One Year VSG Anniversary

Sorry this is a day late, but I did get the VLOG posted yesterday over at youtube! Please subscribe! I think I’m going to do some cooking vlogging over there…

May 16 2016, right after surgery:

VSG Surgery 5/16/16


So, one year has passed since I made the best decision I’ve ever made – aside from marrying my best friend. :) And this is what I look like now:
5/16/17 One year!


I’ve not met my goal of 80# gone, but 65# ain’t too shabby. I am goal oriented, so I’m not giddy with the 65#, but I’m glad I’ve lost it. I’m hoping that the new exercise routine will help me get past this mid-180s plateau.

I’m still wearing a L top and 14 jeans, but the jeans are a little loose. I think my waist has gone done another inch or two. Even if I don’t lose weight, I know the weight lifting will change the way I look, so whatever. I guess we’ll see!! Muscle weighs more than fat, so the numbers may not move much.

I’m still taking the same supplements, still taking Nexium. I tried to get off Nexium again and failed, so I guess I’ll keep taking 20mg in the morning and 10 mg at night. I can’t even go down to just once daily. Ugh. I just hope they’ll come up with a better class of drugs than the -azole PPIs (esomeprazole, omeprazole). I kind of like my kidneys and want to keep them for a few more decades. Sigh.

VSG is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The weight loss is great, but it did so much MORE for me than just that. The experience of having surgery got me over some of my worst phobias – particularly needles. I still don’t LIKE getting stuck, but I don’t pass out any more, which is a fucking MIRACLE. This has also helped with my dental phobia, too. And of course, getting tattoos, which I can do without any fuss now. The awesome nurses in Mexico were SO GOOD at their jobs. Even the multiple sticks for an IV line were not too bad. MIRACLE, I tell you.

VSG also “cured” me of ALL my inflammation issues. I quote cured because I don’t think it was VSG at all, I think it was changing my gut flora that did the trick. When you have any gut surgery, you disrupt the flora by the antibiotics and the fact that you don’t eat for a week. I think this is a very important part of why VSG ended my inflammation. There is SO much research regarding gut flora right now. I’m sure that it will be linked to all sorts of chronic conditions – especially the ones involving inflammation.

VSG also empowered me overall. I finally did something for myself and it paid off. This has given me a new feeling of being in control that I had not had for a very long time.

So when you hear me preach the gospel of VSG, what you’re really hearing me preach is the gospel of empowerment.

If you are tired of being sick, fat and tired, then DO SOMETHING about it. I sat around whining for about TEN years. FUCK THAT. I’ll never do that again! I let myself get fat and unhealthy because of my fear of medical procedures. I really can’t say it enough: FIND A WAY TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER. If it’s the gym, a shrink, a doctor, or a medical procedure, make it happen. Don’t waste 10 years like I did!

New Workout Progress

Or: how I made myself crippled AGAIN. Oy! [UPDATE: This workout cured the soreness! So for me, it appears that doing a lighter workout when sore is the key to getting through it! Yay!]

So I started doing the Kathy Smith weight training (Ageless with Kathy Smith: Staying Strong) on Tuesday and did both the 15 min arms and 15 min legs after a mile or so on the treadmill. OOF. I’ve been doing the arms one for a while, so that was not too horrible, but the leg one kicked my ass. Ha! Leg kicked ass! As with most of Kathy’s stuff, the actual exercises seem pretty simple when you do them, then the next day you are DEAD. OMG. It was not as bad as The Tabernacle Incident™, but OW OW OW.

I rested for a couple of days and just walked on Thursday, which was fine. Today I did 1.5 miles on the treadmill (jogged a little and didn’t die!!) then I did a modified version of both the arms and legs workouts. Hopefully I did not do too much, but I’m sure I’ll be sore again. ARGH.

I don’t know how bodybuilders put up with being sore all the time. ARE they sore all the time?? I just know that I MUST get my strength back. And I’ve still got at least 20# more to lose, dammit. I’m stalled at around 190 and it’s really pissing me off. I think that I’m going to have to work to lose any more weight. Since I started off relatively light compared to most people who get VSG, I think my overall loss is going to be less. Which means I’ll have to work for the last 20#. One of the youtubers I follow had the same problem. UGH. I still won’t diet per se, but I’m hoping that upping the calorie burn will do the trick.

So that’s what’s going on in my world. Lots of OW OW OW. :)

OW OW OW

Update on Exercise After VSG

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend about exercise after VSG (or any big weight loss). While I’ve been thinking that I’m doing great since I walk/jog 2 miles and can do Kathy Smith, this, apparently is not actually true.

