Home | Tough Love | “Will I REALLY be able to maintain after weight-loss surgery?”

“Will I REALLY be able to maintain after weight-loss surgery?”

This has nothing to do with food but I see a lot of folks question the long-term success of bariatric surgery. I’ve never shied away from sharing my experience because I think it’s important for longer-term post-ops to be honest about where they’ve been and what they’ve been through in order to paint a realistic picture of life after weight-loss surgery.

So here goes. My journey in pictures (or a bit of it at least!):

This is me before surgery. About 330-ish pounds. I didn’t willingly pose for many pictures so they are hard to find! In this one I was in a laundromat. And yes, that is generally how I looked. 
The date stamp on this is actually wrong. This was taken in about March 2008 and while you can’t see all of you can tell I’m still a plus-sized diva in this picture. It’s interesting how WLS works because I went from this size at about 2 or 3 mos post op (forgive me for not remembering exactly, all this WAS five years ago!) to…
Whoa! What the HELL??? That chick is a lot smaller, isn’t she? Funny thing is I thought I was still huge. (Snicker) By the way the smarmy character standing beside me is my brother, Manuel. 
Photo Credit: Melting Mama
Oh time…and pouch capacity. They both can sneak back up on you…as they did here with me. As you can see, I regained. In the pic directly above this one I was 172. In this pic I’m either at or over 200. (Although don’t I pose nicely???)
And this is me today (literally…I took it this morning!)…five years post-op. 189 lbs. Smaller than my biggest, bigger than my smallest but still smaller than my biggest since surgery (did you get all that?).
Where will I be next year? I dunno. Only time will tell. BUT, I think it’s noteworthy to say that part of the reason I know I can continue to be successful (and I’d argue I never ceased being successful so much as I just lost my way a little bit) is because I tell myself affirming stories about my process and progress. I say this over and over: The story you tell yourself is important!!!

“What the heck does that MEAN, Nik?”

I’m glad you asked. My friends over at ObesityHelp asked me to blog about this very subject so I have been. Check out my blog series which has so far touched on your overall story, those we tell ourselves as we make the decision to have WLS and as new post-ops. Then tune in for the remainder of the series and join the conversation!!! It is only through open and honest dialogue that we can paint a realistic picture of the struggles and realities of WLS. Obesity is a lifelong fight and our stories are our ammunition.
I hope this post has at least helped some of you get perspective. Maintenance isn’t doom and gloom, even if you do have some regain. You are in control. You’re driving the car. You’re steering the boat. You have the power. So claim it!

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9 comments

  1. I love you! 🙂
    I am maintaining and back on the losing track! I don't know how or why but my tool is keeping me in touch with ME still at 4 years post op! I am also about 18 pounds lighter at 4 years post op than I was at 2 when I hit my "lowest" surgical weight… Can we say, "I am a mess and love it?"

  2. I would like to thank you for all the honesty that you provide here. I am 2 1/2 years post op and sometimes the daily struggle is overwhelming. It's nice to have a place to come and see that all the things I think are my problem alone, are not.

  3. So glad for you sharing this today – I'm almost 4 years post-op and have had a few pounds creep back on in the past six months. Stress eating is the culprit and while I know what is triggering me it is not the easiest to deal with. I'm bigger than I want to be, but rather than beating myself up about the gain, I'm reminding myself that I'm still smaller than I was pre-op (looking at old pictures has a way of putting things in perspective, doesn't it?) and I'm focusing on positive actions – walking, good food choices, etc. The stress is still there and knowing that I react to stress by eating is probably not going to change either. But eating 6 cheetos is better than the whole bag. I'm trying to focus on small victories each day.

  4. This post could not have come at a better time for me. I'm coming up on 3 years out and facing a lot of stressful things that unfortunately are beyond my control. That being said, I've slowly reverted back to my bad emotional eating habits and have gained somewhere between 25 and 30 of the nearly 120 pounds I had already lost. That had me so discouraged that I had nearly given up and had actually started thinking of myself as a failure once again. It's very hard to get past this way of thinking, as I'm sure many of your readers know.
    My daughter recently had WLS and she's been encouraging me to go back to basics and take back control, to use the tool I'd been given. Seeing that you (and I know many others as well) have been able to do that is encouraging. I may not be able to do anything about the unique set of stressful circumstances that are currently surrounding me, but I can control what I put in my mouth, whether or not I sit all day or get up and move, etc.
    Thanks, once again for reminding me that I'm worth the effort, that I'm not alone in my struggles, and that success (as I measure it) and happiness are achievable if I just set my mind to it and use the gift I gave myself when I decided to have this surgery.

  5. Thanks for sharing your success. I'll be 5 years out in July. I lost about 70 lbs. and would like to lose another 20-25 lbs., but can't seem to get the lbs. moving.

    Just wondering how tall you are.

  6. Thank you for continuing your blog. My WLS is scheduled for 4/18/13. I have one more test with my cardiologist on Tuesday and one more nutrition class before the big day. Your blog has provided me with great information!

  7. Thank you for being so honest about what you have gone through. I started a blog when I had my WLS 2yrs & 2months ago but as the weightloss slowed down, so did my posts. I lost 170lbs & have been staying in the 170s for the past 6-8mnths. However, over the past few months, I have crept back into the 180s. I have been bouncing around in the low 180s for the past couple of months (a few times got into the 170s again, but not for long) & I know it is due to not exercising & eating the food I KNOW I shouldn't. Boredom is my enemy!! LOL
    I have starting buying the high protein low fat/sugar snacks that I used it eat & it is helping. I am a snacker, and that's one habit I haven't been able to break, but choosing healthier snacks has helped!
    I just subscribed to your blog & love what I have read so far! Thank you for sharing (and inspiring me to update my own blog). <3

  8. Congratulations on your weight loss! I'm sure it was totally worth it, I've read an article regarding this Bariatric surgery, they said that it was really effective but with few side effects. Anyway, as far as I can see with you, it was really effective and it didn't have any side effects on you, am I right? Of course, surgery isn't just the only thing that you need to consider, you also need to have a self control and a self discipline for you to maintain your weight. 🙂

  9. I'm at two and a half years post-op and have regained about 3kg! I am completely distraught but know that I WILL get it back down. Your post was completely timely. I know what I'm doing wrong so I have to make it right! Thank you for being "you" and everything that you do for this community. Besos!