Living with weightloss surgery

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

I am now 4 months, 3 dress sizes smaller and 28kg lighter post Gastric Sleeve weight loss surgery.  You can read more here about why I chose to have the surgery.   

Thank you to everybody for your wonderful support after my initial post I shared about my surgery.  The response was overwhelming and truly touched my heart, you are such an amazing community, thank you.  I also received many personal emails from people who are considering the surgery as well, so today I wanted to share with you how I feel now living post Gastric Sleeve surgery.

The first month was the hardest as gastric sleeve surgery is removing two-thirds of your stomach, so you need to look after it and learn the new volumes of food and fluid that your body can now intake.  In the beginning it is very little amounts and they tell you to sip your drinks very slowly.  As the stomach is tolerating its new size after the surgery I could only drink fluid for the first week, soups and I preferred watered Gatorade to plain water.  Over the period of a 6 weeks food can be eaten in pureed form, then mashed, then soft, then normal. During this time the food is rather boring, but I had no desire to want to eat anything else.  Whist it was hard, it was very much worth it.

Many lap band surgery patients throw up when eating, but it’s very different for sleevers (sleevers is what Gastric Sleeve patients call themselves) as we can feel when we are full. This feeling takes a while to understand, for me I feel it just below my chest, when I am full I don’t have the desire or want to eat more.  I have only thrown up twice, first time I am sure was because I ate too fast and the 2nd was because I sculled a glass of water, forgetting that I couldn’t.  I can drink normally now (just no sculling), but can’t drink 1/2 hour before or after I eat, this will more than likely be my normal for the rest of my life. The reason why sleevers can’t drink before a meal if because we don’t want to fill up your stomach with water, rather we need to fill the stomach up with nutritious food.  Then 1/2 hour after because the stomach will be full of food and no room for water.

In the beginning I could only eat a few tablespoons of puree, now 4 months later I am eating approximately 1 cup of dinner.  Initially I was eating food from the kids Ikea snack bowls.  As an adult eating meals from these bowls isn’t exactly appealing, so I purchased some small china bowls from Myer (can’t find link sorry) that fit perfectly in the size of my hand, big enough for a few scoops of yoghurt.  I also eat my dinner from a side plate, the large plates are too big for the little amount of food that I eat.

Here is a few of our dinners recently, hubby’s on the left, mine of the right.

One typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: 1 weetbix with small amount of trim milk

Snack:  Coffee with fruit

Lunch: Turkey sandwich on 12 seed wholemeal bread with crusts removed (crusts fill me up too easily) or 1 1/2 cruskits with 1/2 tin salmon

Snack:  Coffee, 3 crackers and hommus

Dinner:  small portion normal healthy meal

Snack: 1/2 tub yogurt

Side effects:

I have only had one side effect from the surgery and that is hair loss.  I was told about the possibility of hair loss prior to surgery and that taking vitamins and eating protein should avoid it.  Despite following these instructions I am losing a lot of hair each day.  It falls out when I wash my hair and also when I comb it.  I experience hair loss after my pregnancies, but never to this extent.  I am actually balding in some areas(you can see in the picture below that I don’t have much hair around my ears). The hair loss is because my body is in shock from the drastic change in my diet, not eating the same amount of nutrients as I was before.  I am eating very healthily, only drink water, coffee and the occasional juice, so hopefully it will improve soon. I cut my hair a few weeks ago, because it was starting to look straggly and my hairdresser agreed for its health it needed to be shorter.  I cried because I was trying to grow my hair but I actually have grown to really like it.  Losing my hair has been very hard emotionally, it is becoming so thin, a girls hair means a lot, I have always looked after my hair, made sure it’s neat and presentable.  I’m not sure how I will feel if it doesn’t ease soon.

I take vitamins each day, Womens Multivitamin, Hair Skin and Nails, Fish Oil and Vitamin D.

Now I have tried to be very honest with you above with the symptoms and how I have felt, but despite all that I have absolutely no regrets about the surgery, I am now 28kg lighter and I feel amazing.  I can now cross my legs when I sit, I can comfortably paint my toe nails, I can run, I can walk the length of the shopping centre and not be out of breath.  I absolutely know I have made the right decision.  It is a complete lifestyle change, but it was the best decision I have ever made.

Please ask any questions in the comments, I will be more than happy to answer them.

