I am still completely shocked that a mere two years ago I was almost 400 lbs, had sleep apnea, borderline diabetes and high blood pressure, and had pretty much accepted that I was not long for this earth. My weight loss surgery truly saved my life.
For my readers who don't know the story, I went to Tijuana to have my procedure. I had the gastric sleeve surgery. About 80% of my stomach was removed. A normal stomach is about the size of a football. My new stomach is the size of a banana. There is a hunger hormone called ghrelin that is produced by the stomach. Since 80% of my stomach is gone, I therefore don't experience true hunger like I did pre-surgery. I do not feel I'm dieting or starving at all and even though I'm eating far less than what most people eat. The reason for this is that when the stomach is full it sends signals to the brain which are then interpreted as being satiated. So my new stomach does this as well but off of a very small portion of food. Pre-surgery I could eat an entire large pizza, salad, order of bread sticks, and dessert as one meal. Post-surgery I can eat one slice of pizza and may not even be able to eat the entire slice, depending upon how thick the crust is!
I decided to go out of the country because in my area the surgery runs around 20k and is usually not covered by insurance. I researched it for a year before my surgery and chose my surgeon in Tijuana and paid $4,500 for the surgery.
So let me give a break down of my stats:
Highest Recorded Weight: 388 lbs (There were times I was over 400. I believe 412 was the highest I have ever been. However, at the time that I chose to have the surgery I was 388 lbs.)
Weight On Day Of Surgery: 350 lbs
Current Weight: 174 lbs
Former Shirt Size: 4XL
Current Shirt Size: Medium
Former Pant Size: 48
Current Pant Size: 32
Former BMI: 52.6 (Morbid Obesity)
Current BMI: 23.6 (Normal Weight)
Total Weight Loss: 214 lbs
The goal weight I set for myself is 170 lbs. A couple of months ago I got down to 171 lbs and was so very close to achieving my goal weight. However, I messed up and started eating garbage again. I ended up gaining 3 lbs. I'm now back on track.
Another error I made was I stopped focusing on protein. I'm supposed to get 60-80 grams of protein a day. Well, when I was eating crap there were days where I didn't get any protein. My average for months was probably around 20 grams of protein a day. As a result of my mistake I began to shed hair. So my hair is thinning. I've returned back to the protein so hopefully I will be able to reverse this. If you don't get enough protein your hair and nails will suffer.
Since my surgery I've had several people tell me that I was the inspiration for them looking into or deciding to get the same or a similar surgery as well. I am very pleased that I've been an inspiration to people. If any of my readers are in a similar situation to me, facing morbid obesity, then I would strongly recommend you look into getting the surgery. It will literally change your life in ways you never even dreamed possible.
Psychologically, I'm still adapting to the changes. I still have some issues with accepting the new me. I still have a bit of body dysmorphia, meaning that I still perceive myself to be the same fat person I was before surgery. I also have some issues with women and men being sexually attracted to me. I didn't get anywhere near the level of attention I now get from people and I feel I can be too awkward when hit on. Hopefully in time I will adapt and be able to embrace the new me and live my life to the fullest.
I have not yet had plastic surgery to remove the excess skin. I do have excess skin, mainly on my stomach, some on the chest, and some on the thighs. I will be honest to admit that I dread the surgery because unlike the weight loss surgery, plastic surgery is a very invasive surgery and can take a few months to heal. However, I know that to complete this metamorphosis that I will have to suck it up, invoke courage, and see this journey through.
My only regret is that I did not have the surgery sooner. I'm also a bit ticked off. This surgery has been around since the 1980s but really wasn't used on morbidly obese people until around 2007. If I would have had this surgery in my teens or 20s then my life would have been a lot better, in my opinion.
My Before Pictures:
Passport Photo - March 2015
I'm the blob behind the boy.
Day of Surgery - May 13, 2015
My After Pictures:
So I will end with this. Do not let fear prevent you from being the person you were meant to be! Be courageous and dare to embrace change.
Related blog entries:
For those who are curious about just how much I can eat after surgery, here are two pictures of a standard-size bowl of Frito pie. I can eat about half of a bowl of food at one time.
If I continue to eat past the point of being full I will vomit. So I quickly learned to stop eating as soon as I felt full. Again, I do not feel true hunger, nor do I feel that I'm depriving myself. This tiny amount of food produces the same sensation in me as if I just got through eating Thanksgiving dinner. So I feel completely satiated. I do not cheat or try to eat every couple of hours. I eat 3 meals a day and some days I eat some snacks as well. I can even eat fast food. I can eat a McDonald's cheeseburger in one sitting (either no fries or just a few), 1-2 tacos (depending upon how long it's been since I've last eaten), and one slice of pizza (depending upon size of crust). I can eat a ton of salad and stuff like chips, crackers, and popcorn. These types of food are called "slider foods", because they literally slide right on through your stomach, meaning you can eat a very large portion. I've been able to eat a large bucket of popcorn at the movies, for example. Of course, these "slider foods" are no-nos and can cause weight gain if not kept in check.