A year ago today my life changed forever.

A year ago today I weighed 317.5 pounds. Today I weigh 205.5. Well, that’s what the scale said when I weighed this morning, mid week, clothed, after eating breakfast. A couple weeks ago it said 197.5, so my scale thinks I’ve gained 8 pounds over the course of about 2 weeks.

Now, I believe that I’ve gained a couple, it’s about that time, lol. If life goes as it has in the past I’ll drop weight again here soon, so I’m far from worried. Besides, I would truly be happy if I stayed around this weight forever.

The last time I remember being at or around 200 was probably some time in or shortly after high school.

Here’s a chart of my weight from the last year and you can see that there are a number of times the scale didn’t budge for a week or so, or even went up, and those times are pretty regularly distributed:

weightchart

So, for the record, here’s the before and after current:

20110809-DSC_2969
July 22,  2010 (taken at my pre-op appointment)
317.5 pounds
BMI – 49
Shirt Size – 4x
Pant Size – 26W
August 9, 2011
205.5 pounds
BMI – 32
Shirt Size – 1X
Pant Size – 18

Now for the questions I hear a lot (or those that I imagine people would ask if they were brave enough):

How do you feel?

Generally, pretty darn great. Before surgery I had arthritis & fibromyalgia. I still have arthritis and fibromyalgia, but both are generally better than they were before. I am taking Celebrex. Because I’m taking Celebrex I have to take Nexium. Post-op, we’re not supposed to take NSAIDs AT ALL, but they decided that if I needed to take something stronger than Tylenol, I could as long as I took a PPI to help protect my pouch. It was one of those things where I was having issues exercising as my knees were still bothering me quite a lot. So, taking *something* was necessary for me to to the exercise I need to do. Benefits out-weigh the risks, if you will.

I definitely have more energy, although still have low-energy days due to the fibromyalgia.

Speaking of meds:

 

So, what do you have to take in the way of vitamins, etc.?

Okay, so no one has ever actually asked me this, but it’s important in understanding the LIFETIME maintenance of this decision. So, on a daily basis, this is what I take and why:

  • Multivitamin – one daily. I take a children’s chewable, it seems to have most of what I need, including my iron. Currently taking Up & Up (Target brand) Children’s Chewable. LIFETIME
  • Calcium – right now I’m taking 600mg a day, spread out over the day so I take 200mg 3x a day. I’m supposed to be taking 1200mg, but was having some issues with constipation. I’m doing some things to help with that, so I’ll increase my calcium gradually to get back to that 1200mg. Currently taking Caltrate Petites. LIFETIME
  • Biotin – one pill a day, it’s 5000mcg. Nature’s Bounty is the brand I’m using. Probably LIFETIME although I just added it recently and it’s kind of considered an ‘extra’ one.
  • B12 – 1000mcg a day, so one pill a day. I was using the Nature’s Bounty sublinguals, but I found a non-sublingual by 21st century. I need to have labs done, so we’ll see if the non-sublingual is working well soon. LIFETIME
  • Celebrex – for arthritis. This one is non-lifetime and had nothing to do with the Gastric Bypass.
  • Nexium – technically, this is because of the GB. When you have GB, you are no longer supposed to take NSAIDs. EVER. However, if you must due to other circumstances, you must must must take precautions to protect your pouch. NSAIDs can cause ulcers. In a GB patient this is very dangerous as a small ulcer can be a BIG problem in a small pouch. Not only is the percentage of the pouch larger on even a small ulcer, if it’s in the wrong place, it can close off the bottom of the pouch when it heals. Thus, while I am taking the Celebrex, I HAVE to take the Nexium.
  • Lyrica – for the Fibromyalgia, not related to the GB, just a part of life Smile, can also cause constipation.
  • Magnesium – this is one of those things I’m doing to help with constipation. 500mg a day when needed. Probably not lifetime, but it is something that is due to the GB. Constipation is a common problem with the surgery due to the high-protein diet.
  • Colace (store brand actually, much much cheaper) – Again, this is to help with the constipation. 2 a day when needed.

And, I think that’s it.

So, it’s

  • Lyrica, Multivitamin, Celebrex, Nexium, B12 and Biotin first thing in the morning (6 pills)
  • Calcium 2 hours later (can’t take the calcium with the iron as they’ll counteract each other, did you know that?) (1 pill)
  • Another Calcium and Lyrica around dinner. (2 pills)
  • Last Calcium, Lyrica, and the Magnesium and Colace before bed (5 pills)

That’s a grand total of 14 pills a day. 9 are due directly to the surgery.

 

What can / do you eat?

At this point, it’s more what I DON’T or CAN’T / SHOULDN’T eat. Being a year out I have way more options than I did, say, one month post-op.

The rules of eating for post-GB patients are “Protein first, Veggies second, Carbohydrates (complex) if there’s room”.

