Weight loss journey, surgery, and recovery


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Hi all, This post is about my weight loss journey and hopefully to encourage anyone considering (with a doctors strong reccomendation) the same journey I'm taking So I have been 'morbidly o

I know I'm bumping a long quiet thread but I wanted to add a status update. My current weight loss is around 70kg. I've steadied out at my current weight but I'm about to take my exercise up a notch w

I give anesthesia for many bariatric surgeries, and I can tell you first hand that the failure rate for the bands is very high, even when it is perfectly placed,  We rarely ever do lap bands anymore.

I am happy for your success and wish you nothing but the best.  I work in the medical field and winced a little when you recommended surgery.  It really should be your last resort.  Insurance companies won't cover it unless your BMI is over 40 (35 with complications).  But I have a feeling in time, those numbers will come down.

I hope it all works out for you, good luck, and I hope you don't keep pushing elective surgery onto to many people.

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1 hour ago, Monterey said:
I am happy for your success and wish you nothing but the best.  I work in the medical field and winced a little when you recommended surgery.  It really should be your last resort.  Insurance companies won't cover it unless your BMI is over 40 (35 with complications).  But I have a feeling in time, those numbers will come down. I hope it all works out for you, good luck, and I hope you don't keep pushing elective surgery onto to many people. 

 

Hi, sorry if you took it that way.

I wasn't trying to push it on anyone as a first option as surgery is always the last resort. I've modified my original post to reflect that. 

I was just sharing my story and offering people that are already getting it, their doctors have suggested it to them, or they've had it done the option of asking me any questions they might have from someone that's had it done.

 

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Very glad to hear things are going well for you. Keep up the good work and I hope you get to your goal.
 
 
Thanks :) I've been through so much to get where I am to not let it work.

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@mikeyjayjay, I am greatly encouraged by your journey and success thus far. I'm convinced that some of us mere mortals are genetically inclined to a lower metabolism in adulthood and thus struggle with weight gain. I am one of these people. I have lost and gained weight on and off since I was 19, and I was a portly teenager too.

I lost a great deal of weight about 5 years ago and kept it off for a few years but work/life stress saw it gradually come back on. I'm currently on my journey towards the same 90 kgs mark (possibly lower), but like you, it's because of health reasons now, my back issues have been on-going, on and off, since the beginning of the millenium, and a few months ago it gave out again. So my current weight loss has had the benefit of feeling good again about my walikng, standing and movement/balance.

Keep us all informed of how you are going. It will be simply awesome to see a 'new' you at Havanathon next year.

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Thanks very much @JohnS I've tried just about every diet known to mankind as well since I was 16. Besides being morbidly obese, both my knees are shot, I had severe sleep apnoea, and I wasn't far away from having diabetes and a heart attack. All of which run in my family. 

I'll continue to post here with my losses. It will be good too share them with everyone as it will keep me honest and trying hard.

Perhaps we can all (anyone that wants to that is) make Havanathon next year our opportunity to show off our new bodies. God knows we can't show off our magnificent singing voices!

Well I'm here if anyone wants to join me on a weight loss plan, it doesn't matter how you do it either.

 

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Thanks for sharing, Mike. I'm glad to hear you're doing well. I've struggled with my weight for most of my adult life. I did have a phase in my early-mid twenties when I was able to lose around 100 pounds, but I haven't really had any success managing it from my late twenties to mid thirties where I'm at now. I'm one of those guys always planning a diet and workout program, but never get around to it. My doctor hasn't mentioned surgery yet, but as I start creeping into middle age, I know I have to do something. I'd heard of the gastric bypass and the band, but I'm unfamiliar with the sleeve. Is it the same concept, reducing stomach capacity? I'm sure my doctor will want me to try non-surgical options first, and I'm lucky for an American in that my healthcare provider offers a ton of classes and group programs for preventative medicine.

Keep up the good work, brother.

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I wouldn't recommend these surgeries for anyone waking up one morning and deciding they need to go on a diet and cbf with the normal methods. These are major surgeries and should be a last option.

I would try an Optifast diet first of all, I had good success on mine in the period leading up to my surgery. It's a good diet and the changes to your body on the diet means that you're never hungry and you simple don't want to eat (apart from the shakes). It's a good diet that I found easy to stick to. I believe the intensive phase lasts for 12 weeks and then you go on to a semi food diet for another period. You should be able to lose 1kg a week on an Optifast diet.

It's different in the USA than Australia but I think over there in the USA doctors will want some kind of proof you have tried to diet - unless you're at deaths door. Give the Optifast diet a go.

The gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass are two very different surgeries. Both are major surgeries either removing a large portion of your stomach or completely changing your plumbing forever (although there is a small possibility you could have it reversed.. but unlikely). Don't take this as medical advice because I'm not a doctor, just a patient.

The gastric sleeve is made by removing most of your stomach out of your body so you only have a small portion of stomach remaining but the plumbing is left as is. A benefit of removing the remains of the stomach is that the hormones or whatever they are that make you hungry originate from the removed part of the stomach so you hardly ever feel hungry.

sleeve-gastrectomy-new.jpg.1e363ab7c33569238818b23be31df274.jpg

The gastric bypass is different. A small pouch from your stomach is made and there is a bypass of your duodenum hence gastric bypass. The benefit (danger too) of this surgery is that the foods you eat are not digested as much as normal and you don't extract as much (sugars, carbs, vitamins, minerals, calories etc) from the food. So you'll have to be on a vitamin and mineral tablet for life. This mal-absorption affect will last for life so I believe people tend to keep weight off easier in the long term than the sleeve.

bypass_eng.jpg.9905b22d721abe4f11f1c1d4328ad837.jpg

Which one someone has depends on their medical needs. I sat down with my doctor for an hour discussing the pro's and con's of each operation. In the end due to my medical requirements the sleeve was the best option for me. Although I did give the doctor permission to perform a bypass if a sleeve wasn't doable.

The foods you can eat differ with each operation as well. With the sleeve, you can eat anything you like (so you need to be very careful what you eat), you just can't eat a lot of it so if you're addicted to cake, after the healing process you'll still be able to eat cake so you need a strong will!

With the bypass your mileage may but you can't eat sugars or fats. Look up  dumping syndrome - it's not pretty, and it happens usually when you eat sugars or fats.

 

 

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Yeah my new surgeon refuses to take out a band and put a new one in. I haven't heard of anyone that's had a band that's been successful.

Sleeves are great, but you still have to stick to the diet pretty well.. chocolate and garbage will still go through it!

One of my main problems was that I never felt full. I could eat two foot long subways and still feel hungry ?

Now, I'm lucky if I can eat a scrambled egg and I feel full for hours.

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Congratulations! I wish you the very best. I gained a considerable amount of weight in/after college. A combination of not playing sports or exercising, eating whatever I wanted, and large amounts of beer and soda and I went from 200 lbs to 270 lbs in about 5/6 years (I’m just above 6 feet tall). I was in between jobs and just decided enough was enough and I lost 90 lbs in three months by cutting the calories, eating healthier, and exercising a ton. The weight just fell off. My weight goes up and down a bit to this day but I’ve never gone above 200 lbs in the last 16-17 years since. My 40th birthday is in 6 months and we have a new baby on the way (my “drinking buddy” ain’t drinking) so I’ve been on a huge health kick recently. Feels great. 

Losing weight is one of the most positive things you can do for yourself. For anyone struggling with weight I always say it is a bit like running, the first 20 min or first few weeks is hard, your body will fight it. But it gets easier. Never easy but easier. And your body will thank you for it. Just do it! 

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I congratulate you Mike. I too have had a weight problem all my life (I'm 63 now). Two weeks ago, I woke up and said I'm tired of being fat. I weighed 331 and am 6'2". I'm retired and don't exercise much except at the keyboard and stogies. I stopped drinking three double shot Makers Mark and Jim Beam per night that day and went on a low carb diet. I'm down to 319 and wish to go further, so I stay the course. I feel better (maybe psychosomatic), and am starting to feel a bit better. I really don't want to do surgery, as I have had L4-L5, gall bladder, cataract on both eyes, bone spur and am tired of doctors having cut on my body. 

But I wish you the best!

 

Mike

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I’ve lost some weight recently, although not the sole intention. I had to change my diet due severe reflux. Unfortunately, I’ve been in close contact with 3 different bariatric surgeons for reflux surgery. I’ve always had a slower metabolism in general, so weight has always been an issue for me. If you can cut out a majority of carbs(including plant based carbs) and high fat, the weight will fall off. I dropped 35lbs in 3 months easily. Whether sugar, grains, fruit, potatoes, nuts, etc... these carb sources are all minimized in my daily diet now. Although, I find healthy fats not to be an issue for my condition... in comparison with carbs.

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Congratulations Mike,

Good luck to you. Thanks for sharing your story.

I have also struggled with my weight most of my life. In my late twenties I was in fantastic shape, working out everyday. Then slowly over time I put the weight back. Life happens: stressful job, a couple kids and all the excuses i could make. 

On August 15th last year I made a commitment to myself to change. It’s so hard but it’s so important if i want to be around to enjoy my family. 

