100+ Pounds, Female, Weight Loss Surgery

How I Lost 161 Pounds With VSG Surgery

Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?

My name is Kaitlen and had always been considered morbidly obese my whole life. Even being raised with a parent who had undergone a bariatric procedure I still struggled mentally and emotionally with my relationships with food. I was always the bigger girl every year of school and never felt like I fit into any “groups” in school, mainly due to my size. I played some sports in my middle school years and the first couple years of high school, but again started to feel out of place in my skin and stopped playing in group sports. 

I remember the first time I met with a bariatric surgeon! I did my sleep study and blood work, I was 18 or 19. I went to a seminar and immediately thought – nope this is too much to do at this age. Honestly, now looking back at it – I wish I would have done it then. My weight continued to climb as I aged. I continued to be the “big girl.”

I tried multiple times dieting and exercising, but they never stuck or had the results that doctors expected to have. The day I had my moment of this really can not go on further, was the day I went wedding dress shopping. Nothing in the store was in my size. I was at my heaviest of around 362 pounds and a size 24/26. The largest size they had was a size 14. I had to buy my dress “picturing how beautiful I would look in the correct size,” as the saleswoman said. I made the appointment at a bariatric health office the next day.  

What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?

I love group classes. Yeah, that’s right. The girl who faded out of group activities is thriving at them now. My normal week consists of several different types of classes. Some days I do double classes.  

Right now my typical weeks looks like this:

Monday: 6 am kickboxing and weightlifting class and 6 pm STRONG class

Wednesday: 6 pm STRONG class

Thursday: 6:45 pm kickboxing class 

Friday: 6 am kickboxing class

Sundays: whatever pop-up class is happening (pound, glow boxing, Tabata,  or resistance band classes.)

The one thing I tell everyone is to find a place you are comfortable. I personally thrive in a gym or studio with like-minded individuals that are all extremely welcoming and judgment-free. I also just took that leap of faith and went to different classes. Try it before completely shutting it down as an option.

What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?

Having VSG means I eat super small servings sizes but focus on hitting a protein goal each day. I typically have 3 meals a day and a couple of snacks. What I love most about my tool is it allows me to still have healthy options of my favorite foods – like sushi or pizza! My thing is staying in a deficit. More calories out than in! 

I have become quite the maverick at tracking my macros and calculating my deficit. My personal rule is if I eat it – I log it. I find that inputting my meals the night before, helps me stay on track and avoid binging on foods. 

With having weight loss surgery I do have to keep up on my vitamins. I take a bariatric multivitamin, calcium, and vitamin D. I also take collagen to help with tightening of excess skin. 

Breakfast: Protein coffee 

Lunch: Spinach salad / low carb tortilla pizza/quest chip nachos/egg beaters scramble with spinach, turkey sausage, and goat cheese. 

Dinner: We usually do a protein and a low-carb side. My wife is not a bariatric patient so we try to have something that fits my diet and hers! Our go-to is chicken breast with sauteed veggies or ground turkey/chicken taco salads. 

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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?

Everyone slips up! It will happen! I think the biggest thing is realizing that you have had a “slip up” and moving forward. One thing that I have really focused on during my journey is that there is no BAD food, just unhealthy options. I never want to give food a good or bad label again. I notice that with my habits giving something a “bad” label – makes me want to binge it. 

I am motivated by all the things I want to do in life. Eventually, my wife and I want to start a family, and being the size I was, I could not have a healthy pregnancy or give my kids the best quality of life. I also am motivated by how much my confidence has increased. I also know that with some of the diseases and illnesses that run in my family, having the extra weight was putting me higher at risk.

When did you start to notice progress?

I started noticing results within the first month. I was sleeping better, I had more energy, and clothes were definitely fitting differently. For me in the first month, I had a total loss of 30.2 pounds and I had left the numbers beginning with 3 in the past forever!

It was just weeks after that I was wearing clothes that I had not worn in years and buying the next size down in jeans!

Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress? 

I use an app that is tailored to bariatric patients. It knows that you are going to have a lower calorie intake daily and it also helps keep track of your weight loss and set milestones for your progress. 

My favorite part is that it does pair with my Apple Watch which I use to track all my workouts! I use my Apple Watch to also make sure I am hitting my daily goals for standing and steps.

Are there any other fitness products that you used frequently?

I would be lost without my Renpho scale! It is a Bluetooth smart scale that helps calculate your BMI, body fat, fat-free weight, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, body water, skeletal muscle, muscle mass, bone mass, protein, and metabolic age. 

Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?

The head hunger does not go away with weight loss surgery. My biggest advice that was given to me was to test your hunger. If I know that I should not be hungry yet, usually anything before 2-3 hours between meals, I try to drink some water first.

Most of my head hunger comes from me just being thirsty. This is why it is always important to hit those water goals!  

What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?

TAKE PICTURES! 

I wish I took more. I was so self-conscious of my body and size before surgery that I never took photos. Now looking back I wish I had them to look back on.  

Water. Water. Water. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. You can not have a healthy weight loss without either of those options. I notice when I “stall” it is normally due to lack of water and/or sleep. 

Where can we find more about you?

Instagram is my stomping grounds! I originally started my page to motivate myself and keep myself accountable. I ended up surrounding myself with some of the most supportive and influential people! You can find me @kaitlen_vsgjourney

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