3 Month Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery Update

Hello, hello!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted so I thought I’d come at ya with an update. I’m officially a little over 3 months post op now, and I’m down a grand total of 55 pounds. HOORAY! I’m seriously so thrilled so far with my surgery and post-op life — the recovery and the lifestyle is waaaay easier than I expected. In what ways, you say?
I had this fear that weight loss surgery would mean I never again got to enjoy popcorn at the movies, or a slice of birthday cake at parties. I imagined a sad existence with bland chicken breasts and gritty protein shakes. While there are lots of chicken breasts (highly flavored) and non-gritty protein shakes, I’ve had both movie popcorn and birthday cake. I also worried that losing weight would come at the expense of always feeling crappy, with a stomach ache or heart burn, feeling deprived. Thankfully, my stomach rarely hurts, and when it does, it’s usually due to something that I’ve eaten a little bit too much of. I feel like the same old me, just lighter, smaller, and a little bit less tired.
So what IS challenging or different? The thing that is the most challenging for me is realizing that even though my stomach is a lot smaller than it used to be, I still need to be incredibly conscious of what and how much I am eating. Certain foods are “sliders” meaning that you can eat a lot more of them than you’d expect — like popcorn. I’m not the weight loss patient who has three bites and is stuffed, I eat more like 3/4 of a kids’ sized meal. Today at lunch for example, I had two tiny roasted chicken legs, a couple of bites of whole wheat pita, and maybe 1/4 cup of roasted squash. It isn’t doll-sized portions, but it’s certainly not a full sized meal for a non-sleeved adult.
While I did lots of work on emotional eating in therapy a few years back, the urge is still there, and often. I have to remind myself that stress-eating half a bag of tortilla chips isn’t an option anymore, and that I need to find some other way to confront the emotion I’m dealing with. And that’s just it – it’s CONFRONTING the emotion, rather than stuffing it down with chips. I also am trying to adjust to protein first, over carbs and veggies — because if your tummy is going to get full fast, you want it to be with the building blocks of muscle, rather than something you’ll burn through quickly. I’m not a huge meat eater, so it’s been an adjustment to try and focus on and look forward to meat. (Or beans or lentils or whatever). The other big challenge is HYDRATION. You cannot drink at the same time you eat, because if you drink while you’re eating, your stomach fills up much faster, and we want to be absorbing all the good nutrients and protein we’re taking in. I feel like I’m always low key dehydrated, so it’s something I try to be conscious of often – sip, sip, sip.
All in all, it’s been a super solid, positive 3 months. I originally worried I was losing weight “too slow”, and now, I realize that an average of 2 to 3 pounds a week is AWESOME. I know what I need to work on (more water, more activity, less “eyeballing” portions). I can’t wait to see how the next few months go — and am looking forward to continue to slowly shrink 🙂
Till next time,
Sleeved in Santa Clarita, Alyssa

Coming in July 2018: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, “The Sleeve”

I’m getting weight loss surgery.

It feels freeing to type those words. It feels freeing to have a rapidly approaching helping hand, a tool in my toolbox to help me get to a healthier weight. It feels freeing to say, “I have done the research.” It feels freeing to know that this minimally-invasive surgery is safer than staying morbidly obese. It feels freeing to know that this body of mine, the body I have fought and broken and challenged for so many years will finally have a chance to be what I want it to be.

This decision has not come lightly. It has been the result of painful moments, of deep disappointment, of medical hurdles , of serious reflection and work. A few years back, surgery didn’t feel right for me. I was also about 50 pounds lighter back then. But babies and life and habits and hormones have taken their toll on this body and metabolism, and I find myself the heaviest I’ve ever been, ready to get to a point where I feel like ME in my skin, not a stranger in a heavy, stiff suit. For years I have tried to live between the dueling worlds of loving myself completely but being so uncomfortable in this skin. Now, I’m giving myself an exit strategy. It’s not the easy way out. In fact, I think making this decision to have an elective surgery that will seriously change my eating habits and life is pretty damn brave. But something needs to happen, and I’m ready. Let’s do this.

Am I scared? Of course. There are unknowns. There are possible side effects. Nothing is perfect, after all. But I am ready — and I’m ready to write the happy ending of the Double Chin Diary, the one where I walk happily into the sunset in a tankini, not self conscious about my stomach rolls, but instead, strutting with the positive satisfaction of a life well-lived and a body and mind that feel good. There will be bumps in this road, but it’s a road I’m excited to travel. My stomach will be reduced in size by about 80%, and the hormonal components that make weight loss very difficult for me will dissipate over time as my body produces less of the hunger hormone. I have an excellent support team — friends near and far that have had success with this same procedure, a loving husband and family. I’m ready.

For the next six months I’ll be working on changing my eating habits and getting back into fitness. Insurance requires that you diet for six months to prove that you’re serious about making this commitment. I have done the hard work of learning to love myself despite my weight. I live a happy life as a plus-sized woman. I honor my body, beautiful in its imperfection, amazing in its creation of two beautiful daughters, two legs that walk, two eyes that see, two hands that feel, a heart that beats that I wear on my sleeve. But, I want more. I want to shop in the women’s department, not the plus section. I want to sit on an airplane feeling less like a sardine. I want to hike the hills, to climb the mountains, to surf the waves, to hide and seek with toddlers, to fully live my life and come alive with physical energy and zeal. For somebody who’s fought this battle for 20 years, it feels good to know that the reinforcements are coming. It’s going to be hard. But it’s going to be worth it — and as usual, I’ll be right here, telling you all about it.

Thanks for reading <3