How I Lost 95 Pounds With VSG Surgery (Tijuana, Mexico)
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
I have been struggling with my weight for all of my adult life. It was not until I stepped on the scale and realized I gained back every single pound of my pregnancy weight, except I was not pregnant. That was a whopping 255 lbs at barely 5 feet tall. I was extremely depressed, I shut all of my friends out, I did not go willingly anywhere, and I made our family miss BBQs and events because I was embarrassed at how big I had gotten.
My neck, my lower back, and my knees ached daily. I was wearing a size 4x in shirts to hide my belly and 3x in bottoms. The day I stepped on the scale and it read 255 lbs was the day I told my, my boyfriend (now fiance), and my mom I was going to get the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) weight loss surgery.
Getting my passport, buying our plane tickets, and buying gadgets and tools to help after surgery were big moments during the first part of my journey. I made myself a weight loss tracker and with every 10 lbs, I lost I would buy myself something from my list. Setting these goals all the way to 100 lbs was a little intimidating but now almost 6 months into my journey and I am only 5 lbs shy of coloring in my entire tracker.
My fiance and I traveled to Tijuana, Mexico for my weight loss surgery. The whole experience in itself was amazing! I was not nervous at all. I was so ready to start my new life I was not nervous about the pain nor being in a different country for surgery. I remember thinking after waking up after surgery “today is the day I start the rest of my best life”.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
In all honesty, I have not worked out a single day since starting my most recent weight loss journey. I am currently a stay-at-home-mom/grad student. Most of my movement comes from cleaning the house and running around and playing with my 2-year-old. I have made a plan to break my journey up into 3 parts.
The first part is the weight loss part, the second part is my skin removal surgeries, and the third part is my gym/fitness journey. Right now I am still on the first part of my journey. Although I would love to have some “me” time and watch my reality TV shows at the gym instead of kids TV at home, right now I just do not have the energy to make that a priority. I am 100% for working out and am looking forward to getting back to the gym soon. When I have gone to the gym in the past it has dramatically improved my mental state.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
I have followed a low carb/keto diet on and off since 2017. Since VSG I have made this way of eating a lifestyle. I eat meats, cheeses, dairy (no milk), and cream sauces, and non-starchy veggies, and low sugar fruit. I post more in-depth on my social media accounts of my daily food choices.
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I drink a protein shake around 7 a.m. then a protein bar around noon. I eat a meal at 3 p.m. and then dinner at 5 p.m. Obviously these times vary a bit on the weekends and holidays but this is when my body seems to be hungry. I always eat my protein first and drink water in between each of my meals. If I do want a snack I will make sure it’s pure protein, either a cheese stick, pork rinds, or lunch meat.
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
My fiance and I had gone through some really rough patches. Not due to anything other than my mental state. I was so depressed that I was mean, agitated, and snippy. This affected my parenting skills, my children, my relationship with friends, our relationship, and literally every aspect of my life. Once I had it set in my head that I was getting weight loss surgery it is like something clicked, I just KNEW it was going to “save my life”.
Not that being “skinny” means being happy but if being morbidly obese made me completely miserable it couldn’t hurt losing the weight. VSG surgery does not fix binge eating, emotional eating, or just loving food. I had to work on my mental state. That meant getting myself into counseling and also starting an antidepressant.
With VSG being a portion control surgery at any given time I am only able to eat between 3-5 bites. Now if that sounds insanely hard for you to think about just imagine living this life every day. I knew what I signed up for so I am not discrediting the surgery but being addicted to food and suffering from binge and emotional eating for most of my adult life has not been easy.
One thing that most people might not realize when they say “oh, I couldn’t do that” is that people that have had bariatric surgery, have no other choice. If we take that 6th bite we either will have to run to the bathroom to puke, the VSG pouch will push up the food that does not fit and it just comes out. I needed this surgery to help with my portion control and to help my binge eating and so far it has been extremely successful.
When did you start to notice progress?
Once the swelling went down from surgery (6 weeks) I was able to see some progress in my abdomen area. And once I broke out of the 200s I feel like I really was able to see a difference.
I was about 170 lbs when I started NOT noticing the weight loss anymore. I feel like my body still looks the same but the circumference is shrinking. Right now I am 160 lbs with still 30 lbs to go to get into a healthy BMI range. I think I will be able to see more progress once I drop below 150.
I went from the morbidly obese category for my BMI of 48 to now almost an overweight BMI of 30. Since my weight has fluctuated so much these past four-plus years I have clothing sizes of 4x all the way down to a size ⅚.
As I have been losing weight, I have gotten rid of my bigger sizes and started bringing the smaller sizes out of storage. I am now finally able to wear some of my smallest clothes. This has been a “Woah, I lost weight” moment for sure. My fiance is really able to see and most of the people are able too but sometimes I still struggle to see the weight loss under the amounts of extra skin I have.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
At the beginning of my VSG journey, I bought myself a scale from Amazon. This scale came with directions to download an app called Arboleaf. The app tracks my weight, BMI, body fat, body type, visceral fat, muscle mass, body water, bone mass, BMR, and metabolic age. This app tracker has been extremely helpful in seeing my progress over time.
Since I have been eating low carb/keto on and off for over 4 years I know which foods are high and which are low carbs. This helps me NOT have to track my nutrition. For the most part between my shake and protein bar, it’s 10 grams of net carbs, and then my next two meals (3 pm and 5 pm) are the rest of my daily carbs if any.
Are there any other fitness products that you used frequently?
Yes! I religiously use my vitamin patches from PatchAid, I religiously eat protein bars from Built Bar, and I religiously drink protein shakes from Fairlife. I do use other products such as Quest, HighKey, RealGoodFoods, FlavorGod, and A la Madre. I have discounts on many of these products on my Linktree below 🙂
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
Yes! I have learned consistency is key! Make good habits in the beginning so they stick with you once you have achieved your weight loss goals. With VSG you have to take vitamins and supplements every day, these are as important as protein and water intake.
Shop at goodwill or other local thrift stores during your weight loss journey as it can be spendy buying a whole new wardrobe every other month. Be patient, don’t compare your progress to others, focus on your journey and get to know your new tummy well.
What is your best advice to someone looking to get weight loss surgery?
The first step is to talk to your doctor. Many people do not know that most insurances cover bariatric surgery (In the United States). I believe you must have a BMI above 35 with comorbidities (other health issues) or 40 BMI without. I could be wrong. Always best to check with your local family physician. I had joint pain, trouble sleeping, depression, and fatigue. All symptoms of obesity.
Where can we find more about you?
I am active on my social media accounts and always try to get back to my DMs. I also started a low carb/keto page back in 2017 during one of my weight loss attempts that has some more information on my journey. I have close to 5K pictures of recipes I have made and also most recently have shared my VSG experience with the world.
I also have an Instagram account that I share similar content. I am an open book. I share the good, the bad, the fat, and the ugly. I am a stay-at-home-mom, a step-mom, a graduate student in education, a bariatric patient, and also a low carb/keto enthusiast so I can relate to a lot of different groups.
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