, vitamins were also taken every day .
My weight loss transformation was not just about the physical changes. I also experienced emotional and mental growth throughout my VSG journey. I learned to love and accept myself, embrace my new lifestyle, and develop a positive mindset. I also discovered the power of support from others on similar journeys, joining online communities and attending support group meetings.
After 12 months of hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I achieved an incredible weight loss of 160 lbs. My life has changed dramatically – I have more energy, confidence, and overall happiness. I can now participate in activities I once thought impossible, and I am no longer held back by my weight.
Previously, my back hurt so bad, I could hardly lift myself out of the bathtub. My body was inflamed all the time, and my bras kept bruising me as they dug into my flesh every day. Finally, I said enough is enough: it's time to take back control over my life!
I've also been able to get rid of my CPAP machine altogether.
My top weight was 284 pounds, and I am 5'6″. So technically I have lost 117.8 pounds as of today (10/29/2021). But at the date of surgery when my scale said 280 lbs—I'm now down to 166!
UPDATE: I've lost 160 pounds so far. 7/2022
I have dropped to a size XS/S 2/4 from wearing a 3X to 20—22.
The results I got from using VSG are not typical. I worked hard to get those results!
My doctors estimated that I might be able to shed 83 pounds; however, they thought it was possible for me to drop more if needed. Regardless, my goal was not just dieting but healthy living—and this meant working out consistently regardless of what scale said (yep!).
Many people wonder whether they have to keep taking vitamins after their surgery. The answer is yes and no: Before my operation, I needed 20 supplements a day—but now I only need 2!
Now that I’ve lost the weight, I am taking a multi vitamin and calcium. My blood work is better than ever. My vitamin levels are all up, as well as my inflammation levels are now down.
Over the past year, I've discovered some game-changing products that have not only helped me lose weight but also maintain my weight loss journey. I started with a high-quality Protein Supplement and a Zero Carb Protein Supplement to fuel my workouts and keep me feeling full. To satisfy my sweet tooth,
I turned to my favorite Protein Bars and Clear Protein Drinks that taste incredible, unlike many other options out there. I also enjoyed More Flavored Protein Drinks (non-dairy) for a delicious and nutritious alternative.
To ensure I was getting all the essential nutrients, I incorporated the BEST vitamins that contain everything you need in just one serving. My go-to breakfast choice became Low Carb Granola, and when cravings hit, I reached for Atkin Treat Bars.
To make my coffee and other beverages guilt-free, I used Skinny Drink Mixes (don't forget to use code AMAZINGSTEALZ10 for a discount!). Lastly, Zero Sugar Jerky became my favorite high-protein snack to keep me going throughout the day.
These products have truly transformed my weight loss journey and have made maintaining my progress enjoyable and sustainable.
Yes, I have loose skin. No, it doesn't bother me at all. Because I've gained my health back—and that's most important!
I am not sure if I will have a tummy tuck, as I will reassess my feelings about it two years after the surgery has taken place.
Utilizing the right tools, such as a Food Scale, Apple Watch, and more, has greatly contributed to keeping me on track with my fitness goals.
Food Scale – Click HERE to check out the one I use to accurately measure my food portions. Though I personally use a Peloton, I've found a more affordable option for cycling. <– Click to explore this budget-friendly alternative. Another favorite is my Apple Watch <—Click to see how I use it to monitor my steps and heart rate, ensuring I stay active and focused on my health journey.
Initially, your stomach is roughly the size of an egg, which means you can't eat much. At first, I weighed everything I consumed to understand my limits and tracked my intake. Now, I don't need to do that. I can eat about 0.5 to 1 oz, and sometimes even 2-4 oz, depending on how my body feels – I always listen to it!
Remember, everyone's journey is different, so don't compare yours to someone else's.
I use a scale to monitor my weight, BMI, water, bone mass, etc.
WIFI SMART SCALE – CLICK HERE
Consuming too much sugar makes me feel sick (this is called dumping syndrome), so I limit my intake to no more than 15 grams per day, usually even less.
I aim for 60-80 grams of protein daily. Eating too quickly can cause discomfort, so I eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
I've shifted my mindset to view food as fuel rather than a source of enjoyment. I've worked on improving my relationship with food and no longer use it as an emotional support system.
Additionally, I've chosen to stop drinking alcohol, although some people reintroduce it after surgery.