Ive lost 39 lbs since that day. My cholesterol has dropped to a very good level (180 total) and my blood pressure is 110/70. My diet is super boring but it works and it’s how my body craves nutrition now. I eat a high protein diet and no processed foods at all. I eat a good amount of fruits, A large amount of vegetables each day and lean proteins, with a steak once a month for reward. Always controlling portion size. I’ve never been able to do extreme diets as I fall off them, but this new rhythm I have can easily be sustainable for the rest of my life. I have no ideas of changing.

Fruits are so debated in weight loss. I love every kind of fruit, they are satisfying and so good for you. Yes they contain sugar but they are also realitively low calorie for the volume you get. I’ve had nutritionists tell me to not eat any and others tell me to not limit them. I have lost weight eating them but I know others who have not had the same experience.

I don’t eat pasta anymore and that is tough for an Italian, no pizza, no bread. If I’m completely honest I do miss pizza. I had a piece a while ago but felt terrible after, so I remember that and it makes choices easier. 

I hardly drink alcohol anymore. I love wine, have always kept a great collection and now I watch my wife drink it, but she knows not to touch the barolos :) Some day I’ll go back in moderation. On a positive it’s more money for cigars :)

I travel for work a good amount and I used to always think I can’t diet on the road. Over the last year I’ve proven to myself that was also another excuse. Sometimes I can actually eat better on the road with the variety of choices available now. I’ve lost weight on every business trip I’ve taken this year.

It’s a journey that’s for sure, mistakes happen and it’s about getting through the bad choice and staying the course.

Good luck to everyone trying, I hope you all reach your goal weight. 

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Eating 2 subs and not being fully is likely due to hypothyroidism.  Part of the problem of bariatric surgery is that is not done in a hospital, but an ASC.  ASC's are not safe alternatives to hospitals (disclaimer, I work in a hospital).  Given what little I know of your situation, sounds like you did the right thing.  In time, your stomach will grow back.  Though it will take many years. 

Good luck in your journey, I wish you the best.

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10 hours ago, El Hoze said:

Congratulations! I wish you the very best. I gained a considerable amount of weight in/after college. A combination of not playing sports or exercising, eating whatever I wanted, and large amounts of beer and soda and I went from 200 lbs to 270 lbs in about 5/6 years (I’m just above 6 feet tall). I was in between jobs and just decided enough was enough and I lost 90 lbs in three months by cutting the calories, eating healthier, and exercising a ton. The weight just fell off. My weight goes up and down a bit to this day but I’ve never gone above 200 lbs in the last 16-17 years since. My 40th birthday is in 6 months and we have a new baby on the way (my “drinking buddy” ain’t drinking) so I’ve been on a huge health kick recently. Feels great. 

Losing weight is one of the most positive things you can do for yourself. For anyone struggling with weight I always say it is a bit like running, the first 20 min or first few weeks is hard, your body will fight it. But it gets easier. Never easy but easier. And your body will thank you for it. Just do it! 

Thank you @El Hoze I think that's the important thing. You just need to wake up one morning and decide enough is enough. I don't think you can lose weight until you've come to that decision :)

I feel much better for the small loss I've already had. There are a few things I can do now that I couldn't before. I think I'm in for a tough fight over the next 2 years but I'm up for it!

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8 hours ago, alloy said:

I congratulate you Mike. I too have had a weight problem all my life (I'm 63 now). Two weeks ago, I woke up and said I'm tired of being fat. I weighed 331 and am 6'2". I'm retired and don't exercise much except at the keyboard and stogies. I stopped drinking three double shot Makers Mark and Jim Beam per night that day and went on a low carb diet. I'm down to 319 and wish to go further, so I stay the course. I feel better (maybe psychosomatic), and am starting to feel a bit better. I really don't want to do surgery, as I have had L4-L5, gall bladder, cataract on both eyes, bone spur and am tired of doctors having cut on my body. 

But I wish you the best!

 

Mike

Thanks @alloy congratulations on your weight loss, keep up the good work :) Surgery isn't an option for everyone, it's not the easy way out I can tell you, but you're doing well without it so keep going!!! :) 

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8 hours ago, Brandon said:

I’ve lost some weight recently, although not the sole intention. I had to change my diet due severe reflux. Unfortunately, I’ve been in close contact with 3 different bariatric surgeons for reflux surgery. I’ve always had a slower metabolism in general, so weight has always been an issue for me. If you can cut out a majority of carbs(including plant based carbs) and high fat, the weight will fall off. I dropped 35lbs in 3 months easily. Whether sugar, grains, fruit, potatoes, nuts, etc... these carb sources are all minimized in my daily diet now. Although, I find healthy fats not to be an issue for my condition... in comparison with carbs.

