It was five years ago today that I had my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) surgery for weight loss. When I went in that morning I weighed 285 lbs. I was 35 lbs. down from my highest weight of 310. I decided to undergo WLS because I had spent two years on weight watchers maintaining and unhealthy weight (and lifestyle). I was on the verge of diabetes, I had high blood pressure, and I was a great candidate to have a heart attack or stroke at any time. Many people didn’t (and still don’t) support my decision to have this surgery, and that’s okay. I didn’t do it for them. I did it for me. It was one of the best choices I’ve ever made for my body. Since then, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve strayed a lot, I’ve regained more than I would have liked to, and I’ve met a lot of people that I will retain friendships with for a long time. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve written a few cookbooks, and cooked on YouTube with my mom. It’s been one heck of a journey. Today, I made a choice that would impact the rest of my life. I still have a long ways to go, but I regret absolutely nothing. The VSG surgery saved my life. And I would do it all over again in a heart beat.

Lat year, I wrote this on this picture’s post:

“Four years ago today, I woke up in the hospital after a surgery that would change my life (for the better). I actually woke up to my hubby’s sweet face and then hugs from my babies (that’s my daughter in the background with her lovies).

Four years is a long time to some, but in the WLS community, it’s still fairly new. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body in these last years. I have a long ways to go yet and a lot to learn, but the more I learn the better I am.

Some things I’ve learned in four years:
* It’s not about weight, it’s about how I feel and loving the skin I’m in
* It’s just fine if I want to have a meal that’s nothing but fruit and veggies
* Not all “plans” are created equal
* The surgery is a tool, NOT a solution
* THE SLEEVE IS NOT A POUCH (and doesn’t have to be treated as one)
* Different surgeries have different needs
* Different bodies respond differently (or … what works for you might not work for everyone).
* Water is your friend
* Vegetarian diets are just as healthy as meaty diets.
* Meaty diets can be just as healthy as vegetarian diets.
* A smoothie a day – even four years out – isn’t bad for you (especially when done correctly and mindfully)
* Holistic nutrition is the way to go (I love Audra Baker so much!!)
* Moving your body every day doesn’t have to be annoying (dance party, please!)

I had the VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) four years ago today. 
God’s hand has guided me through ever since. 
  Philippians 4:13  

 Jen 

I stand by that post, but I would like to add a few more things to that:

First, for some people, it’s okay to not worry about the weight. But when I stopped worrying about the weight was when I stopped worrying about what I fed my body with. Not worrying about the weight caused me to binge eat on Oreos and potato chips. Not worrying about the weight has caused me to have arthritis at 41 along with other autoimmune symptoms. So although it’s NOT about the number on the scale, it IS about doing something healthy and good for my body. So, in that respect, I do need to worry about the weight … just a little.

Second, when you do start to worry about the weight, it’s SO easy to get into the “diet mentality” again. I did. I truly feel that’s what led to my significant regain. I stopped losing at about 190 lbs. I Was unhappy with that and strived to get down even farther. I did – a little. I lost another 5 lbs. by going on a vastly carb-restrictive diet. Then, I regained that five. And another five. And another. And another … Soon, I found myself back over 200 lbs. and sitting I’m currently at close to 220 lbs.

And finally – addiction is STRONG. You might not think you have a food addiction, but if you obsess over food, obsess over diets, obsess over calories/carbs/fats/sodium, or if you find yourself not being able to “give up” ANYTHING – YOU ARE AN ADDICT. Hello, my name is Jennifer. And I am a food-obsessed, diet-obsessed, binge eater who can’t seem to give up her sugar or starch.

Now, please know that I am NOT WEIGHT SHAMING. If you are 220 lbs and you are happy and healthy, yea! That’s fantastic!!
For me, however, 220 is not a healthy place for me to be. It’s just not.
So, my goal for the next year is to take it back. Take my life back. Get back where I need to be.

I regret nothing – I am still standing in a better place than I would have without the VSG.
But … it’s past time for me to get back to where I need to be. It’s time for me to start practicing a bit of abstinence.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement and support on this journey!
I love each and every one of you!