I’ve said it a thousand times on here – bariatric surgery will change your life. But how? What does that mean? Well, I’m going to break it down what it meant for me. From my relationships to my religion, medical issues to mental health, I’ve seen vast improvements in my life in so many areas. I can’t wait to share with you and give you hope for your future. While I can’t guarantee the same results, you can learn what may lie ahead for you. My life with gastric sleeve before and after has changed dramatically and all for the better.
Gastric Sleeve Before and After: Relationships
Losing so much weight changes the dynamics of a relationship. You may no longer be the fattest friend in your circle. Or you may realize that you deserve more in your life partner. Additionally, you may find that you have more energy to play with the kids in your life and that you inspire them to be better. All of these positive outcomes happened to me. Let me explain deeper.
It’s no secret that I started my bariatric journey when I was still married. The man I married was not the man for me, and I guess I should have realized the warning signs ahead of time. However, I fell, hook, line and sinker for this man. He made me feel special, and for someone who felt invisible to the rest of the world, this recognition meant a lot to me. As I started my bariatric journey, I started gaining confidence in myself. I need my significant other less because I no longer found my self-worth in him. So when the bomb dropped, and he confessed to being involved with activities that were harshly against my morals, I had the self-confidence to leave.
Gastric sleeve surgery taught me that I need to work for what I want, but it also gave me myself back. I had to lose myself to find who I was. Losing weight and becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be showed me what I deserve. I am now in a relationship with a new man who treats me better than I’ve ever been treated before and makes me feel incredible. I’m most happy when I’m with him, and laughing at stupid jokes with him is my favorite thing to do. He knows my past, my scars, my history, and loves me anyway. I am so grateful for this change thanks to my gastric sleeve.
I am the youngest child in my family, and I have been able to witness the mistakes my siblings have made and at least tried not to repeat them. At my heaviest, I was the biggest of the siblings, which made me feel uncomfortable. How was I the baby and still the heaviest one? I had no energy to keep up with my nieces or nephew. I was living an unhappy life, and I think my family saw it but didn’t know how to help me.
Now, I am the thinnest of my siblings. I have inspired my older brother to also lose weight, and he’s lost over 100 pounds doing the keto diet. I have the energy to play with my nieces and nephew, and I am living a much happier, much more fulfilling life. My family has been behind me 100 percent of the way through my gastric sleeve, and I am so grateful for their support and love.
Before my gastric sleeve procedure, I was the heaviest among my friends. Always the fat friend, I struggled with bridesmaid dress shopping for my best friends’ weddings. I was so scared that I wouldn’t find a dress to fit and embarrassingly had to order the biggest size the dress came in. I felt huge in all of the wedding photos. Like my family, my friends could see I was unhappy in life, but since weight is such a hard subject to talk about, they didn’t know what to do to help me.
Now, I’m one of the thinnest of my friends. My friends have loved me and cheered me on through everything. I am truly lucky to have the group of friends I have. They can see me happy now. And even though we are all living our own lives, we’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders. We all go through rough times, but we’re there for each other through it all. This hasn’t changed since my gastric sleeve, before and after.
I write a lot about how I found my self-worth and passion since losing weight. My mental health and emotions have changed so dramatically since surgery. I guess putting myself first for the first time in my life permitted me to do what makes me happy.
The world makes a person with obesity feel like less than a person. The world tells us that we aren’t beautiful, we aren’t worthy of love, we aren’t worthy of beautiful clothing that fits well, and we are most certainly not allowed to be happy. I fell into these lies. I thought my self-worth was measured by some number on the scale. When that number didn’t read what it “should” read according to the world, my self-worth plummeted.
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However, as I lost weight and the number on the scale more closely reflected what the world thinks I “should” weigh, the more I realized that the world is jacked up. The people feeding us these lies about our self-worth are idiots. Seriously. My self-worth has nothing to do with my weight and everything to do with the amazing rock star that I am. You are a rock star too. Don’t let the world fool you into thinking you are less than amazing because you don’t weigh a certain number.
