Gastric Sleeve Surgery Review
This interview with my long time friend, Stacey Becker, is long over due. I’ve been waiting on the right time to ask her to share her story and for her “bare it all” Gastric Sleeve Surgery Review. Sometimes, the things I ask of my friends is tough. I know I ask them to be “over sharers” often and they aren’t always super willing to divulge all the deets- but I truly believe, when we can share our story and help another? Then it’s worth it.
Let’s go back to the beginning of 2015, I get a message from one of my dearest friends who says she has decided to have the gastric sleeve. I was a nervous wreck. I tried to talk her out of it, I promised to help her any way I could, give her any program I had– anything to keep her from going under the knife. Why? I will admit it: I was selfish. What if something happened to her? What if something went wrong? What if she didn’t make it through? What would “I” do?!? I was only thinking of myself. Not once in those first few days, did I think of her or why she was making this decision. I was only worried that I would lose my friend. I would never get to talk to her again, I would never see her “coffee break” posts on Facebook again, and I would never have late night chats again. Then, it dawned on me- I hadn’t been a good friend. I needed to pull my head out of my rear end and be supportive of her. I needed to let her know I was here no matter what, I was her cheerleader, and I started digging for my mustard seeds of faith. My prayers started that day. I asked God to keep her safe and if this is the right choice for her, then I will be by her side.
I did great with my friend duties, making sure I always cheered her on, never letting her know my fears! Up until the day before she left. Fear, worry, and terror overtook me. I told her I wanted constant updates: when she got to the hospital, when she got to the room, someone needs to let me know after surgery, how did she feel that night, who was staying there, the next day I wanted a followup, etc. It was constant. I messaged her frequently to check on her.
I tell you this because I wanted you to hear the side of a friend, so if you decide surgery is the avenue for you- it affects all those who love you. Not just you. Also, weigh all the options: surgery isn’t for everyone. You have to do what is right for you! Stacey didn’t wake up one day with this decision, she did quite a bit of extensive research, visited several doctors, and tried other techniques first. There is no “easy” way to weight loss. No matter which option you choose, it’s all hard!
Here is Stacey’s story:
Tell me about your weight loss journey prior to surgery
I lost over 100 pounds THREE different times in the last decade. Each time, I did what everyone knows they need to do. I changed my diet and I exercised. The first 100+ pound loss was the least difficult. I remember exactly what I ate and I ate it nearly everyday. Breakfast was yogurt. Lunch was a big salad. Dinner was a chicken breast, frozen spinach, and diced tomatoes. I used the elliptical machine everyday for 45 minutes. Within 6 months, I was at a reasonable weight and I basically just slipped back into old habits and the weight came right back. The 2nd 100+ pounds loss was much harder. I had to workout around 90 minutes a day and I had to start cutting my calories down to around 1300-1500 a day to lose. It took much longer this time and I was up and down the entire way. I was so burned out on the restrictions of this lifestyle by the time I got the weight off that I was depressed and truly not even happy that my weight was back almost to a “normal” range. The final 100+ pounds loss, I nearly broke my body. It didnt seem to matter what I ate, the only way the weight was coming off was through hours of hard core exercise every single day. A very typical day for me was an Insanity workout, followed by a P90X workout, followed by a 5 mile run or I would do an Iron Bombshell workout then head out for a 10-15 mile run. I was running 50-60 miles a week on top of very intensive workout programs. I would workout until I was physically and mentally exhausted. I would injure myself. I would have to skip working out for a couple weeks and 15-20 pounds would come back that quick. I read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition, diet, exercise. I became a Certified Nutritionist, a Certified Weight Loss Specialist, and a Certified Personal Trainer ALL trying to figure out why things werent working for me. I did what everyone was telling me to do, exactly the way I was suppose to, I was watching different things work for different people and nothing was working for me. The weight always came off then it always came back.
Did you ever see a Doctor to see if there was something going on medically?
