On March 17, 2021, I joined what is called in the weight loss surgery world, the “losers bench,” by having Vertical Sleeve Gastronomy weight loss surgery. After years of battling with my weight and starting the process for surgery in August 2020, March 17, 2021, is the day I received my tool. Weight loss surgery is not a cure-all; it is a tool to help guide you down a path to a healthier lifestyle. I am still responsible for putting in the work.
After surgery, I stayed one night in the hospital, and then it was home to start my journey. The first two weeks after surgery, my diet was limited to greek yogurt, applesauce, cottage cheese, and fat-free refried beans, only 2 oz per serving and 2 protein shakes daily. The first two weeks were an adjustment, dealing with pain, and sometimes it was unbearable, making sure I was getting in all of my nutrition requirements, taking meds, drinking shakes, and getting in enough water. It took all day! Mentally this was hard. I was in pain, I felt hungry, watching my family eat whatever they wanted when my diet was so limited was very hard, and sometimes I would get so frustrated.
After the first two weeks, I went back to work, developed a routine, and my diet advanced. I could have more variety, and I could blend my foods, which helped my morale. At one month post-op, I advanced to soft foods and could have crackers! You don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone!
Surgery has been a major adjustment both physically and mentally. Some days are harder than others. At a pre-op visit, the surgeon explained that he was basically taking my stomach from the size of a 32 ounce Polar Pop to the size of a shot glass. But, unfortunately, even though my stomach is smaller doesn’t mean that my brain has been rewired. I am constantly working to fight the “head hunger” that tells me I still want food when my body is telling me I’m full. I also battle with portion control and listening to my body. That means overcoming the mindset that I have to eat everything on my plate in front of me. I need to listen to my body, and it is okay to stop eating because I’m full before all of my food is gone.
At sevens weeks post-op, I’m down 31 pounds, and I feel amazing! My clothes are getting big, I have more energy, I don’t get winded doing basic everyday tasks, and I’m noticing a difference in my body. Weight loss surgery is not the easy way out; it’s a major commitment. A commitment that I’m proud of every day that is part of my journey. No one day is like the next, nor are they perfect, but I’m learning and growing.