Bariatric Surgery and Weight Regain
Sunday, June 09, 2013
I posted this on a new team I've started - Fighting Post-Bariatric Weight Regain. I thought it was worthy of a blog entry, too. Maybe some of you can relate. Maybe some can't. Whether you're pro or con weight loss surgery, just know that we all struggle to lose the weight, and that weight regain is a very real thing and makes for a very difficult and humiliating experience. BUT THERE IS HOPE! YOU DON'T HAVE TO LET THE REGAIN WIN!
One of the most important decisions I've made in my life was to have bariatric surgery. There are so many types out there now. Each one, tailored to the individual by their medical team. Personally, I had the open Roux-n-Y procedure done. It is one among many approved procedures now. Something that everyone is warned about is the weight regain. Somehow, we put it in the back of our minds, determined that no matter what, it's not going to happen to ME. I believed that, too...until it did indeed happen to me. I'd lost a total of around 190 pounds by the beginning of 2008. That's when I started gaining the weight back. These were the basic rules I was (AM) to live by regarding my surgery:
1. Get between 80-90 grams of protein per day
2. Drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water every day (64 oz. total).
3. Don't drink 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after I eat (no drinking during eating either).
4. Take very small bites and chew incredibly well so that everything will pass through the opening at the bottom of the pouch.
5. Start with 1-2 oz. portions, each month adding to the portions until I finally come to an 8 oz. portion of food.
6. Very few carbs, except for natural, whole food carbs like fruits and very limited whole grains.
7. Vegetables when I can get them into my diet along with protein.
8. One multi-vitamin per day.
9. Two calcium supplements per day.
10. One SUPER vitamin B complex per day.
11. One biotin vitamin per day (1000-5000 mcg).
12. Eliminate carbonated beverages completely.
13. Oh yeah... and NO SWEETS and no fried foods (which cause dumping syndrome).
These were the most basic of rules. In 2008, I decided that I'd been a "good girl" and that it was time to try some new things to see if I could do them. So, first, I had a root beer. It was the best root beer I'd ever had. It was incredible! I could feel the gas building up, causing a lot of burps. I figured that with so many burps, there was no way that the gas would cause my pouch to stretch. How wrong I was!!! If I'd had just that one root beer, maybe it wouldn't have been a problem. But I didn't stop with one. I continued to have one every few days, then it was every day. Then it was several times per day. In addition, I started drinking with my food...the carbonated beverages, to be specific. Then, I started introducing sweets into my diet to determine how many sweets I could have before I had the dumping syndrome. These were ALL BAD IDEAS!
Basically, I stopped doing almost everything that I'd learned to do by experimenting with my pouch. In this experimentation, it expanded, allowing me to eat more and more. I'm not sure how big my pouch reached, but I could eat a lot more than a mere 8 oz! By the end of 2009, I'd gained about 100 pounds back!!!! Ouch! Talk about a blow to my health, my ego, my total self-image. It was horrible.
If you've had or are thinking of having bariatric surgery and you're asking yourself, "When will I be able to ___________ normally again?", then you're simply not ready. Although I thought I was ready, and may have been at the time...I undid my preparedness by experimenting with the "what if's". The surgery is a FOREVER decision, not to be taken lightly. It's a huge commitment.
It's really simple... the whole key to weight loss, whether you do it with weight loss surgery, or without, it takes the same thing...lifestyle change. Some of the changes needed to successfully use the tool of weight loss surgery are much more strict than weight loss without surgery (depending on the type of surgery), but if you make the decision for the surgery, you must make the decision to stick to those rules or risk weight regain. Either way you go, there are obstacles to be overcome.
Lifestyle change. That's the key. No matter what form your journey takes, it's small steps to great outcomes.