Thanks @Brandon Congrats on your weight loss!! Keep up the healthy eating :) Cutting carbs, sugar and fat is important. I have to make sure whatever I eat contains less than 10g/100g of total fat, 3g/100g of saturated fat, 10g/100g of sugar and 30g carbs per meal.

I was a big cola drinker and I loved my pasta. I haven't had either for 10 weeks so I've lost the taste of them and wouldn't have them if you offered them to me.

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5 hours ago, Erm310mce said:

Congratulations Mike,

Good luck to you. Thanks for sharing your story.

I have also struggled with my weight most of my life. In my late twenties I was in fantastic shape, working out everyday. Then slowly over time I put the weight back. Life happens: stressful job, a couple kids and all the excuses i could make. 

On August 15th last year I made a commitment to myself to change. It’s so hard but it’s so important if i want to be around to enjoy my family. 

Ive lost 39 lbs since that day. My cholesterol has dropped to a very good level (180 total) and my blood pressure is 110/70. My diet is super boring but it works and it’s how my body craves nutrition now. I eat a high protein diet and no processed foods at all. I eat a good amount of fruits, A large amount of vegetables each day and lean proteins, with a steak once a month for reward. Always controlling portion size. I’ve never been able to do extreme diets as I fall off them, but this new rhythm I have can easily be sustainable for the rest of my life. I have no ideas of changing.

Fruits are so debated in weight loss. I love every kind of fruit, they are satisfying and so good for you. Yes they contain sugar but they are also realitively low calorie for the volume you get. I’ve had nutritionists tell me to not eat any and others tell me to not limit them. I have lost weight eating them but I know others who have not had the same experience.

I don’t eat pasta anymore and that is tough for an Italian, no pizza, no bread. If I’m completely honest I do miss pizza. I had a piece a while ago but felt terrible after, so I remember that and it makes choices easier. 

I hardly drink alcohol anymore. I love wine, have always kept a great collection and now I watch my wife drink it, but she knows not to touch the barolos :) Some day I’ll go back in moderation. On a positive it’s more money for cigars :)

I travel for work a good amount and I used to always think I can’t diet on the road. Over the last year I’ve proven to myself that was also another excuse. Sometimes I can actually eat better on the road with the variety of choices available now. I’ve lost weight on every business trip I’ve taken this year.

It’s a journey that’s for sure, mistakes happen and it’s about getting through the bad choice and staying the course.

Good luck to everyone trying, I hope you all reach your goal weight. 

Thanks @Erm310mce Congratulations for your weight loss journey, it sounds like you're set to keep losing and staying healthy! I think if you can stick to your diet for a month or so then you end up losing the desire for bad foods. I personally wouldn't drink cola or eat chocolate again, I think it would taste horrible.

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4 hours ago, Monterey said:

Eating 2 subs and not being fully is likely due to hypothyroidism.  Part of the problem of bariatric surgery is that is not done in a hospital, but an ASC.  ASC's are not safe alternatives to hospitals (disclaimer, I work in a hospital).  Given what little I know of your situation, sounds like you did the right thing.  In time, your stomach will grow back.  Though it will take many years. 

Good luck in your journey, I wish you the best.

Thanks @Monterey In Australia they certainly are done in hospitals. I don't know what an ASC is but it doesn't sound safe to me. My surgeon is a stickler for medical procedures and wouldn't operate in a second class facility. I went from the (brand new) operating theaters straight up to ICU where I had a nurse sit beside my bed for 48 hours. The surgeon checked on me after he had finished in theaters and came back twice the next day then came back the following day to release me to the wards.

I did have something new that I've never experienced before. The surgeon and anesthetist don't like using the standard blood pressure cuff because they lag while inflating, instead I had a probe inserted into my artery in my wrist that gave real time blood pressure readings.

Thanks :)

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3 hours ago, mikeyjayjay said:

 

I did have something new that I've never experienced before. The surgeon and anesthetist don't like using the standard blood pressure cuff because they lag while inflating, instead I had a probe inserted into my artery in my wrist that gave real time blood pressure readings.

Thanks :)

That’s called an arterial line, or an “A-line” for short.  Some surgeries call for placing them, some patients call for placing them.  They are used for tight blood pressure control.  If your blood pressure goes from 130/70 to 129/69, I know it instantaneously.  With a blood pressure cuff going off every 3 minutes, I may not know until it is down to 80/30.  In healthy patients having a routine elective surgery, the cuff is good enough.  I don't typically put A-lines in for bariatric surgeries unless the patient has some heart issues, but I could never fault someone for being “too cautious”.

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