My last post was a direct response to someone who asked a fair, albeit judgmental, question about my weight, and now I want to answer another question. I think this question was sincere and thought-provoking, and I genuinely enjoy reflecting on the answers to hard questions even when they feel easier to avoid. And just as a quick reminder for those who felt defensive for my sake per my last post – I’m answering this for myself, not because I think I owe anyone an explanation. And I wonder if anyone else in my shoes has faced similar thoughts and feelings post-surgery. Here’s the question –
Do you regret having weight-loss surgery? If you could go back, would you still go through with it?
I’ve given this question a lot of thought, and in short, I do not regret having weight-loss surgery, but if I could go back, I would definitely do some things differently.
Many people experience incredible success, at least temporarily, after Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery. I dropped about 100 pounds in the first few months after surgery, but my weight-loss stopped after that. I knew that adjusting after surgery wouldn’t be easy, but I wasn’t prepared for how tough it would be mentally and emotionally.
The surgery drastically reduced the size of my stomach, and I still eat very little at one time. After a few instances in which I ate to the point of feeling sick (for me, that was only a few bites of a burrito from Chipotle) I realized I didn’t want to feel that way again. As a result, I do not overeat when I eat a meal. If I do, it hurts, and I don’t tolerate that.
The struggle for me is that I don’t think about food during the day, but I snack too frequently at night. I can’t eat a lot at once, but I can eat a little here and there. And that adds up to more calories than I should eat if the goal is to lose weight.
Food lost its appeal for the first year or so, and even though it still doesn’t offer the satisfaction that it did when I ate for comfort prior to 2009, I want to eat more often now than I did. In the months following my surgery, I drank protein shakes on a regular basis, and it was incredibly difficult to eat vegetables. Empty carbs, on the other hand, were easier to eat. When I joined Weight Watchers again, I realized that while my meals are ridiculously small most of the time, but I eat small amounts too frequently.
It feels good to be much lighter than I was prior to surgery, and I enjoy weighing 100 pounds less than I did a few years ago. Even so, most people would not consider my surgery a success. And while I don’t consider it an overwhelming success, I’m much lighter and healthier than I was before surgery.
Last week, a routine blood pressure check showed that my BP was 118/76, and I’m pleased with that. I’m also thankful that I no longer experience any swelling from fluid retention. I also feel pretty fantastic about the ease in which I can hike for miles on a mountain and that I easily walked over 20,000 steps per day while in New York over the holidays.
Would I do it again? Yes, but I’d go to specific, weight-loss surgery counseling before it and after it. I’d also wait through the required period that my insurance let me skip because I could have benefited that time to adjust my mindset for the incredible change that’s ahead.
There’s so much more I could do to be the healthiest version of myself, but I’m much healthier than I was prior to the surgery.