Breakfast options:

  • Protein shake (GNC’s new Total Lean Lean Shake 25 is quite good, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Melaleuca’s brand. Any protein shake I drink needs to be 20+ g protein, low in fat AND low I sugar, so finding a good one is tricky)
  • Yogurt (low fat, no extra sugar – Kroger Carb Smart is my favourite), might add some GrapeNuts or Kashi Go Lean to this for healthy carbs
  • Eggs – scrambled with ham and topped with green Tabasco is my ‘usual’
  • Bagel breakfast sandwich of hard fried egg on a wheat BagelThin with cheese and ham

Lunch options:

  • If I HAVEN’T had the bagel at breakfast I might have a sandwich on a Sandwich Thin, whole grain of course. That can be tuna salad, chicken salad, ham, cheese, turkey, whatever. Some days I’ll eat the whole sandwich, some days only half.
  • Hummus with soy chips
  • Leftovers Smile

Lunch is still my nemesis. I often get to lunchtime and think “oh great, I have to figure out what to eat now…”

Dinner options:

Anything and everything that’s not carb heavy. This is the important thing. There are very few recipes out there that I can’t do. Pre-packaged are out as they’re always pasta, potato or rice heavy, plus weird added sugar, and I can’t have just, say, spaghetti and sauce, but that leaves TONS of options.

  • Pick a meat and throw it in the crock pot with carrots and potatoes. I’ll only have, like, half a small red potato, the rest is the meat and carrots.
  • I’ll make meatballs and sauce, I’ll have the meatballs and a couple noodles, with a salad.
  • Other recipes that I make can be found in the Recipes tab above (bear with me I’m working on it Smile)

My big can’t is sugar. Fructose and lactose (fruit and milk sugar) are generally okay, I’m talking about sugar sugar like sucrose and even honey. Splenda and Truvia are my friends Smile

How much do you eat?

Well… you know the old ‘smaller, more frequent meals’? That’s me.

If I’m having a one-pot thing like chili, it’s a 10 ounce Pyrex bowl (so it holds 1 1/4 cup) that isn’t quite full. Other things I use the salad plates instead of the large dinner plate. They’re 8 1/2 inches across. Sometimes I’ll eat everything, other times that’s too much. I NEVER get seconds anymore. When we eat out I’ll eat half or less of what is brought and take the rest home. Some people who have had the Gastric Bypass have a hard time with leftovers; their pouch gets cranky if they try to eat re-heated food. Fortunately I don’t have that issue.

Don’t you get hungry eating that little?

Well, yeah. My doctor is against snacking 100%. Or so he says. But when I was in a few months ago and mentioned that I was snacking, he gave me a list of things to snack on if I felt the need to. As long as my weight doesn’t stall or go up, it’s probably okay, especially since I’m ‘snacking’ on non-snack foods. i.e., I’m not eating potato chips and candy, I’m eating cheese and nuts for protein Winking smile He doesn’t like those options as they’re higher in calories, he’d rather I snack on veggies and fruit. But, I’m choosing my snacks for the protein, so fruit and veggies don’t fit that. It’s a weird balancing act.

As for ‘are you hungry after eating that small a meal’, the answer is NO. That small amount will fill me up just fine. My pouch is approximately the size of a tennis ball. Eating good solid protein help me stay full longer, if I have more carbs, then I get hungry sooner.

How about drinks?

Again, no one really asks me that, but they do offer me things I can’t drink, so, close enough.

Hydration is important for everyone, but even more so for me. I am not allowed to drink 30 minutes before eating, while eating, or for 30 minutes after. Most people get a lot of their fluids in while they are eating. I can’t so I have to be vigilant at other times. I do drink before eating sometimes, but never while eating and I try really really hard to stick to the 30 minutes after. That can be tricky as I then tend to forget to drink at all Confused smile

I’m not allowed soda, even diet soda, for a couple reasons. The #1 reason is the carbonation. Small pouch + bubbles = ouchies. On the subject of diet soda – for some, it can trigger sugar cravings. Now. Does that mean I never drink soda? Well, no, but I’m particular. We have a SodaStream soda machine, mostly because my husband drinks soda like water, so it’s cheaper to do it this way. If I drink soda, this is how I do it. Their diet flavours are sweetened with sucralose (Splenda) and I can control the carbonation. People are told that if they want a soda post-op, at minimum they need to let it go a bit flat. My way of doing that is to simply carbonate my soda less.

Juice, even 100% juice, is out as even the ones with no added sugar have too much of a concentration of fructose and cause dumping syndrome.

Plain water would seem the best option. I used to love plain water. Post op though, it sits in my pouch like a rock. Common problem, but annoying.

So, Crystal Light and the like are my friend Smile Crystal Light (and off brands), Mio, plain iced tea or iced tea sweetened with Splenda or Truvia, those are the things I drink.

However, I can still go to Starbuck and will occasionally get a tall non fat decaf sugar free hazelnut latte with protein. Yeah, it’s fun watching someone when I order that. Haven’t tried that iced yet. Sometime Smile

What about excess skin?

When you use a lot of weight, sometimes that stretched skin bounces back, sometimes it doesn’t. In my case, it doesn’t. I have “Bingo Wings” on my arms and I have loose skin at my belly, thighs, and (yes) breasts. Because of the shape of my belly in the first place (called a “B” shaped belly), it’s loose in two places. I don’t have the really severe apron you see in some cases. I guess you could basically say I’ve got a double apron. I have loose skin above and below the navel. Looking at the picture above you can kind of see what I mean. There’s two bumps on my abdomen. Anyhoo…

I would like to have surgery some day to fix some of it. Likely breast and arms first, belly and maybe legs some other time, lol.

So, there you have it. If you have a question I haven’t answered, please ask away! There’s almost nothing related to this I won’t answer.

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