Weight loss without surgery

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275 Pounds Lost: Theresa Relieves RA and Proves That Bariatric Surgery Isn’t the Only Way

Name: Theresa Borawski

Age: 50

Location: Lake, Michigan

Before: 428 lbs.

After: 153 lbs.

What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight?

I had several incidents that led up to the beginning of my weight loss journey. My beloved grandmother died in late January, 2011.

At the funeral, a cousin asked me, “What are you going to do now, Miss Borawski. Who’s going to pray for you now that grandma is gone?” I blurted out, “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to WALK again.” Sounded good, but how? I weighed 428 pounds and was in a wheelchair or wheeled walker. They were just words I blurted out in grief, or so I thought.

A few weeks later, I broke two teeth while sleeping. The dentist told me that I was consuming too much sugar. In my case, it was in the form of a soda addiction. Her words fell on deaf ears, but apparently the seed was planted. The following week, my rheumatologist told me that there wasn’t anything else he could suggest to help with my rheumatoid arthritis. When I told him that “I couldn’t live like this much longer,” he said frankly, “Theresa, I’d be more concerned about just living period.”

I decided if he couldn’t do anything for me, I had better do something for myself, but wasn’t sure what. I hadn’t been on a diet in years. I was more than 200 pounds overweight, and couldn’t even walk to my mailbox. What was I going to do? Three days later, a conversation with my sister was the final catalyst needed to start me on a journey that would change my life completely. I decided that I no longer wanted to live a life of pain, sadness, and immobility.

When did you start trying to lose weight?

On March 1, 2011, I weighed 428 pounds. That evening, I had a phone conversation with my sister. She called that evening to tell me that she had scheduled a date to have bariatric weight loss surgery. I expressed my fears and concerns about the surgery and begged her not to go through with her plan. I told her that there must be another way, but she had already made up her mind to proceed with the surgery.

Unable to convince her, I hung up the phone and immediately said out loud, “I’m going to show you! There is another way!” At that moment, something clicked in my mind, and I never looked back. By Labor Day I had already lost 100 pounds, and another 58 by Christmas. By March 1, 2013, I had lost a total of 275 pounds and I have not looked back!

How did you get started?

After hanging up the phone with my sister, I opened the refrigerator and noticed that I had six 2-liter bottles of soda in there. A quick calculation told me that I was consuming close to 1,000 empty calories per DAY with my soda addiction. I began by emptying the bottles down the drain. Next came the sugar bowl. The next day I went to the store and purchased low calorie bread, fruits and vegetables and I purchased a calorie counting book. I began to count calories and completely cut out junk food, sugar, and sweets. For the first couple of weeks, I switched to diet soda, but a few weeks later, I was drinking only water with sugar-free flavored packets. I was unable to do any exercise because I was immobile and could not walk or stand for more than a few minutes at a time. After losing the first 100 pounds or so, I began to take a few steps at a time, increasing my distance each day, until I was able to walk a mile. November 1, 2012, I walked into a gym for the first time in my life and learned to use the treadmill. It was quite an experience! Now I can walk 2-3 miles without difficulty.

What was your biggest challenge?

It sounds a bit strange, but one of the biggest challenges for me was the high cost of purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables and nutritious food. I was consuming only about 1000-1200 calories a day and eating a whole lot LESS food, but my grocery bill increased dramatically. I used to eat junk food, processed food, boxed mac and cheese, Little Debbie snack cakes, etc. and was surprised at the cost of good, wholesome food. Another challenge was keeping myself in clothes that fit! I was losing weight so rapidly that I was continually out growing (in a good way) my clothes. Every month or so, I was in a smaller size, dropping a total of 14 (size 40W to a misses 10/12) sizes. Thank goodness for thrift stores like Salvation Army and Goodwill! Learning to realize that I am worth it and making my physical wellness a priority took time.

Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?

As unusual as it sounds, giving up was never an option for me. My main motivation was to WALK again without a walker or cane, and to get out of that wheelchair once and for all. That, along with the determination to show my sister that I could do it, kept me going on days when I wanted to eat a bag of chips or a candy bar. I was fortunate in the sense that I was losing weight at a rapid pace and was seeing great progress on the scale each week so it was easier to stick with it. The more I lost, however, the slower the pounds began to come off and it was harder to stay focused, but by then I was becoming more physical and walking on my own so I was determined to get stronger and do more things.

If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?

