This week marks one year since I’ve had my second weight loss surgery so I thought it was a good time to give you an update about my progress, how I have been feeling and any ups and downs through the process.
A quick recap, around this same time 5 years ago I had my first gastric sleeve surgery, I lost 40kg, but after a year I started gaining weight and eventually over the next 2 years I put over half of that back on. I struggled emotionally and my self confidence was depleted. You can read my story here about why I chose to have a second surgery, revisional gastric sleeve with a Loop Duodenal Switch Procedure (SIPS, a form of mini bypass).
This past year I have lost 26kg and have stalled with my weightloss the past 4 months bouncing up and down a kilo. Funnily, it’s the exact same weight that I stalled at last time so I’m determined to make sure I don’t start putting weight back on. I don’t have a set goal of how much I wanted to lose, I just wanted to make it into a healthy BMI range, I still have 5-8kg to go to reach the range I was hoping for.
I have had very high cholesterol for as long as I can remember. A few weeks ago I had a blood test checking all my vitamin levels and also had my cholesterol checked. I had quite a few vitamin levels that were of concern but for the first time my cholesterol was NORMAL, I did the biggest happy dance!!!! Quite a few of my vitamin levels were low, Vitamin A (which I am trying to increase with the right food choices), B12 and Vitamin D. My vitamin D has always been low, I’m not a fan of spending time in the sun (I burn pretty much instantly and had a Melanoma removed a few years ago) and unfortunately the vitamins I’m taking to help increase it haven’t worked so I recently got a Vitamin D infusion. Before my surgery 12 months ago my iron levels were very low, I was given an iron infusion whilst I was in the hospital shortly after my surgery, thankfully my levels have remained steady since. My surgeon’s office are getting me in regularly to keep an eye on my vitamin levels and we are working out a plan together to get them to a healthy range.
I am currently a size 14, 4 dress sizes down from my heaviest. I have never been a fan of shopping. I have to say I’m still not, however I do feel like I know what looks good on me now, what my style is and I do enjoy walking into any shop knowing that their clothes will fit me! My winter style is jeans, a plain shirt and a longer cardigan with white lace-up leather sneakers.
These are the lace-up sneakers I LOVE, visit website here.
I now have a lot of excess skin, floppy tuckshop arms and around my upper thighs and stomach. If I have the finances, once I reach my healthy weight range and am able to maintain it, I may consider surgery to remove the excess skin. I can live with covering up my arms with what I wear, but I am very very self-conscious about my stomach. I have an apron fold which appeared after the pregnancy with my twins which became more pronounced with the excess weight over the years. I cover this up with long shirts, but sometimes shirts shrink slightly or creep up when wearing them and the excess around my stomach is very visible.
One thing that I did very differently from the last surgery is that I didn’t exercise to the same extent. I feel I overdid it last time, I pushed myself too hard and my back couldn’t keep up (I have arthritis in my lower back). This time I focused more on what I was eating and I didn’t do any exercise for the first few months, then I gradually added in regular walks with Zoe. That’s it. I know quite a few ladies that had surgery the same time as me that have done strength and cardio training 5 times a week, they look amazing and have reached their goal weight already.
I have no regrets about having the surgery again. It was the best decision for me as my health has improved along with my energy levels and overall wellbeing. You may notice that I have been posting more photos of me lately on Instagram. You may not know it but each time I publish a photo or share an Instagram story with me in it, I celebrate because I’m so shy and this is a really big deal for me. I’m gaining self-confidence again. This is giving me the encouragement to share more… I would really like to start making video tutorials, which would be awesome!!
I regularly receive quite a few questions about my surgery, I’ve answered some below and I will keep adding to this when I receive questions so it’s a good resource for anyone thinking of having weightloss surgery.
Who was your surgeon, do you recommend him/her?
My surgeon was Dr Jacobus ‘Jorrie’ Jordaan. He was a very lovely and caring man, answering all my questions and I was particularly impressed that I never felt rushed when I was at my pre-surgery appointments with him he was happy to sit and explain everything to me in great length. At my pre-op appointment, he sensed that I was confused about my understanding of the SIPS procedure and he wanted to ensure that I was 100% comfortable with this decision and asked me to come back for one last consultation and any final questions. Dr Jordaan came and checked on me daily while I was recovering in hospital. The care that I have received after the surgery has been exceptional. Although I haven’t seen Dr Jordaan since my surgery, I have seen his nurses, dietician and psychologist who have been very thorough in their care and continuous checkups on my progress.
Dr Jordaan is unaware I have this website and sharing my experience, I’m sure he doesn’t mind me sharing his details with you. I have no hesitation in recommending him and his team. He is located on the Gold Coast, visit his website here.
What is Loop Duodenal Switch Procedure (SIPS)?
The Loop Duodenal Switch procedure, also known as SIPS, is a bariatric surgery procedure that has evolved in recent years. SIPS stands for ‘Stomach Intestinal Pylorus Sparing Surgery’. Initial studies indicate it provides greater weight loss than a standard gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy without increased complications. Read more about it here.
