Two years ago yesterday, I took the huge step of having weight loss surgery.
It’s been a journey full of ups and downs, and not one that is right or necessary for everyone. Although I’ve been told by people that I “took the easy way out”, there was nothing easy about it! This blog isn’t about weight loss, but about the style evolution forced by the necessity of buying a whole new wardrobe. Still, I thought I might share some things I learned along the way.
My motivating factor for taking such a drastic step as surgery was my health. As you can see from this photo, taken in 2011 on a trip to Disney World, I was using a cane due to knee pain at the age of 51. We take a trip there every year, which involves a lot of walking, and it was getting more difficult and less fun each time.
We took a trip just four weeks after surgery and, while I had only lost about 20 lbs. at that time, I was able to do the entire trip without the cane! I was amazed at the significant reduction in pain and I firmly believe that it was not only a result of the pounds taken off, but also because of the change in what I was putting into my body, particularly the lack of processed foods.
Our trip last year was so much more enjoyable. We walked everywhere, stayed out later, and did so much more. I was amazed at the amount of energy I had.
I took two years between my first weight loss surgery information session and my actual surgery to prepare myself, both mentally and physically. I sought out a registered dietician and learned so much about nutrition, the major food groups, effects on the body (like causing inflammation) of some foods, and portion control. I also visited a therapist to begin to make behavioral changes that would become key to my success after surgery.
One takeaway from the dietician that I live by today: 80% of what I eat should not have a bar code on it!
Four changes I have made are:
- The first rule of weight loss surgery — protein first. Every meal includes at least 3 oz. of protein and I eat all of the protein first.
- No drinking and eating at the same time. I rarely drink while I eat and, after eating, wait 30 minutes to drink again.
- Eat slowly and chew! Even though I do eat in front of the TV often, I pay attention to what I’m eating, chew thoroughly, and wait between bites. It helps me to realize when I’m satisfied, where eating faster often causes me to eat past full. In the beginning (and still sometimes now), I used an app on my phone that timed my bites. I find that this helps me to eat less to be satisfied.
- Three meals, one snack and nothing in between. I eat four times a day, no more.
Something that really helped me was a book called Hungry by Allen Zadoff. (This is not an affiliate link — I just wanted to share something that worked for me). It’s a short book about the author’s weight loss journey (not surgery). It’s not a diet book or a book of rules, but contained some insights that affected me profoundly.
Sorry for the length of this post. I probably wrote it more for myself than for you! I learned a lot about my style and sense of fashion, and will share those in another post!