There were only a couple of times when I actually reached a plateau. One time was for three weeks. That was really tough. It was so hard to keep doing the right thing and not see any results on the scale. I knew that as long as I was doing what I needed to do, that the results would eventually materialize, so I just kept doing it, and sure enough, a few weeks later, I began to lose weight again. Now that I am trying to maintain my current weight, I’m thrilled with a plateau! I don’t want to see the scale going the other way! And don’t weigh yourself every day. I can gain 6 pounds overnight and stay completely on plan. Weight can fluctuate for a number of reasons; don’t become a slave to the numbers.

What’s your current exercise routine?

Exercise was never been a part of my life, before or during my weight loss. I don’t like it and I absolutely hate to sweat! Dieting without exercise goes against all the weight loss theories, but I just don’t like it. But, I knew increasing physical activity was critical to good health, so I began to make an effort to add some physical activity to my routine. I just don’t call it exercise. I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and at the beginning of my journey, I was confined to a chair and couldn’t even walk to my mailbox. Traditional exercise was out of the question, but I began to lift some light weights while sitting in my La-Z-Boy. After I lost about 100 pounds, I was able to gradually move from the wheelchair to the walker. I would use the wheeled walker to walk a few steps in the driveway, stopping to rest every few steps. I would try to go a little farther each week. Eventually I was able to use just the cane and then to walk freely. Last winter I walked on a treadmill at the gym a few times a week. Now I do squats, lift heavier weights, ride a bike, walk a few miles several times a week, and garden. I just plain live life. Someday I hope to learn to dance. My physical activity, although not necessarily called ‘formal’ exercise, comes from doing what I love to do and doing things I never thought I could.

What’s your daily diet look like?

I eat oatmeal for breakfast every day. For lunch, I have either a can of low-calorie soup or Greek yogurt and fruit. Sometimes I’ll eat a protein bar or Fiber One bar if I am still hungry. Snacks include an assortment of yogurt, fruit, rice cakes, or protein bars. I absolutely love watermelon! For dinner, I eat chicken, turkey burger, pork, and a lot of vegetables and salads. I really like stir-fry. I eat very little bread or pasta, but will use the low-calorie whole grain bread once in a while to have a turkey burger or sandwich. With apples in season now, I’ve been enjoying baked apples with a bit of sweetener and cinnamon.

What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal?

I enjoy Greek yogurt, fruit, rice cakes, and protein/fiber bars for snacks. I like to make a turkey burger and bean mix for a high-protein/high fiber meal that is very filling. On occasion, I’ll buy a bag of those popped rice-cake snacks if I get the munchies and others are enjoying chips or pretzels.

Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations?

One can’t be tempted by things that are not readily available so just don’t buy it. If you don’t have junk food, sweets, or high-calorie snacks in the house, you can’t eat them. Stock your refrigerator with good, wholesome food and carry nutritious snacks with you everywhere so when you get really hungry, you have no excuse to eat things that are not on your plan. And, always be prepared. Don’t go out to dinner if you haven’t already made a plan as to what you are going to order. Check the menus online or speak to the chef about a low calorie substitution. Bring your own salad dressing with you in a small bottle and plan ahead for parties and other social gatherings. Don’t let, “I didn’t have to choice – I had to eat something be an excuse.

What’s your life like after weight loss?

I am a completely new person. I have never been an average sizeed person and at age 50, I feel like I am living life for the first time. My health has improved dramatically and I no longer need so much medication to get through the day. My blood pressure has normalized, my cholesterol has dropped, and my dependence on high potency pain medication for the RA has decreased. I will always suffer from the arthritis, but being active and mobile has helped a lot. This summer I purchased a bicycle and climbed a dune. I am doing things I never dreamed possible and I am happier and healthier than I have ever been in my life. And clothes – well, I love being able to wear fashionable, form-fitting clothes and heels! Three years ago I was considering selling my home to move into an assisted living facility because I could barely take care of myself. Last week I went fly-fishing for the first time! Life is very, very good and I am incredibly blessed!

If you have any suggestions to others what would they be?