Before gastric sleeve, I had no passion for life. The world drug me down, and stole and passions I once had. Life circumstances made me feel as if I couldn’t obtain what I wanted in life, so I should just give up. After gastric sleeve, I realized that I can do whatever I want in life. My blog reignited my passion for writing. I work so hard to make this business work because I believe in it, and I believe in my mission.
Along with passion, I started having these crazy goals again. Before gastric sleeve, my goals were to simply exist and make it through another day without dying or having a bill collector call. It felt like for every step forward I took, my ex pushed me two steps back. I gave up on myself because it didn’t seem to work, no matter how hard I tried.
But the long bariatric surgery process helped me define new goals for myself. Many were weight loss goals, but there were also goals for after surgery – running again, wearing normal-sized clothes, fitting in a restaurant booth. All the things I achieved after surgery. Then there were the personal and financial goals I made – ones I know that I’ll achieve. I work every day toward my goal, and no one can stop me now.
Gastric Sleeve Before and After: Medical Issues
Before my gastric sleeve, I suffered from the following medical conditions:
- Severe, morbid obesity
- High blood pressure
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Low Energy
- Stomach Ulcers
- Acid reflux
I was also on the following medications:
- Omeprazole for acid reflux
- Metformin for pre-diabetes
- CPAP therapy
- Vitamin D Supplement
After my gastric sleeve and losing weight, the only issues I face are PCOS, which are minor compared to before, and acid reflux, which is controlled my the Omeprazole. I take more vitamins now, but that’s because I have to since surgery.
My weight loss brought me back to the church. Before gastric sleeve surgery, I believed in God, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but didn’t attend church, read my Bible, or pray regularly. My weight loss changed that. You see, my parents attended church regularly, and before my surgery, they asked the pastor to pray for my operation. I was so touched that a church full of people added me, a stranger, to their prayer list and prayed for me together. So, one Sunday I decided to go to this church and learn about it. I wanted to show my appreciation. I was so moved by this church and how they taught the Gospel. They were all so welcoming of me and embraced me as one of their own.
After my gastric sleeve surgery, I started attending this church regularly. Then, 10 months after my operation, I was baptized at this church, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. About seven months later, I officially became a member of this church. I now attend church regularly, pray often, attend Bible studies, and read daily Bible devotionals. My days begin and end with the Lord, and He has blessed me richly. I also tithe regularly and have given over control of my life, business, and money to Him. I trust His plans for me. This change in my life because of the gastric sleeve surgery, before and after, has been one of the most significant.
Many people want to know how food has changed in my life. Before gastric sleeve, I ate pretty much whatever I wanted. My diet consisted of fried foods, starches, carbohydrates and a few fruits and vegetables here and there. Dessert was a regular occurrence, and my serving sizes were huge. I also ate fast. It’s no wonder I gained so much weight.
After gastric sleeve, my meals start with protein. I then supplement with vegetables and fruit. Starches and carbohydrates come last, if at all. Desserts are a treat now and are always low-sugar, low-fat. My serving size is less than a cup per meal, and I try to eat slower. I still enjoy treats now and then, including the occasional fried treat. My meals are much more nutritious than before, and anything that I eat off my plan is a small amount. Each person is different, and each day is different. Sometimes I can eat a larger serving, and other days I barely eat at all. The bonus is that when I go out to eat, my meals are usually big enough that I always have leftovers to enjoy later.
Gastric Sleeve Before and After: Exercise
Exercise and I have had a love-hate relationship. Before my gastric sleeve surgery, I did barely any exercise. Sure, I occasionally walked, and would sometimes do Leslie Sansone Walk at Home DVD workouts. Working out made my knees, back and feet hurt. So I avoided it. I made excuses as to why I wasn’t working out. When I did work out, I enjoyed it. However, it wasn’t at the top of my priority list.
