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Maintainging your weight loss 3+ years post op

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Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #31198
    Lauren
    Keymaster

    Hi guys

    I often get asked how I maintain my weight loss 4.5 years post op so I thought I would share what I have learned and experienced.

    I had a full open bypass (10cm scar) and my gallbladder removed on 17 August 2008. I have lost just over 15st now and my weight can fluctuate – or + 4 lbs at any given time (being a woman that is entirely normal!)

    However, I believe the ‘secret’ to maintaining weight loss is in the preparation. By that I mean being prepared to completely change your whole relationship with food. I started this about three years before my surgery with intensive group therapy which lasted, well, three years! It gave me the time to learn and understand why I used food to self medicate for almost 20 years. I discovered that I used food to fill a hole in my soul (really cheesy but true) and to quell deep seated abandonment issues I had as a child.

    Once I knew this about ‘me’, I found it easier to forgive myself for wasting so much of my life turning to the wrong things for support. That release of guilt alone made me feel metaphorically lighter. I then realised that although I had healed mself on the iside, the outside was a job I couldn’t do on my own. That was the reason I opted for wls. I reached out to a Psychologist for the mental issues and now need help with the physical ones. Thank the heavens above for Mr Shaw Somers.

    In the initial stages post op, I followed the guidlines to the LETTER. I knew this was my last chance for a happier, healthier and longer life. I had to make it work. If the guidelines said 6 weeks of nothing but tapioca I would have done it (I HATE Tapioca!) I never tried to move forward any sooner than was recommended, I drank sips of water throughout the day and I took my supplements every night.

    When I tried a food that didn’t agree with me, I didn’t feel put out about it, I just looked for an alternative that would. I focused on all the things I COULD have rather than couldn’t. As the weight dropped off (at roughly a stone a month) I was so ecstatic that not even the finest banquet in the world could have tempted me to stray from the guidleines. As my health improved so did my resolve. By two years post op, my weight had all but stabilised, I had a regular exercise programme in place and I knew what I could and couldn’t eat.

    I think the reason I haven’t gained any back is the fact that I am still so happy to be alive (was given 3-5 years to live if I didn’t lose weight) and sharing new adventures and memories with my children, husband, family and friends that absolutely nothing could ever taste as good as that feels. Any method of weight loss requires a level of personal responsibility, however, I feel it is my ‘duty’ to keep the promise I made to Shaw Somers when he told me he would do my bypass: ‘I promise you, I will do everything you ask of me.’ I don’t break promises!

    When we are at a weight we are happy with we must try SO hard to not become complacent. I can eat chocolate, honey, a bit of cream etc…but I chose not to do it to excess anymore (my bypass would soon ‘kick it out’ anyway.) I am now ‘normal’ with food. I have a treat on special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, weddings etc but for the most part I now eat to live not live to eat. In short, my wls and therapy have made me ‘normal’ around food. It’s such a difficult thing for most people to appreciate isn’t it? The ones who have never been anything else but normal with food have no notion of how it is to be controlled by or addicted to it.

    The inital stages after wls are the most important. Follow the guidlines. Follow the guidlines – they are there to help not punish us! Trust the surgery and all the fabulous team you have around you. Don’t suffer in silence when things aren’t going well. If you gain more than 7lbs and you have no clue why, go back to basics and start again. Re train yourself but don’t EVER give up.

    For most of us it will be a lifelong battle and some of those will be lost, however, it doesn’t mean we have to lose the whole war. Reach out for help. Come here for support, phone a trusted friend, phone your team, speak to someone you trust no matter who that might be. Ask them to help you get back on track – you will be amazed how willing people are to do it!

    So, I maintain by knowing why I got super-morbidly obese in the first place, following the advice given to me by the professionals, being self-aware and recognising my weaknesses, asking for help when I need it and being so utterly grateful to still be alive.

