Six Months Out - Full Body Picture

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I posted this picture on Vertical Sleeve Talk a couple of days ago. Here it is for anyone who doesn't haunt that board like I do.  The picture generated some questions from new sleevers there, and one of those questions was what should she be doing now that she's sleeved. So, I put out a list of things I think are important for a new WLS patient to know and I'm repeating it, with a couple of additions here.

Here's what I'd advise to anyone just starting this journey:

1. Take your measurements pre-op. Keep track of them as you lose weight. When you stall/plateau, and we all do it, take your measurements again. Stalls are when I seem to lose sizes and notice the inches going away.
2. Stick to your post-op diet religiously. Your doctor has prescribed this diet because s/he feels that it's the safest diet to avoid complications with your new sleeve (pouch, etc).
3. Start walking as soon as possible after surgery. Always try to do a little more than you did yesterday.
4. The minute you're released to lift weights, start lifting weights. I do a lot of low weight, high repetition work and I started out doing 10 reps of the simplest arm exercises I could find. Biceps curls, triceps extensions, skull crusher.
5. Be patient. You didn't gain all this weight in a hurry, so you won't lose it in a hurry. It will still seem incredibly fast when you get to goal.
6. Visit a therapist to help you learn how to deal with the life changes from VSG. We wouldn't be here if we didn't have food issues.
7. Drink your 64 oz of water daily. Get in your protein daily. Repeat and repeat.
8. Join My Fitness Pal or one of the other food logger sites. It's tremendously motivating.
9. Look for the Non Scale Victories (NSV) every single day. It will help you stay positive about your journey and will give you motivation when yours is flagging.
10. Stolen straight from my friend on VST, FavoredOne... ENJOY THE JOURNEY. This isn't a race. You don't get extra points for not eating properly or for being the fastest/slowest/most average loser.
11. Make sure you take your pain meds immediately post-op if you need them. There are no awards for not taking the pain meds...just more pain.
12. Don't compare your weight loss to someone else's weight loss. Many things affect how fast we lose weight, including our genetics, metabolism, how much water and exercise we're getting in, and the mysterious "whatever".  Those with higher BMIs tend to lose faster immediately post-op, but then slow down to a crawl for awhile. It happens.
13. Do NOT become a slave to the scale. All it tells you is how much you weigh. It doesn't tell you if you're eating or drinking enough. It doesn't tell you that you've put on 4 pounds of muscle weight while losing 3 pounds of fat. The scale is a dangerous mistress. Take away it's power over you.

Above all, if you think something is wrong, call YOUR doctor. Don't wait for someone on a message board or a blog to tell you what to do. You (or your insurance company) paid this doctor for his or her expertise. Let the doctor tell you what's a problem and what isn't a problem.

Good luck if you're a new post-op, or even if you're pre-op and just starting this journey. There's nothing like it in the world.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The photo above was taken in September, 2009 at a friend's wedding. The photo below is two weeks ago. I think there are some marked differences.