After gastric sleeve, exercise has become a key factor in my life. It’s one of the first things I schedule out in my weekly Living Well Planner. I now go to the gym three to four days a week and go for walks more often. One of my favorite things to do since losing weight is 5k runs and obstacle courses. In August of 2019, just fourteen months after surgery, I completed a Rugged Maniac run. It was so much fun, and I was incredibly proud of myself! When I don’t exercise for a few days, I can tell and just feel off. I like to also participate in group exercise classes, including cardio, yoga and kickboxing.
Stress is one of the key areas you have to gain control of to be successful with bariatric surgery. Before my gastric sleeve surgery, I let stress control me. I was in a constant state of stress because I wasn’t managing it. I felt on edge all the time, had horrible anxiety and depression, and would cry at the drop of the hat. My job was stressful, my marriage and home life were stressful, my finances were stressful. And, being a stress eater, I ate crunchy, salty, sweet foods to cope with my stress. It’s no wonder why I was so unhappy at this point in my life.
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To gain control of my stress, exercise was a big factor. As I said, after gastric sleeve surgery, I increased my exercise dramatically. In addition to exercise, I practice self-care more often, by doing yoga, meditating, reading, crafting and relaxing. Having plans for my finances, business, and goals takes a lot of the stress off of me. Sure, there are days where I am still stressed out, but I can better manage it without self-medicating with food.
My sleep habits changed dramatically since surgery. Before gastric sleeve surgery, I stayed up late and woke up early for work. I didn’t sleep well, as I had a horrible mattress and diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. I was constantly tired. Since my sleep patterns weren’t very good, I had no energy either. I barely had the energy to make it through my workday, much less do anything else after work.
Now, my sleep habits are much better. My new mattress is super comfortable. Since losing weight and retesting for obstructive sleep apnea, I no longer stop breathing in my sleep and no longer need the CPAP. Now, I’m sleeping six to eight hours a night. I have the energy and stamina to not only work a full eight-hour day, but also exercise for an hour and a half, eat dinner, clean up and get ready for the next day, plus put in a few hours a day on my business. I am constantly moving, and I love it. Never in a million years could I have sustained this lifestyle without my gastric sleeve surgery.
Finally, I wanted to mention how my work has changed before and after my gastric sleeve. While what happened wasn’t a direct result of my weight loss, it still changed dramatically since surgery. Before surgery and for a few months after, I worked as an office lead for a warehouse that shipped medical literature. My job was stressful, as I was doing the work of three people. I worked between 40 and 55 hours a week. I didn’t feel appreciated, and knew I was capable of so much more. About four months after my gastric sleeve operation, I found out the company for whom we shipped was switching their third-party logistics company, and my company was closing our warehouse. We were all laid off.
I used this opportunity to switch career paths and landed in the medical field checking in patients for testing and procedures. I still know that I am capable of more, and now I have the drive, confidence, and passion to go after the jobs I want. Writing this blog and building a business is now my side-hustle, which I hope to turn into a full-time career. Without my surgery, I wouldn’t have the drive or energy to do what it takes to work a full-time job plus grow a business on the side. My dream is to be a paid writer, and I am trying hard to dip into that field.
Gastric Sleeve: Before and After
What a list! As you can see, my life with gastric sleeve before and after greatly improved. I could go on and on, from shopping becoming fun again to not worrying about fitting in a seat, but you get the idea. Life is incredible now, and I am so thankful for this second opportunity at life. I feel so blessed to have come so far. You can transform your life too. If you are unhappy, stressed out, sleeping poorly, and overweight, bariatric surgery can transform your life too. You just have to be brave enough to leap!
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It depends on what you describe as normal. Anytime you lose a large amount of weight, you’re going to have skin that was stretched out. As you lose the fat, the skin isn’t going to automatically shrink bank. Exercise can help, but many patients turn to plastic surgery to get rid of the extra skin. However, I wear my extra skin as a badge of pride for all that I have accomplished. If you’ve been overweight your whole life like me, a “normal” stomach is an obese stomach. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t lose this weight to gain it all back. If you mean can your stomach look like a supermodel after surgery, I’m going to go with no unless you have extensive (expensive and painful) plastic surgery.