VSG Surgery: How I Lost 154 Pounds In 13 Months
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
I’m from South Louisiana – where almost every aspect of life revolves around delicious, home-cooked food. So, I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. I was always heavier than most kids my age growing up. My parents owned a vending machine company when I was younger so being around an endless supply of snacks didn’t help much ever. However, I was active. I played sports, took dance classes, did gymnastics, and even cheered for a year. But I quit all of that once I got to high school. Then came college! I was 24, I moved from my hometown of Baton Rouge, LA to Dallas, TX and lost 60 pounds but ended up gaining that plus more once I moved back home.
When I was 29, I went for my annual checkup with my primary care physician and was diagnosed with pre-diabetes due to an elevated A1C. Before this, my blood work always came back within normal ranges. Being only 29 and having to rely on medicine was my “wake-up call” – that’s when I decided to look for options regarding having bariatric surgery since all of my life I spent dieting, to no avail.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
I work out usually 4-6 times a week. My mom and I go walking 2-3 times a week and we usually average 4-6 miles when we go. I also go to HIIT Bootcamp sessions at a local gym, “Be Better Fitness” about 5-6 times a week. Bootcamp and walking have been a major part of my workout routine.
Finding a balance between cardio and strength training is key. Most people need cardio to burn fat and then strength training to build muscle (to avoid loose skin). I’m thankful to have found the balance which has proven great success on my journey.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
My dietician and bariatric surgeon provided me with guidelines and goals I needed to focus on reaching. I get around 60-80 grams of protein daily along with a minimum of 64oz of water (I average about 80oz of water). Along with protein, I try to have green vegetables at mealtimes. I limit processed foods and carbohydrates. My dietician recommends no more than 30g of carbs daily – so I am very (strictly) low carb.
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My typical meal schedule is Meal 1: 2-3 shots of espresso, one Fairlife protein shake, caramel sugar-free syrup. Meals 2-3: my favorite protein (3oz-4oz) and 2oz-3oz of green vegetables. MY favorite vegetables are broccoli, okra, and green beans. I eat a lot of seafood (shrimp, salmon, sea bass, catfish). Having a smaller stomach, I average around 800 calories daily.
As a bariatric patient – we have to take an arsenal of vitamins to combat not being able to consume most nutrients through food. Daily I take Calcium, bariatric level Multi-vitamin, D3, B12, Biotin, Fiber, Zinc, and Thiamine.
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
To stay motivated, I remember how hard my life was at 350 pounds. I never realized how “hard” life was. It was my life – so it was all I knew. Once I lost weight, I realized life is much easier. People are nicer to you (which sucks once you realize it). Daily tasks are easier. Everything is much easier. So being able to remember the added stress and anxiety of being obese caused snaps to be back into grind mode rather quickly.
Some days I do indulge. But it’s always in moderation or very small portions. I have the mindset of “you probably already know what it tastes like” – so binging or using food to comfort me rarely happens as I rarely keep “snacks” in my house.
When did you start to notice progress?
I struggle with body dysmorphia most days. In my mind, I know I’ve lost weight but most days it’s hard to see. Some days, I notice my weight loss in the mirror. Some days, it takes me looking at an old picture to notice it. Some days, I “feel” lighter. It’s so crazy.
Most times, it takes a transformation/side-by-side picture to notice it. When I’m out shopping, I always have moments where I’m like “can I fit this?”
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I use the Baritastic app to track my food and progress. It’s an amazing app for bariatric patients. You can track your progress as well as set timers and reminders to take vitamins, drink water, etc. I have an Apple Watch as well. I track my workouts and always make it a point to close my rings. I synced the activity portion of my watch to my Baritastic app – which makes it easier to monitor my caloric deficit.
Are there any other fitness products that you used frequently?
I love my food scale. I even have a pocket one I keep in my purse. This makes it easier to track your food. They’re super cheap on Amazon.
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
I find meal prepping to be a great way to track your food and be in control. The downfall most people have is not being prepared and making unhealthy decisions on a whim. If you meal prep, you don’t really have to worry about what you’re eating.
I don’t have a problem with eating the same foods daily. I remember once – I made chili and when I portioned it out, I had 15 servings. I ate all 15 servings and didn’t have to freeze or throw away any food. If you don’t like eating the same thing daily, but don’t have time to cook daily. Maybe try using different seasonings on the food. When I prep – I will use different dry rubs and herbs on the same type of protein. That way, when you grab a meal – it’s something different each day.
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
People see transformation pictures and don’t realize all of the time, hard work, sweat, and sacrifice that has transpired between the two. A lot of people ask for advice and when you give different suggestions or advice – they respond with excuses. Once you’re ready everything will fall into place. You will make time to meal prep, exercise, and prioritize yourself.
Where can we find more about you?
You can find me on Instagram! @lets.bre.sleeved
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