I had my Gastric Bypass Surgery August 9, 2011. Before that I wasn’t active at all! In fact I had gone to Hawaii in June of 2011 and while I was there I went to a ukulele concert with my brother at the Aquarium at Waikiki Beach. We were sitting on the ground for the entire thing. My hips hurt so bad sitting there and I couldn’t even get up off the ground by myself after the concert. I had to keep switching my weight from side to side because my hips hurt so bad! My brother is 9 years older than me and also pretty overweight and he didn’t have any problem getting up off the ground at all. I could hardly walk after I got up off the ground because my legs and hips hurt so bad. I was embarrassed because I had to have my brother and a guy that was sitting next to us help me up off the ground. I also thought while flying over there that I was going to have to ask for a seat belt extender the next time I went on a trip. That’s when I really decided it was time to have gastric bypass surgery before I got any bigger, but I didn’t know how I would pay for it because my health insurance didn’t cover it.
The day of my surgery I kept nagging the nurse to take me on a walk because Dr. Smith told me I should start walking that day. Finally around 6:30 after nagging the nurse all afternoon, I took the nurse for a walk. She said I probably shouldn’t have walked so far ahead of her and if I had been dizzy or groggy, I would have stayed with her but I felt pretty good considering I had just had surgery. Later that night I took another walk by myself which they said I could do and I took one the next morning by myself. I started walking every day when I got home.
I bought a used gazelle glider on ksl.com for $20.00 and started using it 12 days after my gastric bypass surgery. Then a month after the surgery I joined Curves. I hadn’t measured myself when I had the surgery, but since starting to go to Curves I’ve lost a total of 60 inches. I had lost at least 3 inches off my waist before joining Curves. I like Curves because it’s circuit training so you work on each machine for 30 seconds, and then move onto the next one. You go around twice. It’s a 30 minutes workout and it works your entire body. I also like that it’s just for women! From what I understand, they have circuit training at Planet Fitness, too! I completed a couch to 5k program recently. I actually enjoy running now which I never thought I would even attempt doing, but it clears your head and it’s a great stress reliever.
Another thing I do to get more exercise is to park as far away in the parking lot at work as I can, and I do that at the stores, too. This is for two reasons. One is because I don’t want to get my new car dented and the other of course is to increase my exercise. LOL!
We have a program at work called Healthy Lifestyles and because of my weight loss ,my blood pressure, my A1-C and exercise improving this past year, I got $400 back in March.
I went to Washington D.C. in July for my niece’s wedding and didn’t really get a chance to exercise much, and I wasn’t eating the right things a lot of the time that I was there. I started to get really depressed so I increased my exercise again last week and started eating better and within a couple days my depression was pretty much gone! I never experienced the depression right after surgery that other people talk about, or maybe I thought I didn’t, because I was already depressed because my mom had died 4 months before I had my surgery. About two months after my mom died, I asked my doctor for anxiety medicine. I think I took three pills and then got rid of them. I didn’t think they did anything for me anyway.
I had a brother die two years ago from over medicating on his own prescription drugs. He was only 56. He was 5 years older than me and I’m way too young to die. His unexpected death scared me because he was so young! He had depression and anxiety, and he thought if a little was good, more was better, so he over medicated a lot. I’ve never been one to take a lot of pills and seeing what he went through, I don’t ever want to do that. In fact, after my surgery when I got home I took liquid extra strength Tylenol for about a day and a half, and that was all I needed. Hopefully I won’t ever have to use any medication for depression since exercise seems to work for me.
I think at the Risks and Benefits Seminar I went to before my surgery, Dr. Sherman Smith said gastric bypass surgery will do about 80 percent of your weight loss, if you stick to the diet but you still have to do the other 20 percent yourself. Exercise will help you get there faster. I’ve lost maybe 40 pounds before on other diets and only lost one clothing size because I wasn’t exercising while losing the weight, so I wasn’t toning or losing inches.
With this surgery I was in a size 2X top and size 24 pants. My work pants were men’s extra-large and I couldn’t button the top two buttons any more. I’m now in medium men’s work pants and I have to cinch them up on the sides. I wear medium in women’s shirts and size 12 pants. When I ever have my tummy tuck, I’m sure I’ll be in smaller clothes than I am now. I can fit into one leg of the size 24 pants I wore now. I’ve dieted before and lost 40 or more pounds, and only lost one clothing size because I wasn’t exercising. Exercise will help you get to your goal faster.
I went on a couple of hikes with my brothers two weeks ago and I didn’t get winded at all. They weren’t huge hikers but they were an incline and first hike was about a mile up and the second one we went a little further. I wouldn’t have been able to do that a year ago. My health has improved so much since losing the weight and starting to exercise. I had asthma, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and plantar faciaitis, knee and back pain and high cholesterol. I still have the high cholesterol, but all the other health issues are gone! I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am now without exercising. I bet I have added at least another 10-15 years to my life. Exercise has helped my self-confidence and my self-esteem. There is no way that I would have given the talk I gave at the support group on August 1st a year ago. I’m happier and more positive now. People comment on how much happier I am and that I’m always smiling. I’ve been told I look 20 years younger. I even had a girl at work tell me a couple weeks ago that I look taller now. I’m sure that is because I don’t slouch anymore, because I don’t have the back pain I had before. The best part is that I’m the thinnest sibling now and I’ve never weighed less than my brothers! I’m the youngest, tallest and the only girl so to weight more than all my brothers for most of my adult life wasn’t too great! I just wish my parents were here to see how well I’m doing now. My mom didn’t want me to have the surgery, because she was concerned about the health risks and I wouldn’t have been able to pay for it without the inheritance money I got after she passed away. I tell people the joke is on my mom, because she paid for the surgery, but I know she and my dad would both be pleased at how well I’m doing if they were alive!
Tips for exercising
- Any movement at all is better than no movement! If you get 15 minute breaks at work walk on both breaks. You could also walk on your lunch hour.
- Start out slow and increase your exercise slightly every time you exercise by a minute or two.
- If you miss exercising for some reason one time, get right back to doing as soon as you can. It’s so easy to quit when you miss one time like that.
- Park as far away from work and the store as possible.
- Change your exercise routine also. I go to Curves two or three times a week and I try to run two to three times a week.
- Work out different parts of your body on different days. Also change up how many of each exercise you do periodically. If you do the same thing day after day, your body will memorize the movement and you won’t lose any more weight or inches. It’s called muscle memory. It’s just like when you get in the car and everything is pretty much automatic because you do it all the time. I had a neighbor when I was growing up that walked every day and she never lost weight because she wasn’t challenging for lack of a better work her body.
Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians
1160 East 3900 South, Suite 4100
SLC, UT 84124