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42 comments

Valentina Cauchi October 16, 2013 - 6:41 AM

Kat, Thankyou for sharing and being honest about it as well. Some people can sugar coat situations or things so it’s great to have you being upfront about it all. You are very Brave and Courageous for talking about your weight-loss journey. BE STRONG!! You are a BEAUTIFUL person and coming from someone who has very thin fine hair, it’s all about the style/cut you have. A layered cut will give volume which I’m sure your hairdresser would have told you. Just remember, we are 100% behind you in your journey. I read your posts on how you got to the point of no return with your weight gain and how you finally had the courage to make the decision to do something about it, (I wish I could find it in me to do something and I find you inspirational), It took a lot of time for all of this to happen for you and you are on that positive journey where the end result will be amazing. Just Be Kind to yourself each and every day, No Pressure. We, your supporters are SO PROUD of YOU for how far you have come and how far you will go!!! All the love and best wishes to you, Valentina xx

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Katrina October 21, 2013 - 7:02 PM

Naw Valentina, thank you so much for this truly beautiful message. It has been such a journey, emotionally and physically, changing so many aspects of my life. But I am so glad I finally realised I needed to do something about my health. I remember there came a point that I just told myself nothing can be done, just get used to being this size. Ooh my never ever just be overweight because it’s too hard, health is so so important, for the now and most importantly to be here in the future. My future was my drive for the surgery. I am nearly 30kg down and I feel amazing, still have quite a bit more to lose, but I am over half way!! Thank you again Valentia, I really just wanted to share with those thinking exactly how it is, there are hard times, but it’s worth it.

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Belinda October 16, 2013 - 7:04 AM

Congratulations on your weight loss. I also had gastric sleeve surgery in June and 25kgs down so far. Best decision ever

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Katrina October 16, 2013 - 8:03 AM

That’s awesome Belinda, congratulations, I bet you are feeling amazing. How is your hair going?? I’m eating a lot of protein like the dietician recommended.

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Leesa Leech October 16, 2013 - 7:35 AM

Just one correction on this I am a Gastric Bander and I do know when I am full you have the same full feeling you would. And only throw up when you do not take notice of that feeling. Like you was worth the hard times of understanding and learning what you can eat and can’t. I have lost a total of 48kg in 3 years and never have looked back my loose skin is my reminder of where I came from and a reminder to never go back.

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Katrina October 16, 2013 - 8:01 AM

Wow what an inspiration Leesa, that is amazing. I’m curious what my skin is going to be like after all this, I am working hard at the gym to make it as minimal as I can, but I am positive I will have a lot of excess around my middle section.

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Leesa Leech October 17, 2013 - 9:09 AM

yes the Gym would help that is my next goal but I have MS as well so going hard at a Gym is not an option for me and I am recovering from a relapse at the moment so as soon as I am feeling up to it I will be making a trip to the Gym. Keep with the posts I love what you do and you have actually inspired me to organise things and have just got all my receipes to gether to work on meal planning as I have had to give up work. My daughter who is 4 always ask about my wobbly arms god love her.

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Katrina October 17, 2013 - 2:58 PM

It must be hard Leesa, hopefully you can make it out for some exercise soon. That’s awesome that you are meal planning, I would be so lost without doing mine weekly!!

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Jennifer October 16, 2013 - 7:41 AM

Congratulations! Very brave of you to put yourself out there with such a private matter.

I hear Biotin is very good to take when you are having hair issues. You can get it at the vitamin counter in the drug store…worth a try.

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Katrina October 16, 2013 - 7:58 AM

Hi Jennifer, I just want to share my story in case others are struggling with the decision to have it or not, I want to share exactly how I feel the ups and the downs, it certainly is life changing surgery. I have heard Biotin is good, thank you for the recommendation too, I am going to buy some next week when my current hair, nails and skin vitamins run out.

