Today is the six month anniversary of my Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve) procedure. The last six months have been whirlwind, and it almost feels like it never happened. I am doing well, can eat pretty much everything again and have had no incidents or pain. I have lost 27 kilos, my BMI has reduced by 10 points, and my eating habits (both size and quality) have changed for the better. So far, it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.
Some questions you may have (or at least “questions my friends have”):
Are you happy with the amount of weight you’ve lost?
Yes and No. Yes, because there’s no way in hell I would have lost this amount of weight without the surgery, and because I’ve been losing at a good amount and haven’t got much saggy skin etc. But I also thought I’d lose faster than I have – I hear stories about people who lose 40 kilos in their first 6 months, and I wanted to be one of those people (at least before the reality of saggy skin set in). I think with my PCOS and the fact that I haven’t been on a strict diet or exercise regime, I’m doing pretty darn good!
How has your life changed since the surgery?
It hasn’t all that much. Apart from people telling me I look great (thanks guys!), I don’t really feel like my life is inconvenienced by the surgery at all.
What food do you miss the most?
Burgers. I miss holding burger with two hands and shoving it in my face. Sounds gross, right? But a good burger was one of my favourite things. I can still eat sliders, and could “share” a burger with someone – only they would get about 5/6th of it – but it’s not the same. Also, I try not to order burgers because of the amount of carbs (ie bread), and will instead opt for more protein filled foods, so I am not wasting stomach space.
How difficult is it for you to go out to eat with meals being so large?
It really depends on the restaurant. Last night I went out to dinner with four girlfriends, and we ordered five entrees and four mains – I got to try a little of all of the entrees and just sat out the main course. Usually I will order an entrée and ask for it to come out with the mains and just offer whatever is left for my friends to fight over. If I got to a restaurant that I know does ‘doggy bags’ and I am going straight home afterwards, I will order a main and ask for the rest to take-away.
My recent trip to the US proved rather difficult as their serving sizes are huge and I frequently ended up giving the rest of my meals to my family, or just straight up wasting the food.
My biggest issue with dining out these days is overeating. When I am at home or at work, I have small bowls, so I know exactly what my portion size is – however, when a restaurant gives you a huge plate full of food, it’s hard to gage how much you can fit in, and I frequently eat too much and end up quite full. I have considered taking my bowls to restaurants with me, but so far I have put it off cos I feel like I’d be a bit of a weirdo to on-lookers.
What did you eat today?
Well, I wrote a post about this a couple of weeks ago – but today I ate:
- Yoghurt with chia seeds
- Steak, quinoa, spinach and freeze dried pomegranate seeds
- Almonds, goji berries and dark chocolate
- 2 x wedge Laughing Cow cheese
- Quinoa, cucumber, tomato and spinach salad (I had some left over, so it’s going in dinner too)
- Plus two cups of tea
Plus I took:
- 2 x Vitamin D supplement
- 2 x Liver Detox tablets
- 1 x Magnesium supplement
- 1 x Krill Oil tablet
- 1 x Multi-Vitamin tablet
Has your water in-take improved?
Sadly, no. I’m still not drinking enough water. I have good days and bad days, but most days I am lucky to reach 1 litre. I’ve started having warm lemon water in the mornings, which I’m finding is great for adding an extra 300ml or so to my daily intake, and using a smaller glass means I refill it more often – but I still don’t have the compulsion to drink. I don’t really get thirsty very often, so now the only time I really want to drink is when I am exercising. Unfortunately the “drink lots of water” thing is still a work in progress, which is annoying because I know it’s stalling my weight loss.
Do you have scars?
The scars are still on my stomach, but they’ve faded to a pinkish purple – they were previously an angry red. I hardly notice them at all, and the smaller ones are barely visible at all.
Have you had to buy new clothes yet?
I have bought some new clothes (mainly on my trip to the US last month), and I’ve gone down a bra size. Mostly I am still wearing the same clothes, just with belts to make them look more fitted. Thank god for being a dress-nerd! I haven’t lost a huge amount of weight around my stomach, but have lost it in my upper body, so my dresses still fit around the middle, but tend to swim around my neckline – my bra shows far too much these days!
How are your energy levels with your reduced food intake?
Yes. Well, it depends on the day. I have days where I wake up and do a million things before it gets to 2pm and I realise I haven’t eaten, and I usually realise because I feel like I am going to faint – which would have happened well before 2pm before my surgery. But then there are other days where I eat all day, and I will do a bit of cleaning in the evening and be exhausted – it’s quite random really. I try my best to be prepared if I know I’ll be doing anything to exert myself. A friend and I went to pick up some furniture last weekend and then she suggested we go shopping, I said yes but I had to get some protein first – so I had a chicken skewer from a Turkish place in the food court. I also keep protein bars in my handbag – I had to use these quite a few times on my recent travels where I went for long periods without eating and then all of a sudden got the shakes.
What kind of exercise are you doing?
I do mainly walking and weights, and am starting to get in to Yoga. I walk around my suburb, or will go around the lake with friends, but I try and get in a walk from work to the shops at lunch time if I can’t do a longer walk. I have dumbbells that I used to do bicep curls etc in my bedroom, when I remember – I’m starting to get excess flab under my arms, so will pick up the dumbbells more often now so I can tone up. I really like Yoga, but am quite self-conscious of going to classes (and it’s expensive), so I am working on setting up a little area at home to do some freestyle with dvds and books as my guide.
Do you still see your surgeon and dietician?
I saw my surgeon five weeks after my surgery, just for him to check there were no complications – and that’s it. The beauty of having the gastric sleeve, as opposed to the band, is that once you’ve gotten past the stage where leakages could happen, there’s no further follow up needed. I have the option of seeing him for up to a year out of surgery as part of the price of the surgery, and then can pay to see him after the year is up – but *touch wood* I don’t expect that I’ll need to.