    If any of you need support or encouragement without any judgement whatsoever, I will be here for you. For some of you wls is, like it was for me, your last chance at a healthier and happier life. It’s hard work and often highly frustrating (I love shortbread but it hates me!) but Oh my life, it’s worth it.

    Doodah x

    #48699
    Lauren
    Keymaster

    ps Sorry for the bad spelling! Got a raging toothache today – no excuse really lol!

    Doodah x

    #48709
    Whitey
    Member

    Wonderful post Doodah I don’t think you realise what an inspiration you are to us all. I can identity with lots of your story especially using food for comfort. But being 6 month post bypass and 6 stone down I have nagging doubts that I will never manage to loose all my excess weight and keep it off long term. I hope I am developing a ‘normal’ relationship with food. It’s good to hear your success story and it helps me believe I can get there too. All the team at Streamline have been great and it’s reassuring to know I have support available. Good luck with your next surgery. Elaine x

    #48700
    Lauren
    Keymaster

    Thanks Elaine. Have to admit to being a teensy bit nervous this time. There is absolutely no reason to believe that I will get an infection again but if I do, I know I can beat it.

    You saying that you have nagging doubts about being able to loose all your excess weight sounds just like me at the same stage! It’s like studying for exams isn’t it? When you start the course you think ‘I’m never going to get all this in my noggin and keep it there!’ but it CAN be done. It just requires preparation and practice – exactly like weight loss after surgery.

    Honestly, if I can do it absolutely anyone can. I’m just an ordinary person living an ordinary life, so if I managed it – so can you. The thing is to be kind to yourself. Be as kind to you as you are to everyone else. This is also the point in our lives where we need to put ourselves first. If I had a pound for every time we put ourselves at the bottom of the list of our priorities, I’d be very, very rich!

    This forum is a godsend. It’s a place where every single person can identify with each other. It’s a given that we are all having to learn how to cope with food all over again. We don’t need to explain that part or feel the need to justify ourselves. What a relief.

    Elaine, you have lost 6 stone in 6 months – exactly the same as I did. See? Stop worrying about whether or not you can do it: you already ARE! Well done that girl ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Doodah x

    #48705
    78rpm
    Member

    some great comment and I have to say inspiring too. Im only 21 months out from my op and like you I can eat some choccy but I dont do what I did before I have a weight banding from 81 to 85 kg and I change my eating habits dependant on where I am within that banding Im so happy with where I am I couldnt ever go back to the old me, Imn now saving up for the loose skin removal as I never would have believed I would have a saggy bottom lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    One of the biggest dangers for me is people saying oh you “norma” now and them expesting me to eat and drink normally when im out particually in the silly season, so Im afraid to say I do weigh my self every day almost as Im paranoid about leaving my weight banding I have set but Im happy and Im healthy so great and another thanks to Shaw for the op ๐Ÿ™‚

    rgds

    Jay

    #48701
    Lauren
    Keymaster

    ‘Normal’ – what does that even mean? If there is a definitive answer, I’d like to hear it!

    I believe that normal is on a sliding scale – much like sexuality: it is not fixed. If someone feels confident, is healthy, happy and optimistic (yet sometimes cautious) then I think that is normal. Numbers don’t really come into it. I could weigh much less and still be within the normal range but I’m happy where I am now weight-wise. There is nothing I could do any better were I lighter.

    So, Jay, in my opinion you are completely normal except maybe for the weighing yourself every day! I stopped doing that ages ago as I know when I’ve gained a little – my jeans get tighter round the waist! For us girls, our weight can fluctuate by 4lbs in a day so it’s really not worth the hassle to keep checking it. I weigh myself once a month at the same time wearing the same clothes. That’s it. If it’s more than 5lbs I cut back on things that aren’t 100% healthy and natural. It changes back to my own acceptable level within a couple of days. Therefore, if I were to really enjoy a special occasion and gain a bit, I simply eat soup for a few days and get on my exercise bike for a few minutes longer each day and hey presto – back to ‘normal’. My normal anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Doodah x