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Julia October 16, 2013 - 8:07 AM

Well done on the weight loss and also on being brave enough to come out about the surgery. People can be very judgemental and their interest in your weight loss can border on obsessive sometimes!
About the hair loss…have you thought of checking your thyroid? It may be in overdrive causing the hair loss. Mine did that after we lost a child to cancer and the dr thought all my symptoms was a grief reaction. Turned out to be Graves disease and perhaps caused by extreme stress. Anyway once fixed the hair is all back and the drains are clear!
Anyway my point is don’t assume the hair loss is due to the diet change, it may be an unrelated condition…
Congrats, Julia

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Mel October 16, 2013 - 8:55 AM

Hi Kat, congratulations on your weight loss and thankyou for your honesty on your weight loss surgery journey. I am looking into getting a sleeve and was wondering where you went for your surgery. Ta

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Katrina October 21, 2013 - 7:02 PM

Hi Mel, I had my surgery on the Gold Coast through Alamanda with Dr Nolan as my surgeon. Highly recommend him, I had no complications and he answered all questions I had 🙂

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Sally Lane October 16, 2013 - 9:35 AM

Hi, congratulations on your weight loss and for being brave enough to share everything with us. I can imagine the hair loss has been difficult to deal with because you are probably feeling so much better in all other aspects. I’m not sure if this will work for you but I used to lose a lot of hair (not to the same extent as you) and I didn’t really know why but recently I have been having a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with the mother in it (it says this on the bottle, not sure what it is though) and I have noticed quite a difference in my hair loss. It tastes disgusting but it is supposed to be extremely good for you. It may be something worth trying.

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Katrina October 21, 2013 - 7:02 PM

Anything is worth a try Sally, thank you for letting me know your tip. My hairdresser recommended a shampoo and treatment which I have been using and I ‘think’ I can see little whispers of new growth!!!!

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Sarah Scodellaro October 16, 2013 - 9:41 AM

thank you XX

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Louisa | Mrs Notable October 16, 2013 - 9:49 AM

thank you Kat. Despite telling you I had a call I needed to make after problogger, I’ve been putting it off. About to look up the number and send an email off now. Thanks so much for sharing, I can’t tell you what it means to me. Thanks doll x

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Geordie October 16, 2013 - 12:37 PM

Congratulations Kat. What research did you do between sleeve & band? What was the reason you chose the sleeve?

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Dee October 16, 2013 - 1:19 PM

Congratulations! My biggest problem is that I love sweets. I think about the sleeve, but I wonder whether it could help someone with a sweet tooth like me. Any opinion?

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Dee October 16, 2013 - 11:37 PM

also, I am a vegetarian. Bit worried about the protein…

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Brooke C October 16, 2013 - 7:20 PM

Congratulations on your weight loss. I will be 2 years post sleeve this December and have lost a total of 65kg. Like you I am still having massive hair loss, but that is a result of having a baby 6 months ago (a surprise, I was not prepared for the fertility following a drastic weight loss) as well as the surgery. I feel fantastic, and would recommend the surgery to anyone.

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Lisa Barton-Collins October 16, 2013 - 11:32 PM

A good friend of my sisters had gastric sleeve surgery about 12 months ago, and I have watched her health absolutely blossom. Good on you, it’s such a brave thing to do but so worthwhile. Do you think your hair will come back after your body gets used to the new normal? Hope so, but you will still be beautiful even if you are bald! You’ve always been beautiful inside and out 🙂
xx

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Katrina October 17, 2013 - 3:01 PM

Naw, thank you Lisa you are so kind xx. Yes I think I can see some little baby hair fuzz at the moment, I started a treatment from Stefan for hair lose when I got my hair cut. My hair is still falling out, but I have confidence once my body get’s used to this new normal it will stop.

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kytravelrn October 17, 2013 - 5:28 AM

Biotin 10,000 mcg daily will remedy the hair loss. Many people start taking it before the surgery and the hair loss isn’t so severe.

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Julie Maddocks October 17, 2013 - 10:24 AM

Hi Kat, my mum had the same surgery in Feb 2012 and has lost a total of 54kg and has gone from approx a size 24 to size 16. She has more energy and as my 7 year old says is Nannie is healthy. People think this is extream, but I believe that it was the only way that she could and I have known alot of people to have the “band” and fail. I wish you all the best and enjoy the “New You”. Julie xo

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Cheryl Williams October 18, 2013 - 3:18 AM

My husband had the same surgery 4 years ago and lost 175+ lbs in 2 years. He maintains his weight within 4 lbs either way. He has never regretted having the surgery. As a matter of fact, he is the “poster boy” for his surgeon and if a patient has any doubts about the surgery, my husband contacts the patient and becomes their “cheerleader”. It was a life changing decision for him and one of the best decisions he has ever made. He still, to this day, has a tendency to “try to overeat” or “eat too fast” and will occasionally get sick, however, he knows his limits. Best of luck to you in your recovery and new life!

