What am I expecting after weight loss surgery
Many patients may think they will come out of surgery looking different. At least this is what I thought. I weighed myself everyday during the liquid diet period. I had lost 20 pounds in 14 days just on the liquid diet. The liquid diet was the toughest part prior to surgery.
Mentally one’s expectations of weight loss could be unrealistic. I assumed my appearance would change immediately. Bariatric surgery does not guarantee immediate or long-term weight loss or image change. Like anything else in life all good things come to those that work hard and are patient. Post surgery I had lost another 20 pounds. I was down 40 pounds in about a months time. The weight was peeling off. So, it seemed.
Undergoing bariatric surgery is one thing; we are giving up a large part of our stomach and some may be rerouting their insides. The bariatric surgery is traumatic mentally and physically. Today, I am going to write about the traumatic body experience. How my body and mind morphed into the person I am today.
My Post Bariatric Experience
When people discovered I had gone through weight loss surgery, I was approached with negative stories on how they had family members who went through the surgery and gained all their weight two fold and how some went back for a revision on their stomachs. I was unaware that this was even possible. But what affected me the most was the lack of success in their weight loss journey and left me feeling like I was going to fail.
Recouping from the surgery took a toll on my body and energy. At the beginning of the journey I barely ate because my insides were so swollen and everything I put in my mouth hurt. This effect has now become a mindset; that food equaled pain plus the negative weight loss surgery stories affected me in such a way that I barely ate due to fear of gaining weight.
Weeks had passed and with each day that was passing I was losing weight, a lot of weight, but with losing so fast there are consequence. I was losing my hair and my skin was not looking healthy. Also, my gallbladder gave out and required another surgery. Another traumatic surgery equals more weight loss and losing more hair.
Saving Grace – The Support Group
In December I had told my husband I needed to attend a support group as I felt very lost and lonely in this journey. Many things were happening to me and I had no clue why or if I was the only person going through these motions of change.
Attending the meeting helped tremendously. I learned I was not the only person going through all these internal and exterior changes. The last time I had attended a meeting was right after surgery. I had lost weight but it was not noticeable. Returning to the meeting four months later there was a drastic change in my appearance. I had lost almost 90 pounds at that time. I am tall and I look thinner than what I actually weigh.
Many people approached me and asked me how I got so thin. I was a little taken because in my mind I still saw myself fat. Yes, fat. One lady could not believe I was so thin after four months. I really didn’t know what to say other then thank you and smile.
I left the meeting satisfied with the answers I was looking for to help me understand how to fix my issues. But one comment sat heavy in my mind: “How did I get so thin?”
Oblivious to eating habits
Being thin was never an expectation of mine as I thought I would fail the weight loss surgery, like many other diets I had done and never completed. I have not wrapped the weight loss around my head and that my body had changed. This is psychological for me and am trying to overcome that I am not fat. I say fat because I was fat, I was morbidly obese and am saddened that I had let myself go to the extent of breaking a scale and not taking action when that occurred to me.
I had no expectations of how or what to look like. I did not know how fast my weight was going to come off. All I knew was that my life was about to change and that I was going to be able to control food intake better. I am/was a binge eater. I would come home at night from working all day and not eating. I would then eat all night.
Current state in time, I went from being a binge eater to a person who is afraid to eat. Who is afraid to eat? I am trying to wrap my head around this fear. I eat for necessary nutritional needs and health requirements. I had been oblivious up until the support meeting that I had not been eating much of anything. I was lucky if I hit the protein requirements to stay healthy. A whole new can of worms open up for me. Anorexia. Do I have this? Am I heading in this direction? I went home and jumped on my fitness pal and began documenting everything I would put in my mouth. Found out I was eating a whole lot of nothing.
Eating is a daily battle for me. My mind and body tell me “Hey You Have To Eat!” I will eat but I only average eating half of the cup of food I prepare. Remember? Food = Pain in my mind and stomach. I don’t have anorexia but this does weigh heavy on my mind at all time. I work on being conscience of when my stomach nudges me to eat.
Mind over Matter
Food continues to equal pain but I have to make sure I eat to stay healthy. I am also an apprentice personal trainer and implement various types of weight training and strength training. I exercise a minimum of 5 days a week, switching out the workouts so my body stays confused and continues to burn fat and lose weight while toning at the same time. Working out is my serenity and keeps me focused, but I have to remember that I need to eat properly in order to have the strength to workout and train.
Nutrition awareness is key for me in order to stay healthy. Overcoming the bad experiences of the negative stories of bariatric weight loss failures. Understanding that negative stories should not affect my thinking or define my weight loss journey or success. I am not those strangers and they are not me. Nonetheless, I am human and this journey is emotional and wonderful all at the same time; I am the one that determines my destiny.
I don’t consider myself thin; I am at a normal weight. I still have 15 pounds to lose in a course of six months to meet the doctors new orders. I watch what I eat but I am no saint, I have the modified latte (A no! no! on drinking your calories). I don’t deprive myself of a taste. This helps with cravings and helps me feel somewhat normal in my own mind.
Is this weight loss journey about being Skinny?
This journey began about me becoming skinny as I was tired of being morbidly obese. My mindset all changed two weeks post surgery. I no longer thought about this journey as becoming skinny, it was about learning to live again and not treat eating as a luxury or entertainment. Not being able to eat out was mentally difficult but wasting the money to eat out was more painful. Today my weight loss journey is about becoming fit and living a healthy life style. Encouraging others to become healthy in a way that would fit their lifestyles.
A weight loss journey should never be about becoming skinny. Skinny people can be unhealthy too but are genetically thin. The weight loss journey should be about good solid health, disease prevention and becoming fit.