We went to a show at The Tabernacle (Atlanta), which is an old church with multiple levels. ALL STAIRS. We were in the top level, natch, so much stair climbing ensued.

Going up the five or six flights of stairs to our seats, I noticed that my leg muscles were complaining, but I wasn’t winded or anything, so I just ignored it. Then I had to go to the bathroom, which is three floors down from our seats. Again, I noticed that my legs were complaining about going down the stairs, but what could I do? I had to pee!

THEN I had to go back UP the stairs to my seat. This is when the fun really started! My legs started actually failing – as in: no worky. I’m sure everyone thought I was drunk (I had been drinking, but was not drunk), but it was complete muscle failure. Luckily I did not fall or have to sit, but it was close. I pretty much pulled myself up with the railing. On the way out of the venue, Nick had to help me down the stairs, with LOTS of rest stops. (It never occurred to me to ask if there was an elevator. Derp. I just checked: NO. ADA is floor ONLY.)

I know it seems silly that I wouldn’t recognise muscle failure when it happened, but I don’t work out like that (until muscle failure), so I was truly puzzled by it. Once I got home, I realised what happened and started working on a new exercise plan.

Sunday and Monday I could barely walk. I really shredded what little muscle I have in my legs! I was creeping around here like a 90 year old! I did some research to refresh my memory on which exercises are best for building leg muscle (squats, lunges, extensions on the weight bench) and I will integrate them into my workouts. We’ve got an elliptical that bores me to tears (because I can’t read while doing it; something I’m going to try to fix), a weight bench and stairs, so I’ve got the tools to fix this issue. I will reclaim my body and get my muscles BACK!!

So, weight loss people: make sure to have strength training in your workouts! No wonder my legs are so slim: no muscle!!

I’m also adding back in a protein bar every day to bump back up my protein. You MUST have enough protein in your diet to support adding muscle and I know for a fact I can’t eat enough meat for that.

Just a little PSA (warning!!) to my fellow VSGers! Strength training is KEY!

VSG Q&A

People ask me ALL the time what I’m “allowed” to eat. The answer is “any damn thing I want!” Then they look confused and usually ask me what kind of diet I’m on. Answer: NONE. Then they still look confused and think I just don’t want to talk about it. Ha! Me? The Queen of Oversharing?? Not even!

So in the vein of TMI, here is the second installment of Things People Ask Me About VSG:

1. What are you allowed to eat?
A: Anything I want, just not much of it.

2. So what kind of diet are you on?
A: NONE. I just eat like a child, portion-wise. I do, however, take very few carbs other than crackers and chips. Carbs fill me up like crazy, so when I eat pasta or rice, I can only eat a couple of ounces. And it’s hard to eat anything else with them. Which is why I don’t drink a lot of beer, it simply fills me up.

3. How much can you eat?

A: I can handle about 8oz of liquids at a time and I can handle 3-5oz of what I call “hard” proteins like chicken, beef, whatever that is not ground. I can eat a little more ground than not, but not much. For instance, I can eat 3, maybe 4 chicken wings at a time. I can eat a small chicken thigh. I can eat about 3oz of steak. I can eat a 3-4oz burger patty. And if I do eat mostly protein, I won’t eat much of a side.

4. How big is your stomach now?
A: The pouch can hold around 6 oz, I’m told. As I’ve described, it depends on what it is. I don’t really know the actual size, but it’s 80-85% less than it was pre-VSG.

5. Wow! You better take vitamins since you don’t eat!
A: Well, YES, all VSG patients should take vitamins! Hell, EVERYONE should take vitamins IMO. But VSG in particular requires that you take a LOT of B12. Why? Because it’s absorbed in the stomach and guess what you just lost 80% of? YOUR STOMACH. I read a study that indicated B12 deficiency may lead to dementia, so yeah, just take the B12. I take a full regimen of vitamins and supplements every day. Details in this post.

6. Do you exercise?
A: Yes I do. I began exercising at the 6 month point. I walk on the treadmill (I’ve just started jogging and I didn’t die!!), I do Kathy Smith DVDs (aerobics + dance + kickboxing) and I started lifting weights – Kathy Smith again, her stuff is great.

7. No, really, what is your diet?
A: Sigh.

I generally get two reactions from folks who’ve not seen me in a while: “Hey! You look amazing!” or no reaction at all. I’ll admit, it does disappoint me when people don’t seem to notice. I mean, really? I’ve only got ONE chin now! You can see my eyes! But I try not to take it personally, I guess some people are just oblivious. Meh. But if you are afraid to say something to a lady that’s lost weight: DO NOT BE AFRAID. Trust me, we WANT to hear about how good we look. It makes it allllll worth it! Anyone who says otherwise is a LIAR.