Do you still eat chocolate and chips and have soft drink?
I’m not going to lie, yes I do eat chocolate and chips. I don’t deprive myself but I eat in moderation and it’s a treat, like once or twice a week, not every day. I don’t want to undo all the hard work and effort since the surgery. However, I haven’t had soft drink since my first surgery 5 years ago. I find it far too sweet, much like fruit juice, so I only drink water and coffee.
Do you worry you you’ll regain the weight?
Yes, I do and whenever I do eat a piece of chocolate I am riddled with guilt – which is a good stopper for me to not overindulge! I strive very hard to balance out my meals so they are filled with all the protein and vitamins I need. I’m currently trying to eat more sweet potato and carrots to increase my Vitamin A levels. I always have healthy snacks available to reach for instead of sugary treats.
READ MORE: 12 Healthy Snacks to boost energy.
Do you ever feel hungry?
This is hard to explain. No I don’t get a hunger feeling or rumbling tummy, but my body does get a feeling when it needs to eat. When I get this feeling I know if I don’t eat something soon I’m going to start to feel lethargic. As I eat such small portions, regular eating gives me a boost of energy to get me through the day.
How often do you eat?
I eat 6 small meals a day, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and snack again. I have learnt how much I can eat and know when I have to stop. If I overeat I end up feeling ill and need to throw up.
I’ve tried everything to lose weight, although I know I am not the best snacker ‘when no one is looking’. Would this surgery be right for me?
It’s hard for me to say if weight loss surgery is the right option for you, as everybody’s health and lifestyle is very different. However, I recommend if you are considering it to firstly talk to your GP about it, they will talk about the various options you could consider before the drastic choice of weightloss surgery and give you a referral to discuss it more with a surgeon in your area.
I’ve heard you can lose your hair, is this true?
Yes, I lost hair after my last surgery, so much so I cut my hair short. I didn’t lose as much hair this surgery, although I did feel the need to cut it a few inches shorter because it was looking so fine. I now have my new hair growing back, so it will be back to its healthy self in no time. The key is to remember to take your multi vitamins regularly. Once I started getting into the habit of taking them daily I noticed my hair stopped falling out.
I go out with friends and socialise a lot, will this suit my lifestyle?
You will just need to change your habits and ways. For me, and many react differently to the surgery, I can’t eat and drink at the same time. I have to drink at least 30 minutes prior to eating or after. If I drink immediately after eating I feel the need to throw up, like I have overfilled my stomach. I don’t drink alcohol frequently, but when I do I’m a cheap date, one drink and I’m feeling fuzzy lols. When I eat out I usually share a meal with a friend or buy entree meals as I rarely eat more than a third of a main meal.
How do I convince my husband for me to have weight-loss surgery?
Again this is hard. I was embarrassed to approach it with my hubby. He is skinny and I often think that skinny people don’t understand what it’s like to be and feel overweight. I did all my research and spoke to my GP before I spoke to him. He has always been supportive of me and my choices so I didn’t need to ‘convince’ him as such I just explained to him how I felt about my health, being within my body and why I wanted to do the surgery. He knew I have tried all options and if I felt this was the right choice he’d support me. I hope that your partner can find it within themselves that if you want to do this for the right reasons that they will support you.
How much time off work did you have after your surgery?
Funny question this, as on our local radio station they say it’s keyhole surgery with a few days off work after the surgery. I don’t agree, I had 3 weeks off work, as I sit at a desk all day and this position wasn’t the most comfortable after my surgery. I felt this was the right amount of time although 2 weeks would be sufficient.
I don’t want to tell my friends I’m getting the surgery, how can I still get support?
As I am open about my surgery quite a few people talk to me about theirs and share that they have kept it private. This is up to you and you must have your reasons to keep it to yourself. There are some great support groups on facebook. I joined the Gastric Sleeve and Bypass Support Australia facebook group. It’s on here that I found a post for all those having their surgery in July to join a private facebook group. It’s in this group we have shared privately our journey together which was sooo good, especially in the days leading up to the surgery and post-op that you can talk to someone who is going through the exact same thing as you.
In saying this…. initially I was going to keep my first surgery a secret, but I opened up as a friend was asking me about my sudden weight loss. It was once I opened up I found it easier to explain why I wasn’t eating so much when out with friends and supported friends who were considering it. For me it made my journey easier.
I want to do the surgery but a few friends have expressed about others getting it done and it’s the cheats way out, do you think it’s cheating?
Weight loss surgery is certainly a helpful tool to regain your health and understandably it’s not for everyone. It’s certainly not the easy way out because it’s not easy – it’s a difficult emotional path. It is a drastic surgery. The surgery is not pain-free. You are making permanent physical changes to your body. There are possible consequences from the procedure. You have to eat healthy to make it work. You have to regularly exercise to help maintain it. For the rest of your life have to eat a small portion of food. For the rest of my life I can’t eat and drink at the same time. So no, I don’t think its cheating!