How I Lost 117 Pounds In 1 Year With Gastric Bypass Surgery
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
Hi, my name is Ashley. I am 26 years old. My favorite color is yellow, I have two dogs and I have struggled with being overweight all my life. In August I got Gastric Bypass surgery. One of the primary motivating factors for me in deciding to lose weight was because I wanted to live again.
It felt like my weight was becoming such a limiting factor in my enjoyment of life that I could not try new things or even enjoy the activities I am passionate about not only because they were physically difficult for me but because I would feel too embarrassed to leave the house. I love going on walks, going on hikes, being active outdoors, and traveling to and exploring new places. These are all activities I am very passionate about that my weight was preventing me from doing.
Aside from that, there was also the fear of dying in my sleep due to my weight which was obviously a terrible thought to fall asleep to. Lastly, I suffered a back injury shortly after beginning my weight loss journey which was a huge motivating factor for me because I felt my weight was a cause of the injury, and losing weight would be beneficial in recovering from the injury.
Many times in the past I had thought about losing weight but this time felt different because I actually took steps to make it happen. I felt the desire to improve myself not only physically but mentally as well.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
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Working out has not been a major factor in my Weight Loss Journey thus far, in part due to my back injury which I am still dealing with, but before my injury, I would go on daily walks with my aunt around our neighborhood and during the quarantine, I would also participate in a circuit exercise routine hosted by my coworker on Zoom. Unfortunately, I suffered my back injury shortly thereafter which limited the amount of exercise I can do.
As I have lost weight my back health has started to improve and my body is beginning to feel like it is capable of more. My boyfriend owns a treadmill and an exercise bike and I have begun to workout on those. I plan to use the bike and the treadmill and when the pandemic subsides I also want to go for more walks and hikes in nature.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
I would say that my nutrition during my weight loss journey can be divided into three distinct phases: Before Surgery, immediately before and after surgery, and Post Surgery.
Before Surgery: All my life I struggled with binge eating so the initial challenge for me was to try to break that habit while developing better eating habits. I was on the Weight Watchers plan to track my food intake. I found the Weight Watchers plan to be beneficial to me because it helped me eat healthier and more well-balanced meals while also allowing me to indulge occasionally and in moderation.
Immediately Before/After Surgery: In the two weeks before weight loss surgery I was on a Liquid Diet which was extremely difficult. After surgery, I was so nauseous for the first two months that I found it difficult to eat anything.
Post Surgery: I haven’t been following a strict diet but my gastric bypass surgery has helped curb my appetite and allowed me to confront my binge eating head-on. To develop better eating habits I have focused on eating more well-rounded meals with protein as a focal point. I have also included more fruits and vegetables into my diet and drink more water and juice instead of soda.
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
Oftentimes it is easy to want to give up as I have in the past, but whenever I feel like quitting, I look at how far I have come in my weight loss journey and realize that 100 pounds ago, I would kill to be where I am now. I also am lucky to have a great support system around me and I know that I can always reach out to my friends, my family, and my boyfriend for support if I am feeling unmotivated.
The biggest piece of advice I would give to your readers would be this: Don’t be so hard on yourself (which is easier said than done I know). If you slip up it is not the end of the world. Above all else remember to practice self-love which will help us work on getting past the issues that make us want to quit. Fixing these issues will help keep you on course. An additional note for any readers considering weight loss surgery: don’t let people tell you that weight loss surgery is the easy way out or that you are lesser for considering it. Weight loss is just as much mental as it is physical and you are brave for starting the journey and for persevering.
When did you start to notice progress?
To be honest, noticing my own progress has been extremely difficult for me. There are times where I will look in the mirror and not notice a difference at all. I will stare at myself and still see the body I had 117 pounds ago. On bad days like that where I don’t notice my own progress, I can always turn to my support system and can count on them to remind me of how far I have come.
Another way I help myself realize how much weight I have lost is by looking at before and after pictures. Seeing my weight loss side by side really illustrates how far I have come. There were a few moments I had where my weight loss sunk in.
Right before my surgery, I tied a string around my stomach. A few months later I put the string around myself and was blown away by how much weight I had lost. Another “wow” moment was trying on clothes that used to be too tight or unwearable and feeling like they are too big for me now.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
To track and document my progress I have been posting regularly on my Instagram. This includes before and after pictures, as well as weekly weigh-ins, and posting stories where I will discuss not only my weight loss progress but also mental health which is as important to weight loss as nutrition and exercise are.
Before surgery, I would use weight watchers to track my nutrition, but after surgery, I have not been using any nutrition trackers. Baritastic is really popular in the Weight Loss Surgery Community for tracking weight and logging food and exercise though!
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
Not so much a hack but a helpful tip is finding someone in your life who can hold you accountable while also providing advice and support. For me, that person is my best friend Holly because she has also gone through weight loss surgery so she understands the challenges that come with it.
She is my lifeline and I know I can always reach out to her to talk me off a ledge (or in this case a refrigerator shelf).
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
Mental Illness Happy Hour with Paul Gilmartin is a podcast I listen to frequently which helped me better understand my past relationship with food as well as my binge eating disorder.
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
Every journey can feel daunting and insurmountable at the start but do not allow yourself to be intimidated by the journey. Know that you will not succeed or fail in one day. It is called a journey for that reason.
You can start with small steps. Small steps can lead to big changes. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for so you might as well start proving yourself wrong today.
Where can we find more about you?
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