On July 27, 2009 I celebrated my 5 year gastric bypass surgery anniversary. It has been an interesting journey up to this point. The euphoria of newly post-op life and weight loss success has waned and I’m now living in a new phase: the struggle to maintain health.
Not the answer you were expecting?
Hate to tell you, but weight loss surgery is definitely not an easy way out, nor a quick fix for all that ails you. Quite the contrary, I see more and more folks like myself who have essentially traded type II diabetes, hypertension and all the other ailments of pre-op life; for a now a post-op life of osteoporosis, low energy levels, iron infusions and battles to stay well nourished!
If it were only as simple as taking a few vitamins and that’s it – the struggle would not be there. But unfortunately, finding supplements in the proper forms that we can absorb, and equally as important, in the correct amounts to keep our blood work where it needs to be to keep us healthy, is practically a full-time job! I posted on the topic of gastric bypass post-op supplementation two years ago.
Recently I was interviewed by Scott Tousignant, also known as ‘The Fat Loss Quickie’, about my life after weight loss surgery. He asks me if, knowing what I know now – based on the issues I’ve had, would I have the surgery again. My answer is no, I wouldn’t.
My mission is to give an honest post-op life view as I am living it, and how I’m seeing other longer term post-ops are doing overall. If someone has not had the surgery, I’m not going to recommend weight loss surgery as an option, until I give them the honest truth on what life is like. I also want to help those who have already had gastric bypass surgery and are finding they need answers and help. Someone who understands their struggles.
I realize that not every single post-op struggles with post-op nutrition like I do, but a good majority of them do. I’m not referring to those that didn’t follow their surgeon’s post-op supplementation schedule, because to be honest – if we all did that, we’d be in worse shape!
Surgeons are trained to do surgery – they are not trained nutritionists, and even nutritionists are basing their information on a normal digestive system. The gastric bypass digestive system is far from normal – malabsorption is not easily dealt with to keep us healthy. The fact that every person is unique in how their body responds after weight loss surgery is what makes getting help and keeping YOU healthy so difficult.
There are some awesome online support groups with very knowledgeable folks willing to help. Michelle Curran, aka: The VitaLady, is one such person. Michelle and her husband Don both had weight loss surgery; Michelle in October 1994 and Don in October 1995. Michelle is brutally honest about the supplements we need to take, and does not gloss over the importance of taking all that we need and that it is a struggle that can only be won by regular blood work to monitor how you’re doing and adjusting your supplementation schedule based on your labs.
Staying Positive & Staying Focused
Believe it or not, getting your guts rearranged is not a permanent solution to keeping the weight off, if you do not change your eating and exercise habits. The further post-op you get, the more you are able to eat foods that you weren’t immediately post-op. The fact that you’re willing to try to eat foods you know you shouldn’t is clue #1 that you’re veering off track. If this is you, and perhaps a few pounds have crept back on: STOP! Right this very second stop the destructive behavior. There is no more lifelines. No more excuses as to why you’re gaining weight again.YOU are responsible for the food that you eat, and the supplements you take.
If you have not been exercising, then I’ve got a program that will help. I’ve been doing Scott’s awesome Home Office Workout, which is broken down into two 10 minute workout sessions per day. Because I have been struggling with low energy, my stamina and ability to do long workouts is not possible; but 10 minutes I can do (and you can too!) and I love Scott’s workout videos!
Exercise as a post-op should be part of our new lifestyle changes. It helps keep you focused on health. So instead of slipping back into bouts of depression and a sedentary lifestyle, we need to stay focused good, healthy habits and a positive attitude.
To YOUR Health,
P.S. If you are a post-op, how is your health? If you’re considering weight loss surgery, do you have any questions? I’m here to help.