1. What made you decide to have WLS surgery?
I have been on diets since I was 8 years old, and my whole self-worth was associated with how I looked. Anxiety about my weight led me to over-eat and a vicious cycle of Yo-yo dieting was my go-to response, with a good dose of guilt each time I fell “off the wagon”! I tried every weight loss method out there, low calorie, low carb, shakes, fruit, ready prepared, you name it! But I could never keep the weight off, and usually gained a few extra kgs on the way. A friend had WLS a couple of years prior so I began researching and finally consulted my surgeon who not only didn’t tell me I wasn’t big enough (which a couple of GPs did - one even suggested “just start running - that’s how I lost 20kg”), but advised I would be a terrific candidate with an excellent recovery prognosis!
2. What was your weight prior to your WLS, and... What’s the goal?
I was 89kg before surgery, with a hope of getting to my magical number of 65kg which would put me right at a healthy BMI! But I would have been happy to have achieved low 70’s!
3. Did you get to the weight you wanted?
Yes plus more! I’m currently sitting at 62kg!
4. How do you feel now that you have had the surgery?
Amazing! My anxiety about my appearance has virtually disappeared! I don’t have too much of a problem with excess skin, and even bought a bikini for summer! Am loving buying new clothes and trying to figure out what my “style” is now I can buy a wider range of clothes!
5. Were there any problems along the way?
I have had a couple of instances of severe chest pain which was diagnosed as upper epigastric pain, and was advised by my surgeon to be extremely mindful of what I’m eating, plus use a medication he recommended when necessary. I also had my gallbladder removed due to the presence of stones about 12 weeks after my WLS but these may have been present before the surgery, not necessarily caused by it! I also lost a HEAP of hair between 3-6 months post-op!! It has settled now so focusing on my nutrition to try and grow some back!!
6. Would you do it again now that you know what you know?
Absolutely!! Although I’ve had a couple of ups and downs in my recovery, it is truly the best thing I have done! And not just because of how I look and feel, but also knowing I’ve reduced my risk of obesity related diseases!
7. What are some of the inspiring things you can think of that you have noticed along the way?
The reactions from friends and family have been very inspiring! My brother made the comment that for the first time in his life (he’s 36) I weigh less than him! Customers are commenting how good I look, and I’m wearing small sizes in clothing! I’ve also noticed I’m no longer breathless walking up hills or stairs!!
8. Did you have some happy unexpected surprises?
The main surprise is that my weight keeps going down! Even after a 3 week trip through central Australia, followed by a week in sunny QLD, I came home weighing less than when I left! My mood has also improved, and my relationships with my family are so much better now I’m not so riddled with anxiety!
9. What advice do you have for anyone preparing for surgery?
Do your research, listen to your surgeons advice, keep learning about nutrition and healthy living, and learn to either share meals or leave a heap of food on your plate when you eat out at a restaurant!
10. What is the one very best thing that has resulted from your surgery?
The best thing is finding happiness in my own skin! Liking what I see in the mirror, and not waking up each day dreading the decisions I would be making regarding my food choices! The hardest thing is changing my mindset with regard to finishing your meals! And eating out has its own challenges, however I honestly don’t regret a thing!