One year

By Jess

Good lord, has it really been almost two months since I posted? How did that happen? It’s a good thing I’m not the only blogger

around here, huh? I guess the thing is just that everything is proceeding according to routine, and that doesn’t make for the most fascinating blog posts.

But I did hit the one-year anniversary of my surgery a couple weeks ago. I didn’t even think of it on the actual day (I was in France) but I remembered it the next day and felt pretty pleased with myself.

In the year since my surgery:

  • I’ve lost a bit more than 80 pounds.
  • All of my health indicators (blood sugar, thyroid, vitamin levels, cholesterol) have stabilized in the normal range. (In fact, I lost so much weight that my endocrinologist had to decrease my Synthroid dose.)
  • I’ve gone down four or five dress sizes.
  • My heart health has improved drastically (I’m currently working out at level 11 for the full half-hour while maintaining my heart rate in the 130s).
  • My menstrual cycle has completely normalized and become quite regular.

The surgery isn’t a magic bullet. It has been a lot of hard work, and continues to be. Having a lap-band doesn’t mean that I don’t have to think about my choices. I do, and I am careful about what I eat. But I am not so careful that I never indulge. I still eat dessert sometimes, and chips sometimes. But only small amounts, and I don’t feel guilty about it afterward.

But mostly I eat healthy foods: Greek yogurt for breakfast, spinach salad with chicken for lunch, lean grilled meats for dinner. I’m so glad it’s summer. Grilled food is yummy and prepared without added fats or calories. We had planned to grill year-round, but with the Denver winters that ended up not happening. So last winter I went back to cooking lots of delicious healthy recipes, and that worked out pretty well. But now that it’s summer it’s more about protein and veggies, and less about carbs and sauces, and that is definitely a good thing.

So, what’s next? Well, I want to keep losing weight and getting fitter. I haven’t forgotten about that triathlon (I need to get a bike so I can start training). I would say I’m about 40 pounds away from my goal weight. Of

course with the lap-band those last 40 pounds are usually the slowest, but now I know it’s an achievable place for me. And when I get there we’ll see if that’s really where I want to be. It’s hard to know, when I’ve never been at a healthy weight, what that sweet spot will be for me.

But I will say, even if I never lost another pound, this surgery has already been a huge success.


5 Responses to “One year”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Can I ask a question about the surgery and how you eat after it? If you are limiting your diet to what sounds to me like a reasonable caloric intake as you describe, what was the point of the lap-band? It sounds to me like you could just have adopted that diet and skipped the surgery. I am not trying to be a jerk, so I hope it doesn’t sound that way: I simply do not understand how the surgery works/what it does and I’m hoping you can clear it up for me. Congrats on all those health improvements!

  2. Jess Says:

    Sarah–you don’t sound like a jerk at all! It’s a totally reasonable question. I eat about 1200 calories a day. I suppose theoretically I could have done that without surgery, but I would have been miserable and hungry nonstop, and then I would have ended up eating more than I should, and going back and forth like a yoyo, which is in fact exactly what I did for years before I had the surgery. I don’t think it is reasonable to ask someone who hasn’t had the surgery to stick to 1200 calories a day for the rest of their life.

    The way the lap-band works is by holding all the food you consume in the top of your stomach, where the nerve endings are that tell your brain that your stomach is full. So, you eat not very much and then your brain thinks you’re full, and slowly over the course of the next few hours the food passes through the bottleneck created by the band and then you become hungry again. Without the band the stomach would have to be filled entirely before I felt full, meaning that sticking to 1200 calories a day would have been an unhappy and unrealistic experience for me.

    Does that make sense?

  3. Kt Says:

    Congrats Jess! I can’t believe that it has already been a year! You have made so much progress and I have no doubts that you will lose the last 40 lbs. :-)

  4. erica Says:

    Congratulations, and again thanks for sharing your journey. I’ll be done with my 6 month supervised diet (required by my insurance co.) in a few weeks and will then be crossing my fingers that my surgery is approved. I can’t wait. The things you’ve shared have definitely helped me prepare for a new reality post-surgery, and to know that it is not a quick fix in any way.

  5. Sarah Says:

    Yes, totally. Thanks! I never knew that about how the stomach fills only slowly – no wonder it works! And yes, 1200 calories a day without help would be a very tough thing to ask.