By Jen

It’s been four years since my VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy).
FOUR YEARS. Woah.
I’ll never forget the day of my surgery. My friend (well … my friend NOW, then she was a stranger LOL!) put these bright yellow socks on my feet. They had smiley faces on them. I still have those socks. I’m wearing them right now, as a matter of fact.

When I woke up, I couldn’t breathe. Well … I FELT like I couldn’t breathe. They’d put a breathing tube in. I had no idea they had done that. I freaked out a little and was trying to scream. The nurse (a different one from my friend) calmed me down quickly, efficiently, and with patience and gentleness.

I was able to fall back asleep as they wheeled me to my room, and the next thing I woke up to was my handsome hubby’s sweet face smiling down at me.
Then my babies.
And my mom and dad, LOL.

This was my first major surgery. It was a big deal.

My first meal came a few hours after that. Broth. Jello. Tea. Something else I don’t remember (juice, maybe?).
Then came the leak test. It wasn’t fun, but … NO LEAKS!
I actually went home the next morning. Boy was I glad to go home.

Four years seems like such a long time, but I know in the bariatric community it’s really not that long at all (especially considering some people have had their surgeries for 20+ years!!)
But I can say that in four years time, I’ve learned a lot about my body, about WLS in general, and especially about myself.
So, without further ado,

WHAT WORKED AND WHAT DIDN’T???

We’ll start with what DIDN’T work:
1. Attempting to fall back into old habits after year one.
2. OA (Overeaters Anonymous)
3. The Ketogenic Diet (too much fat – it was too rich on my tummy!)
4. Obsessing over every single thing I ate always.
5. Sticking with a mostly-protein based diet after year two
6. Thinking I could get by without moving my body.
7. Thinking diet drinks (crystal light, mio, etc.) were a substitute for water (SO not true.)
8. Trying to forget I had the surgery.
9. NOT being involved in the bariatric community
10. Listening to too many (uninformed) sources

So … what DID work??

1. Learning my body, listening to cues and learning to hear what it needs/wants
2. NOURISHING my body rather than simply FEEDING it.
3. Prayer and meditation on scripture
4. Eating “well” MOST of the time and allowing myself to have a treat now and again (birthdays, holidays, church pot-lucks, etc).
5. Switching to a more plant-based, holistic eating plan.
6. Moving my body (GENTLY and in a FUN WAY) every. single. day (okay … confession … this doesn’t ALWAYS happen, but I’m getting better at it!)
7. Drinking PURE WATER most of the time (at least 64 oz a day!)
8. Remembering WHY I had the surgery
9. Becoming MORE involved in the Bariatric Community (I LOVE speaking at support groups with my mom!)
10. Listening to a few of the most informed sources (Dr. Matthew Weiner, Dr. Duc Vuong, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Audra Baker – my nutritionist!, etc).

I’m going to be starting a series on “what worked and what didn’t (for me)” later on this summer to go into more detail on each of these subjects.

So, what worked for you? What didn’t work for you?
We’d love to hear from you!
Comment below, shoot us an email, or come join the conversation in our Facebook Group!