My main suggestion is: Don’t go on a diet, but rather make choices that you are willing to do EVERY DAY for the rest of your life. People go on and off diets all the time. Think of your new life as a journey, one that you will never go off. I knew on day one that I did not want to go the rest of my life drinking black coffee, so I switched to sugar-free French vanilla coffee creamer and Splenda. Don’t give up something that you are not willing to give up for life. Instead, incorporate the calories into your allowance and make cuts elsewhere. If you know that you could never give up chocolate for the rest of your life, replace that daily candy bar or hot fudge sundae with a snack size bar or three Hershey kisses before bed. Don’t go on a crazy fad diet or use diet pills because as soon as you go off of it, the weight will return. Instead, make choices that you are willing to make for Life.

The most important thing is to BELIEVE that it is possible. Trust that God (or whatever your belief system allows) will help you and that YOU CAN – and YOU WILL – change your life. If a 428-pound, wheelchair bound woman can do it, you can too! Don’t give up! Feel free to visit my website: http://www.theresaborawski.net to read my blog or learn more about my journey

Kyle’s Inspiring Extreme Weight Loss (270 lbs.) Without Surgery

A few weeks ago I got an email from Kyle. The subject heading “My 270 lb weight loss”. Needless to say, he had my attention. A friend had linked him to Vasely’s story of overcoming obesity. He attached a picture of himself and I knew right away I had to share his story with you.

Morbid obesity is not something many people came back from. His doctor told him he’s now in the top .05% of people in the US who’ve lost the amount of weight he has, without drugs or surgery. His transformation is real, powerful and is bound to set fire to all your excuses.

Kyle’s been awesome enough to answer our questions below.

Kyle’s Journey to Extreme Weight Loss and a New Life

Why did you decide to transform your body?

There were quite a few reasons I wanted to change my body, however, I think the biggest reason might’ve been living with the knowledge I was within a year of being completely bedridden.

I’m a truck driver and I couldn’t walk or stand for more than two minutes at a time. I was constantly tethered to a chair. If I had to walk somewhere, I had this mental timer ticking before the extreme pain in my lower back and drenching sweat kicked in.

Also, I’m a hopeless romantic and I knew that being so incredibly heavy was really impeding my ability to find someone to share my life with. While I agree we shouldn’t be superficial, I was on the extreme end of the obesity scale and finding someone to overlook that much mass and even handicap was a pretty difficult thing.

What was the diet plan or strategy that guided your transformation?

The day I started eating differently to improve my weight, I had no specific plan. I was angry at myself for having eaten about a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s (Hey, I still dream about Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream.)

That night I climbed down out of my truck determined to exercise. I walked the length of my truck (100 feet) one time, and I was already in pain. So, I gave up exercising.

My only strategies from the beginning were using the myfitnesspal app on my phone, a digital food scale, and a set of measuring cups I bought from a grocery store. Portion control was my overall strategy.

I had no knowledge of nutrition, and I’m still fairly ignorant, but I’m just now AWARE of how much I eat. Even today, I still use the scale and measuring cups for everything that isn’t pre-portioned.

My first meal was literally one fried chicken strip from a fried chicken chain. I remember logging it on myfitnesspal and it said 300 calories!

I set my goal for the day at 1,500 calories, which was down from 7,000-10,000 daily, and sometimes as high as 15,000.

I had a 120 dollar a day fast food habit.

Note: The photo on the left was after Kyle had already lost 90 pounds and he was feeling “super skinny”

Did exercise play any role in your transformation? If so, What?

At my heaviest, I was 478 pounds. (Maybe closer to 500, but I had weighed in with my doctor for the last time at 478.) I couldn’t exercise. I was lucky I could stand, even briefly. I had to lose 160 pounds before I could even attempt to walk.

Once I had lost about 160 pounds, I was finally able to walk a bit without extreme pain. I started at 2 minutes and scaled up as I got comfortable.

Soon a two-minute walk became five, five became ten, ten – twenty, and so on, until I was walking about 45 minutes every day. The only exercise I have ever done during this time is walking.

I am a firm believer in diet being 90% of losing weight. I really think I’m a testament to that. I could be wrong, but it’s worked well for me.

Did you find you became obsessed with food, or felt like the diet was taking over your life? How’d you deal with that?

I don’t really feel like I became obsessed with food. Moreover, I trained myself to have a healthy relationship with food.

Before, I would obsess. If I’d go more than two hours without a meal, I’d get anxious and aggravated. I gained more awareness to my relationship with food. I thought of it more as a fuel source, rather than a source of emotion – since before I had used it to feel happy or satisfied.

I’m not exactly sure how I got there, other than determination and exploring my mind as I got cravings. Although I didn’t know much about nutrition, I decided to cut down on sugar.