    #48706
    Thais
    Member

    I can never thank you enough for your posts Doodah, this forum has became an important part of my life where I come for inspiration and reassurance, even though than I don’t participate very often I still read all your posts, but I have to say that I envy you and you relationship with food, is exactly the kind of relation I am seeking myself but is not proving easy, even though my weight keeps coming down my relationship with food still a torment for me where all I can think is about food and where sometimes I win, but others food wins…
    Those things that you say about the origin of the problem with food; I also had identify it, but I still don’t know how to tackle it and how to make it go away from my life, as at today still a problem where food rule my world and the thing I want the most is being able to be normal, but my mind doesn’t seems to agree and everyday is a battle than this days food is winning more often than before, I am petrified of going back to that horrible morbidly obese person, I now love my life and if I don’t tell people they would never now how I was before, but even like that I’m not strong enough to say no and I can see the carbs crawling back into my diet together with sugars and treats.

    I would love to have a magic wand to be able to change me inside and make me normal, that is going to be my wish for Father Santa (never stop dreaming….)

    #48708
    Paul-H
    Participant

    Inspirational as always sue, Streamline don’t pay you enough, you can tell them I said that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Paul

    #48702
    Lauren
    Keymaster

    @Thais 26982 wrote:

    I can never thank you enough for your posts Doodah, this forum has became an important part of my life where I come for inspiration and reassurance, even though than I don’t participate very often I still read all your posts, but I have to say that I envy you and you relationship with food, is exactly the kind of relation I am seeking myself but is not proving easy, even though my weight keeps coming down my relationship with food still a torment for me where all I can think is about food and where sometimes I win, but others food wins…
    Those things that you say about the origin of the problem with food; I also had identify it, but I still don’t know how to tackle it and how to make it go away from my life, as at today still a problem where food rule my world and the thing I want the most is being able to be normal, but my mind doesn’t seems to agree and everyday is a battle than this days food is winning more often than before, I am petrified of going back to that horrible morbidly obese person, I now love my life and if I don’t tell people they would never now how I was before, but even like that I’m not strong enough to say no and I can see the carbs crawling back into my diet together with sugars and treats.

    I would love to have a magic wand to be able to change me inside and make me normal, that is going to be my wish for Father Santa (never stop dreaming….)

    You are NOT alone. If I had a pound for every time someone tells me they are struggling (including myself) I would be very well off!

    I shall tell you what I did – I would never, ever be so arrogant as to tell anyone else what they should/shouldn’t do.

    I went to my GP and asked for therapy. I had written down everything that I thought may have triggered my unhealthy obsession with food, made a copy and gave it to her, then sent one directly to a Psychologist at our Department of Psychaitry (DoP.)

    Within weeks, I was asked to go along to the DoP for an assessment. I made it quite clear that I was not looking to use therapy as a weight loss tool as I knew it wasn’t the answer. I also made it clear that I was very self-aware – in that I had some idea why I was super-morbidly obese and self medicating with food. I was also 100% honest about how I was ‘feeling’ on a day to day basis: absolutely wretched.

    I was placed on a three year group therapy course. It was the first step of my long, long journey back to better health both physically and mentally. It was tough. Really tough. I learned things about myself that everyone else could see in an instant but I was hiding from ‘me’. I remembered things I had spent years trying to forget and bury under mountains of food. Slowly, week by week, I realised that I had been trying to fill a hole in my soul with food.

    It was like lifting off a scab from a wound, then letting it heal from the inside out – as it is supposed to. I would go home after a session, be sick, cry, have a pounding headache and THINK. Eventually after all those years I knew (as much as anyone ever can) what I needed to do: let myself be angry, upset, frightened and sad. I had buried down the child within with food for years and years and it was time to set that child free again.