I went to several doctors over the years. The first doctor told me I need to just cut out condiments. Yes, that was her answer to my problems. Stop eating ketchup and salad dressing. Lol Most doctors just told me I need to lose weight. They never really told me how or encouraged me in any way, mostly just used scare tactics: If you dont lose weight your health will suffer. About 6 years ago, I asked my doctor about Gastric Bypass surgery. He told me he thought it was a great idea. He told me after the age of 30 if I hadnt lost weight and kept it off, I never would. I made an appointment for a consultation and found out it was not covered by my insurance so I quickly decided I couldnt do it. I finally found a doctor that tested all my hormones and found everything was normal. She ran blood work and told me I was completely healthy. She told me, I wasnt losing weight and keeping it off because my metabolism was so damaged from the years of weight issues that it was practically non-existent. She told me I could spend a lot of time correcting it or I could look into surgery.
What made you choose surgery?
I chose surgery because I was 40 years old and I was tired. It was that simple. I had put in my
time working myself half to death. I had lost the weight. I had spent the hours working out. It was no longer even about my weight, it was about my FREEDOM. I wanted to be free from food being my ever waking thought. I wanted to be free from weighing and measuring everything I ate. I wanted to be free from working out so hard that I hurt myself. I wanted to be free from the guilt of wanting a piece of birthday cake to celebrate my boys’ birthdays.
What type of surgery did you choose? And why?
I chose Gastric Sleeve. First, I dont want to come across like Im being critical of anyone who chose a different type of surgery! Im just sharing why I chose what I felt was best for ME. I researched Lap Band, Gastric Bypass, and Gastric Sleeve. I found a lot of people didnt have success with Lap Band and they had to have their bands removed or they had to have another surgery later due to no weight loss. I wasnt comfortable with something being left inside me either. Gastric Bypass scared me because with the re-routing of your digestive system, you lose a lot of nutrients when you eat. Gastric Sleeve seemed to be the right answer for me. It removes most of your stomach, but doesnt change the rest of your digestive system to you still absorb nutrients from everything you eat. This surgery also helps reset your metabolism and removes the part of your stomach that produces the hormone that makes you feel hunger.
When did you have your surgery?
May 26th, 2015
How much have you lost so far?
What do you eat now?
I eat 3 meals a day, about ½ cup of food per meal. I eat protein first, then produce. An example day can look something like this:
- Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon
- Lunch: 2 oz ground beef, a couple of bites of roasted cauliflower
- Dinner: 2 oz Filet Mignon, a few bites of peas with cream cheese
Do you feel hungry throughout the day? Do you have cravings?
I never feel hungry. I have to eat by the clock now or I forget. I know Ive forgotten because I will start to feel tired, but not hungry. Cravings are a little different. I dont have physical cravings anymore, but there are a couple times that Ive missed the social aspect of sitting down with some junk food and watching football on TV or ordering Chinese with my family and watching a movie. It really fades quickly though and the further out from surgery I get, the less often I have those types of feelings.
What happens if you eat to much? Will you gain weight back?
Its impossible to eat too much at one time because your tiny stomach can only hold up to 4oz of food. You quickly learn not to take that final bite after you feel full because it wont stay down. However, I still have to make the right food choices just like everyone else. I can choose to eat my protein and produce the way Im suppose to OR I can choose to eat pasta and junk food and take in too many calories. I can choose to eat between meals and take in too many calories. I can choose to drink my calories with sugary drinks. Why do you think youve found success with surgery? Surgery is a tool like everything else! Its not a free pass. You still have to make good choices. I think part of my success comes from putting in the time and effort to learn about nutrition and exercise, putting in the hard work to lose weight all those times before. It makes me appreciate this new tool more than anything. I know the pain of watching the scale go back up after working so hard to get the weight off. It has allowed ALL those things to work that people were telling me to do over the years. Now when I eat right and exercise, the weight comes off and stays off. I think if I had chosen surgery at any point sooner on my weight loss journey, I wouldnt have appreciated it and maybe I wouldnt have taken FULL advantage of what it offers.
Not a single one. I wake up everyday with the freedom to live life without being tied to my guilt, my scale, my food trackers, my exercise trackers, etc… Food is truly there simply to fuel my body
throughout the day. Of course, Im happier when I look in the mirror, but Im mostly happy to be able to live my life again. If anyone has any questions that we didnt cover here, please feel free to connect them to me and Ill be happy to answer specific questions or give details about where I went for my surgery and why!
Thank you so much Stacey for telling your story!!