Honestly, my appetite was really under control after 30 days without sugar or sugar substitutes. Once my body was essentially detoxed from sugar, I had won the war on hunger. I still deal with urges, but if I can ignore them long enough, they subside.

What’s one mistake you made during your transformation?

One mistake was probably going into this without much forethought. I dove right into this without thinking it through. I never really expected to succeed let alone come as far as I have.

If I could do it over again I probably would’ve studied nutrition a bit more, and taken a few of those ‘before’ shots everyone has in a pair of underwear and from a few different angles.

Unfortunately, the only photos I have of myself were ones that people were able to sneak of me while I wasn’t aware. Cameras were my worst enemy.

What Aspect of your weight loss journey has challenged you the most?

If I’m going to be completely honest here, I have to say my mind. Trying to keep both my mind and ego under control has been the most difficult thing I’ve experienced. Is that bad? Probably. However, it’s the truth. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a romantic and going from being invisible to everyone to now somewhat noticeable has started to give me some complexes.

People didn’t notice me before but now people want to be near me? I’m the same man, just smaller. It’s a complex issue with many facets I haven’t even begun to touch. I’m very introspective and I’ve really explored my mind and emotions throughout this entire process.

It’s interesting to think how much has changed about me since I started. I find myself less stubborn, more open, and progressive than I ever have been before. Stepping outside of my comfort zone in every way possible.

Being aware of my changing mind and controlling my ego has definitely been the biggest challenge.

What are your future plans with health and fitness?

I like to fantasize about helping others. My weight loss has been so extreme and yet I’ve kept it natural. I have quite an interesting story, too. My ability to talk about the most uncomfortable aspects of being nearly 500 pounds really seems to affect the people I share it with on so many levels.

Obesity is an epidemic in the trucking industry and I’d like to help the Department of Transportation develop some easily attainable health initiatives.

For now, I’ll just continue to keep my blog online and help those that seek me out.

My personal plans? Just maintain. I’m going to learn how to ski and I plan on turning my walking into running once the weather breaks. I’ve already started skateboarding and posted a video of myself doing an ollie. From 500 pounds to an ollie. It makes me emotional when I think about it.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to change their body?

The only advice I can give is this – just know you’re not alone. I felt so hopeless at 500 pounds. I thought there wasn’t a person in the world who knew what I was going through. All the emotions I was dealing with or even the everyday tasks, like clothes shopping. I felt like I was alone and that I had no one to relate to.

I was always angry because people would sympathize for me. Meanwhile, all I was thinking was ‘You don’t know how this feels.’ Then I’d go back to a fast food spot to find some comfort.

Who could I blame? Eventually, I realized it doesn’t matter why, who, or how I got to be 500 pounds. I AM. I can be as upset and hurt by it as I want. I can try to find someone to blame. What I realized was all of that is irrelevant. I’m here. I’m 500 pounds and the only way that’s going to change is if I take control.

“I just don’t have your willpower,” is one I hear a lot. It always takes my mind to this place of remembering I was hands down the weakest man I knew. There is nothing in me that you don’t have in yourself. I know everyone can achieve their health goals, especially if I could.

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Disclaimer: Your results may vary and Kyle’s were largely due to his dedication and adherence to his calorie/macro protocols.

Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, a Certified Fitness Trainer, and is Healthy Eater’s author and nutitional coach. If you need help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see his personal macros coaching options. Last Updated: October 10, 2019

The Non-Surgical Weight Loss Procedure That Takes 40 Minutes

June 5, 201701:39

A promising new weight-loss procedure may be a safe and effective way to help people who want to lose 40 pounds or more, but want to avoid drastic obesity surgery.

The innovative, surgery-free method helped patients drop close to 18 percent of their body weight, researchers reported last month.

Jaheidi Fonseca, 31, lost weight using an innovative new, surgery-free procedure to make her stomach smaller.Courtesy Jaheidi Fonseca

“It’s like a glorified sewing machine,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Reem Sharaiha of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, who led the study.

“There are a series of sutures going from one part of the stomach to the bottom of the stomach all the way to the top. No scars, no cuts. You are asleep, like going to the dentist to pull your teeth out.”