    The one thing I learned from therapy above everything else that was the most liberating? That I am not responsible for how everyone else feels. I can say ‘No’ and if the other person doesn’t like it – that’s their problem. I also learned that if someone really loves you, they always will, even if you disappoint them at times. We love our children unconditionally right? Because we love them more than ourselves. The same goes for us!! Those who love us the most do so unconditionally but it’s our own pitifully low self worth that blinds us to this.

    Oh dear, I’m rambling again. Sorry.

    What Im saying is, if you think you need psychological help: ask for it. If you broke your leg, would you refuse to have it in a cast? If you had a chest infection would you be too ashamed to take antibiotics? My therapy saved my life every bit as much as my wonderful surgeon, Mr Shaw Somers. Streamline Surgical saved my body, the DoP saved my soul.

    I’m sorry I blather on so sometimes but you are all so important to me that I just want you see yourselves through my eyes. You are all brave, inspirational people who have taken a huge courageous step in claiming back your lives. It’s a tough. arduous journey but one so worth taking that even if we sometimes take two steps forward then one back, we can get there eventually. We can all do this together.

    Doodah x

    #48710
    Floyd
    Member

    love your encouraging and honest posts Doodah.

    Floyd x

    #48703
    Lauren
    Keymaster

    Thanks Floyd.

    My honesty isn’t always gratefully received actually! However, I cannot see the point in glossing over the things that are difficult. I want this place to be somewhere we can all be totally frank with each other but without any judgement. It’s one thing to offer honest advice/support but quite another to be tactless! I try very, very hard to be tactful and sometimes fail but I promise that whatever I say is sincere. Also, I have been on the receiving end of brutal but fair criticism and I know it works.

    My old friend Joy was pretty tactless but my goodness she made me see things about myself in a new light! Initially, I was furious with her when she told me some ‘home truths’ but after I had calmed down and left my ego behind (I was 19) I realised that she had done me the biggest favour going – I stopped kidding myself! We became the very best of friends. I wouldn’t dream of being as blunt as Joy but she taught me that honesty is ALWAYS the best policy in the end so long as you try 100% to not hurt someone’s feelings..

    Doodah x

    Doodah x

    #48707
    Thais
    Member

    Oh Doodah, you make it sound so easy, but after reading your post, ignoring it for a while and saying to myself that I don’t need to revived all those moments from my past, that I could easily bury them feelings, I am back here tonight feeling like that little child again that is incapable of saying no, not able to say what she really feels just in case someone could be offended and bringing down every little feeling with food. How to find the courage and confident to look for help??
    Thank you very much for your post because I know now that there will be help available for when I found the courage to go and ask for it.

    #48704
    Lauren
    Keymaster

    @Thais 27472 wrote:

    Oh Doodah, you make it sound so easy, but after reading your post, ignoring it for a while and saying to myself that I don’t need to revived all those moments from my past, that I could easily bury them feelings, I am back here tonight feeling like that little child again that is incapable of saying no, not able to say what she really feels just in case someone could be offended and bringing down every little feeling with food. How to find the courage and confident to look for help??
    Thank you very much for your post because I know now that there will be help available for when I found the courage to go and ask for it.

    Thais my lovely, the bravest thing you will ever do is admit to YOURSELF that you need help. You have already done that though. You asked for help when you had wls which is so brave it almost beggars belief. We all did it – we all asked for help with one of the most important things in our lives. And we got it. If you could be that brave again and ask for more help then you are 99% of the way to sorting out your problems forever. I say 99% because there will always be 1% that will try to muck it up for us. That annoying old ‘friend’ head hunger. The one who sits on our shoulder waiting for an opportunity to sabotage our hard work. The trick is to never, ever give it the remaining 1%. Sometimes we may falter 0.5% but that’s fine – we are human. But never let that nasty little so and so get any further than that.

    I hope you find the courage to ask for the help you want. By using the word ‘want’ it implies that it’s your choice rather than ‘need’ which can be something outside your control. If you truly want it, go and find it. I would love to hear how things are going xx

    Doodah x

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