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Lucy Bishop October 18, 2013 - 6:45 PM

Hi Kat,
I have just discovered your blog & love it! What an inspiring story – you are doing so well with your amazing weight loss after the sleeve surgery. Go you! I’m from the UK and also write a lifestyle blog – I’m a new mum, my son is 8 weeks old (Bert) and I am also trying hard to lose weight – I managed to lose 4 stones pre-baby (in order to help get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy) and now I’m trying hard to lose my baby weight (I’ve lost 2 stones since my 40 week mark of pregnancy) and have one more stone until I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight. At the moment I’m really fired up and excited, I’m at that early stage. Am trying to get out loads with the buggy/pushchair, and am using an awesome pedometer to count steps/calories/distance/speed when I walk – which is really helping.
I just wanted to drop in, say hey, introduce myself, and congratulate you on the fab inspiring story. I’ve signed up to all your newsletters and look forward to hearing more.
Lucy xx

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Marita October 21, 2013 - 5:42 PM

I love your little bowls! so cute 🙂 I’ve been using the kids ikea bowls too and they are so much better for portion control. Will have to find myself some cute little grown up bowls to use.

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Marita October 21, 2013 - 5:44 PM

Wish I had something helpful to say about the hairloss, I think you are beautiful no matter how your hair looks. But reckon if my hair started falling out I too would find it distressing.

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Fiona Webb November 3, 2013 - 8:11 AM

Hi – ive just found your blog. I had the same surgery in 2009 and have gone from 137kg to now sitting at 63. Ive just had my tummy tuck and believe without a doubt that the sugery has been one of the greatest things ive ever for to myself. best luck xx

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Christine Macdonald September 16, 2015 - 6:02 PM

Fiona…..just read your comment and think you have done splendidly. How long was your recovery from tummy tuck and where did you have it done? Congratulations on your great efforts.

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Raelene Charabie November 7, 2013 - 10:01 AM

Great to read your story 🙂
I too have had this surgery, eating life will not become a daily issue after about 12months, well that’s what I found.
I have platoed after lossing 5o kg and have gone from a tight size 26 to a comfortable 18.
I still want/need to lose about 20 kgs, but it is coming off slowly. Just need to stop snacking 🙂
Hugs

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Lin September 30, 2014 - 5:52 PM

Hi Kat,

I am considering this surgery and Im wondering how you are going now with it after all this time? Do you still NOT regret your decision? How is your hair – has it improved?
Love to hear any advice you have on this.
Thanks heaps xx

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Radhs October 5, 2014 - 11:54 PM

Hi Kat
Congrats on the new you and for sharing your experience.
I believe Dr Nolan did your surgery. How much did it cost? did you do any homework to find out all available surgeons. I am in Gold Coast. How did you come across Dr Nolan. Please reply.
Thanks

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Sandra Grych December 24, 2015 - 2:44 PM

I am seriously considering the sleeve surgery. I have found your blog helpful, especially about the hair loss.

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joyce February 4, 2016 - 5:59 PM

Hi love the comments. Have not read any negatives.. about leakage can it happen at anytime. Or only in the first few weeks

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 4, 2016 - 9:22 PM

Hi Joyce, what do you mean by leakage?

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Kristin June 12, 2016 - 11:38 PM

Hi Katrina,

Thanks so much for sharing your story.

I am about to undergo gastric sleeve surgery in 5 days. I was told about the hair loss. What I am wondering is, has your hair grown in more over time? I am fair skinned and have dark hair, so any bald spots will be visible from a mile away 🙁

Thanks so much.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 13, 2016 - 9:03 AM

Hi Kristen, my hair has grown back but it is still not completely the same, although I did have fine hair before. I just strongly suggest you have your vitamins daily as this should help reduce the hair loss. All the best for your surgery.

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Jennifer September 12, 2016 - 7:48 AM

Im not sure if anyone has mentioned this to you yet or not, but gelatin works great for hair loss. It won’t work overnight but if you take it daily you can see results within a few months.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 14, 2016 - 8:38 AM

Great tip, than you so much for sharing Jennifer.

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