1. You will doubt your decision and question if it was the right thing for you.
But let me tell you something, if I could go back and do it over, I would do it exactly the same again. This surgery has changed my life in so many ways. I’ve lost over 120 lbs in less than a year and am only 25 lbs away from my goal weight. I don’t even think I could put into words how amazing this surgery has been for my life because there are so many positives that came from it. Of course, it’s not the same for everyone, but for me, I wouldn’t go back.
2. The first few weeks of post-op, when you are on the liquid diet, you are going to get frustrated.
A lot. I missed chewing food. Oh god, I missed it. I would fantasize about chewing a big crunchy sandwich. That being said, once you are able to eat, slow and steady. You’ll want to try to eat something before you’re supposed to and it will hurt. Not to mention it could cause a leak. I tried eating a tater tot before I was supposed to and it was the worst choice of my life.
3. You need to hydrate.
This is seriously not a joke and I can’t stress how important this is. They tell you to sip for a reason. Set timers, write notes, whatever it takes to remember, do it. If you don’t hydrate, bad things happen. Dehydration is the #1 reason patients end up back in the hospital after surgery. Plus, fainting really hurts when you hit the ground.
4. When you lose your first 10, 15, 20, 50 lbs post surgery, do not go on a shopping spree!
Thrift stores and discounts/sales will be your best friend. Trust me on this one, your wallet and your closet space will thank you. After you lose 20+ lbs and your clothes start to hang off you a little, just wait for things to smooth out because there’s a lot more weight to lose before your shopping spree.
5. When in doubt, go back to the basics.
Every single patient is going to fall off the wagon at some point post-op. For me, it was sugar. Once you start to eat solid food again, you will miss all of those foods that got you to the surgeon in the first place. If you feel like your diet is slipping again, start over. Go back to liquids and build yourself back up again. You will feel awful when you’re hiding in the pantry closet, stuffing three cookies in your mouth before anyone can find you. The best thing for you (and your body) is to just push the reset button.
6. You may develop other “symptoms” or issues.
This surgery is a huge shock to your system and things can get wonky. Having excess weight is a nightmare to your body. Your joints and muscles have to carry your weight around all day. But once you relieve them of that weight, it takes some time for things to normal out. Keep track of your symptoms in a journal and bring them to your doctor. Some of them are nothing to worry about but there are some that could be life threatening and will want to be dealt with immediately.
7. You will lose your hair and your skin will change.
Your body just went through a major renovation and now absorbs food differently. There are so many important vitamins and minerals that you should be getting xx amount of every day to stay healthy and now that your body can’t process things the same way, you may need to supplement what you’re missing. It may not bother you which is fine but not something to be ignored.
8. Take your damn vitamins.
This kind of relates to number 7. Your doctor recommended them for a reason. You will want to take the vitamins the doctor recommends but there are some others you can consider to take on top of them. Of course, talk to your doctor first but I take biotin, enzymes, and a prenatal. Prenatals are actually awesome because they have everything you need in it plus some. Like I said, talk to your doctor first. Don’t just say “well some lady on the internet said it’s ok so…” because they will actually hate you for that.
9. People will treat you differently.
This one was hard for me to move past and somedays, I still am not over it. I like to think of myself as a nice and friendly person. I think I am pretty outgoing and chatty to just about anyone that is willing to talk to me. I’ve always been that way. Weight is one of those things that unfortunately is a “red flag” or “turn off” to people. After I started to lose weight, I noticed men specifically treating me differently. Guys I approached before my surgery who rejected me, all of a sudden were interested in me. The ego-boost was great but I got on a power trip and realized that they were only into me for the superficial reasons and I’m not ok with that. I had to stay true to myself and sadly, that meant cutting people and negativity out of my life.
10. You will have skin. Lots of it.
I’m not talking about just your normal skin, I’m talking about sagging, wrinkled, stretched, scarred, and stained skin. This is the part that no one really wants to talk about because let’s be honest, it’s gross. The hardest part about it is that it’s a constant reminder of what “used to be”. My thighs have ripples, my stomach hangs over, my arms sag, my calves jiggle; it’s just the nature of the game. I felt (and still sometimes feel) so disgusting and unattractive. There are surgeries that you can do for skin removal if that’s the route you wish to take. It takes time for your skin to shrink back. Some people will always have that loose skin and that’s perfectly ok. Just remember why you did this surgery and that you are beautiful no matter what. I know, cliche but it’s true and important to remember that.
11. You are going to meet so many new people and make so many new friends.
Seriously. I walked into a Victoria’s Secret and told the lady that I just lost a bunch of weight and wanted to buy something to make me feel sexy again. She congratulated me and asked me what I did and I told her all about the surgery. Turns out, the manager there had the same surgery. We traded numbers and are friends. The point is the support system is amazing. Everyone that’s had some kind of weight loss surgery is so supportive of each other. I’ve had people come to me and message me asking for advice or questions about the surgery. It’s just amazing how much support you can find post-op.
12. The most important thing is to remember that you did this surgery for you.
No one else. You have to remember what you’re putting your body through and that this is a huge change that will affect the rest of your life. You’re going to have ups and downs. You’re going to love it and hate it. You’re going to push your limits and test how far you can go with things and you’re going to fall off the wagon. Just remember that you’re not the only one who’s going through this and there are so many people out there to talk to. I honestly don’t know if I would’ve been able to make it this far without some of the people I met along the way. Take things one day at a time and enjoy the new life you’ve been given because before you know it, you’ll have the entire world at your feet. All you have to do is just take the first step.