I was discharged the following day. Getting up and moving around helped me heal faster. I focused on walking as much as possible. I experienced mild pain for about three days and took pain medication at night to sleep and heal, but I stayed active during the day. I didn't push myself too hard, ensuring I had a balance between movement and rest.
The only significant pain I experienced resulted from the gas used to expand my stomach during surgery. Moving around helped alleviate this discomfort. The incisions didn't bother me personally. If you've had a c-section, you'll understand the gas-related pain.
I'm fortunate to have a partner who supports me in everything I do. I also had two close friends who underwent the surgery previously and were available to answer my questions. It's essential to have a strong support system around you.
I created these meal plans as guides, but they aren't meant for everyone to follow. Always do what works best for your body – these are just examples based on my experience.
Initially, the mental challenges were quite daunting, as I had to stick to liquids for the first few weeks and couldn't be around my family while they cooked or ate (personally speaking). I also became acutely aware of how food was omnipresent in my life, from TV shows to books and magazines. I realized the importance of having the right support system to succeed with this weight loss tool.
At first, I couldn't believe that I had already lost 100 pounds. Now even saying I've lost 160 seems like a faraway dream—but it's something my new lifestyle makes possible! But with extreme weight loss can also come with body dysmorphia, so please talk to a therapist if you face this.
Our lives revolved around dining out and making dinner plans with friends, so I had to shift my mindset about what I found enjoyable. For instance, I started suggesting alternative activities like going to an escape room instead of a restaurant.
This change in perspective helped me stay on track and maintain my progress.
VSG gastric bypass is a surgical weight loss procedure that involves removing a significant portion of the stomach to create a smaller, sleeve-like structure. This reduces the stomach's capacity, limiting food intake and promoting weight loss.
VSG gastric bypass surgery works by reducing the stomach's size, which in turn restricts the amount of food a person can consume. This leads to a lower calorie intake, resulting in weight loss over time.
Candidates for VSG gastric bypass surgery typically have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. A thorough evaluation by a medical professional is required to determine eligibility.
As with any surgery, VSG gastric bypass carries some risks, including infection, bleeding, blood clots, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Specific complications related to the procedure may include leakage from the stomach, stomach stricture, or nutritional deficiencies.
Weight loss varies for each individual, but on average, patients can expect to lose 60-70% of their excess body weight within 12-18 months following the surgery. Long-term success depends on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and adhering to dietary guidelines.
Recovery from VSG gastric bypass surgery typically involves a gradual transition from a liquid diet to soft foods and eventually solid foods. Patients may experience pain, swelling, and fatigue for the first few days, but most can return to work and normal activities within 2-4 weeks.
Yes, following a specific diet is crucial for successful weight loss and maintaining optimal health after VSG gastric bypass surgery. This includes consuming smaller, nutrient-dense meals, staying well-hydrated, and avoiding high-sugar, high-fat, and calorie-dense foods.
Due to the reduced stomach size and potential for nutrient malabsorption, patients may need to take vitamins and supplements after VSG gastric bypass surgery. A healthcare professional will provide personalized recommendations based on individual needs.
While VSG gastric bypass surgery is an effective weight loss tool, it is possible to regain weight if healthy lifestyle habits are not maintained. Long-term success requires a commitment to proper nutrition, regular exercise, and ongoing support from healthcare professionals.
The cost of VSG gastric bypass surgery varies depending on factors such as location, surgeon, and facility fees. In the United States, the average cost ranges from $15,000 to $25,000. Many insurance providers cover the procedure for eligible candidates, but it's essential to check with your specific provider for coverage details.
If you’re curious about my weight loss journey and want to see some of the videos I made throughout it all, here are links: https://vm.tiktok.com/TTPdYUFum3/.
I wish I had had the surgery sooner, but there was a reason why it happened right when it did.
My VSG journey and weight loss transformation have been life-changing, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story with other women facing similar struggles. If you're considering bariatric surgery or seeking inspiration for your own weight loss journey, I hope my story can provide motivation and encouragement. Remember, it's never too late to make a change and transform your life for the better.
If you'd like to learn more about my journey or connect with others on similar paths, consider signing up for our newsletter or leaving a comment below. We'd love to hear about your experiences, challenges, and successes in your own weight loss transformation.