I’ve just broken a 2 month stall and gotten below 190#. As of the other day I’ve lost 62# since the beginning. I feel great and I’m liking the way I look. I’ve still got about 20# to go to get rid of this stomach, but I’m getting there. With appropriate undergarments I can get everything smoothed down pretty well. I’m in a straight 14 and mostly L sizes, which is fucking amazing.

One other thing that no one asks about, but has been a whole new thing for me is the lack of inflammation. When I went into surgery, I had terrible inflammation in my wrists, hands and shoulders. The day after surgery, those issues disappeared. I’m not joking, the inflammation stopped dead. And it is still gone. THAT has made a HUGE difference in how I feel day to day. I no longer take naproxen every day. I’ve even cut back turmeric to every other day – I don’t think I need it at all now, but I hedge my bets. THIS has been probably the most important benefit of VSG for me. The weight loss is secondary. I kid you not.

This is why I’m keenly interested in the research regarding gut flora. Since my experience with completely rebooting MY gut flora, I strongly believe that we’re going to find out that gut flora is the root of many of our inflammatory diseases: IBD, colitis, Crohn’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc. I think it’ll turn out to have something to do with cancers and other diseases that are not exactly inflammation, too. This is the area we should be spending millions to research, IMO.

VSG benefitted both myself and Nick, too. It changed our lives. We took a big leap of faith going to Mexico and getting this done. We thought it was just for me, but turns out, it has been huge for both of us. Nick started diet and exercise and has lost 35#!! It pushed both of us out of our comfort zones and it propelled us into pursuing our side business with gusto as well as being just more fearless in general. This surgery has energized us in ways we never imagined it would. I recommend it to people all the time, but not ONLY for weight loss, but for the surrounding benefits. I firmly believe that sometimes you need to be fearless and just DO SOMETHING. Just PICK a direction and DO IT. It will change your fucking life.

I see SO MANY people who just wallow in their ruts. They are miserable, fat, unhealthy and on a ton of meds. Just like we were. I’m not saying everyone needs to do VSG, but dammit, do SOMETHING.

When I preach the gospel of VSG, what I’m really preaching is doing something different to change your life and get out of your rut.

That is message I’d like to give to EVERYONE: if you want to change your life, sometimes you gotta go big. We did it and we are different people than we were this time last year.

So get out there and DO SOMETHING. I promise you won’t regret it.

IBD Diet Similar to my VSG Diet

A friend posted about this Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) diet and as I read the study, I recognised the diet immediately: it was very similar to the VSG diet I created for myself! I was surprised, but after thinking about it, it makes sense. You want to present food in the way that it will be best absorbed and with as many nutrients as possible. MY goals for post VSG surgery!

This is the study: An anti-inflammatory diet as treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: a case series report.

Here is part of the foods chart from the study. It is strikingly similar to my plan (click to embiggen, go to study to see the whole chart):

As you know, you start off with purees then progressively go towards “whole” foods that have not been ground, canned or otherwise altered. I went from purees to canned things like tuna and chicken, then to ground meats then to solid meats. I was on “regular” foods by around 2 months. I wrote all about that in my early posts.

I just thought I’d make a post about this to strengthen my assertion that you do not have to eat yogurt and canned meat for 3 months after VSG, as the Mexican nutritionist would suggest. I did give the info to her, in the hopes she might rethink her approach to VSG patient nutrition, but she probably won’t.

Anyway, I hope that this study’s findings and their method of getting the most nutrition into the body in the easiest way for the stomach and digestive tract is helpful to VSG patients who just want to eat something besides yogurt smoothies. Fruit and yogurt is not nutritionally dense enough, IMO. You need vitamins along with that protein to heal. Fruit is not vitamin dense, it’s just sugar, and canned meat is just fat. So if you’re doing VSG and don’t agree with the diet you’re given, look over this IBD plan and my recipes and make your own diet that suits your tastes. You’ll be happier and I promise it will not ruin your VSG healing – despite the drama you’ll hear from your nutritionist and team for going “off plan”. It’s my opinion that you’ll heal up faster when you are eating vitamin dense foods and lots of protein. I was on to regular foods at about 8 weeks, a few weeks faster than their plan and I feel that this is because I was eating a better diet, which got me healed up faster. As always, your mileage may vary. :)