Her team found that the accordion procedure helped patients, on average, lose 17.6 percent of their weight and nearly 27 inches from around their waists. The BMIs of the 91 patients who underwent the procedure between 2013 and 2016 decreased from 40.7 — considered morbidly obese — to a BMI of 32. The results were published in the May Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The minimally invasive, non-surgery procedure involves using an endoscopic tube with a camera attached that goes down the mouth into the esophagus and lets a gastroenterologist see inside the stomach.

Related: Obesity Surgery a Good Way to Treat Diabetes

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The doctors sews stitches in the stomach to pull it tight and make it smaller without making any cuts. Over time a patient’s weight loss can plateau, but doctors can go back and re-tighten the stomach–leading to more pounds shed.

New York resident Jaheidi Fonseca, 31, was having trouble losing weight after having three children. Two-years ago Fonseca tipped the scale at 219 pounds, trying everything from diet pills to protein shakes to shed the weight — without success.

“It was incremental, after I had my first child I gained weight that never came off, having two other children I just kept gaining and harder for me to lose,” Fonseca, a medical technician, told NBC News. “I wasn’t on the right track to start losing weight.”

“No scars, no cuts. You are asleep, like going to the dentist to pull your teeth out.”

After seeing her fellow colleagues lose weight, Fonseca met with a gastroenterologist who recommended the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), also called the accordion procedure.

Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) over 30, affects 78.6 million Americans — more than one-third of U.S. adults, according to the National Institutes of Health.

This procedure is meant for people with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, unhealthy cholesterol and a BMI of less than 40.

Related: Surgery-Free Weight Loss Procedure Shows Promise

The study’s early results show that the accordion procedure is safe, effective and less expensive than surgery for people who have been unable to lose weight through lifestyle changes, said Dr. Stacy Brethauer, president of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, who was not involved in the study.

“While it may not be as effective as surgery, it has fewer complications and may be the ideal treatment for patients with less severe obesity,” said Brethauer. “Like any weight loss treatment, endoscopic procedures should be done as part of a multidisciplinary weight management program that can help each patient determine the best option for them.”

Dr. Scott Kahan, a weight loss expert at the Obesity Society and George Washington University Medical Center, sees promise in the procedure since it can be offered to a wider group of people. “This procedure includes patients with BMI over 30, whereas traditional bariatric surgery is usually only offered to people with a BMI of at least 35,” Kahan, who was also not involved in the study, told NBC News.

Related: Obesity Epidemic Hits New High

Currently, the procedure costs between $10,000-$15,000 and insurance coverage is limited. However, with more studies coming in, the accordion procedure could be covered. One limiting factor is accessibility, since approximately 25 centers in the U.S. currently perform this procedure, Sharaiha said.

After the 40-minute procedure, Fonseca went home the same day and the pounds came off and continued to drop. She lost nearly 60 pounds and found the stamina to start exercising and eating better.

“You see the weight loss right away,” Fonseca said. “Three days later you start feeling different and you start seeing changes little by little, day by day. You just lose more and that’s the best thing the best feeling ever. I wanted to make a change for me.”

Dr. Jacqueline Paulis, an emergency medicine resident physician in New York City and a medical fellow for NBC News, also contributed to this report.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a very long time — weight loss surgery. When you’re floating around 375 pounds like me, it’s only natural that the procedure comes up.

As far as obesity goes, I think I’m lucky because I don’t have as many health problems as other people nearing 400 pounds. I’m not diabetic and I don’t have high blood pressure. The only med I’m on is The Pill. I do have PCOS, endometriosis and lipedema — illnesses which all cause pain and make weight loss a challenge.

But yeah, I’m super morbidly obese and it’s not what I want for my life. Honestly?

  • I don’t have much energy and I can’t move around as quickly as I used to.
  • Plantar fasciitis in both of my feet has pretty much killed my joy of walking… like at all.
  • Two words: thigh chafing.
  • Despite believing in body positivity, it’s hard for me to quit the negative self-talk about my fat body.
  • Losing weight would help me keep up with my 4 year old.
  • My size makes me feel awkward everywhere I go … can anyone say seat belt extenders on airplanes? Over the weekend I went to a backyard birthday party and was afraid to sit in a lawn chair when offered a seat. That was fun for my plantar fasciitis.
  • Meeting new people is hard. I’m self-conscious and I can’t help but feel like they don’t really know me since they’ve never met me when I have a smaller body.
  • As I get bigger, my world becomes smaller — and it’s always been that way for me. Fewer friends, fewer outings. I’m an introvert, yet I still get very lonely. I do still date at this size but it’s admittedly harder for me.
  • It’s not fun to feel like a failure and to struggle to lose weight again. I’ve lost over 100 pounds twice in the past decade. After having my daughter in 2014, I just can’t seem to get it together.

So yes, of course, my experiences as an obese woman have made me consider having gastric bypass surgery. But I’ve decided to do something else instead. Kind of. I’ve decided to eat like I’ve had the surgery. I mean, follow an exact protocol for a surgery patient and simply follow the diet on my own.

And I’ve got my reasons.

I’m not getting any younger–or smaller. In a few short months, I will be 36 years old and I haven’t been below 300 pounds in close to five years. Like so many other obese people, I have gotten bigger in the long-run despite the times that I have lost significant amounts of weight. I need to do something now.

Even if my ACA health insurance covers bariatric surgery, it would likely take between six months to a year to be approved. That’s at least 6 months to a year — or more—where I could be making progress and losing weight rather than hoping for good news. That’s months of paperwork and battling the insurance company to prove I can’t lose the weight and keep it off any other way. And of course, I’d still need to pay more than I can actually afford.

I could go to Mexico, except I don’t have $5,000 lying around. Um yeah, but no. This one has actually been suggested to me more than once. I’m a single mom in-between jobs. I’m not leaving the country anytime soon nor am I scraping together thousands of dollars for anything.

Bariatric surgery has come a very long way, but it’s still a surgical procedure and there are risks. Weight loss surgery has saved many lives and led plenty of formerly obese people to hope and healing. I’m not here to knock it. As with any surgery, however, there are some very big risks and complications both on and off the table. Not to mention the recovery! People who have gone through bariatric surgery have my respect–it’s not an easy thing to do.

Low carb and keto haven’t worked for me. Before you tell me how the ketogenic diet has changed your life–stop. Although the science behind it makes sense to me, I’ve only ever lost significant weight on diets less than 1200 calories a day, and mostly VLCDs around 800 calories a day or less. I’ve tried keto and low carb living more than once and all I’ve done is lose up to 30 pounds. I’ll try it again after I’ve lost weight, but I don’t believe it’s a great fit for me right now.

This nephrologist believes it’s the “forced fasting” of weight loss surgery that works. There are a lot of mystical explanations for why weight loss surgery is such an effective tool, but few facts. I have to laugh because all of the experts who insist that CICO–calories in, calories out–is the only way to lose weight will often try to come up with other reasons why weight loss surgery works. They’ll say it’s hormones from cutting away part of the stomach, but that doesn’t explain why the sleeve procedures work so well.

Despite its success, bariatric surgery is still mostly a diet for life. For whatever reason, I’m wired to want to eat. And I don’t even have to eat much to put on weight. There’s no reality where I get to eat without giving it much thought and still lose weight. The closest I ever got to that point was the last time I lost weight in 2012/2013 on a raw food vegan diet that was low fat, low protein and low sodium. That diet really did a number on my teeth. But I did eat all the watermelon I wanted. That said, when you read through the eating guidelines after surgery, you learn that yes, you still have to watch your diet for the rest of your life to avoid regain.

Information about what to eat before and after weight loss surgery is all over the internet. It’s not hard to see exactly how surgery patients lose the weight. Just get on Google. Each surgery or hospital has slightly different diet guidelines but the main thing is high protein, low fat, low sugar, tiny portions.

If I had the surgery, I’d still have to deal with my food addiction. You know, food addiction is this thing I have struggled with on and off throughout my life. It is always worse when I am lonely and unhappy… and lately… I’m more of a food addict than I have ever been in my life. Which means, I need to relearn how to eat for fuel and quit eating to cope with my difficult emotions.

I’ve already failed a number of diets. What exactly do I have to lose here? I’ve already struggled so much with my weight and lately, I fail every diet I try. Flunking out here wouldn’tbe anything new. Yes, it will be crazy hard. Yes, I will need to take vitamins. But I’m willing to give it a go.

I know I’m sometimes pretty snarky and sarcastic, but I’m not joking here at all. I’m so tired of making zero progress on this issue that impacts the rest of my life.

Because I have lipedema, I’m never going to get very slim or have a modern rockin bod. And for a long time I’ve been depressed about that. Who doesn’t want to enjoy skinny jeans after working so hard to lose weight?

My plan is to redefine what healthy and fit looks like to me. I want to lose as much weight as I can to feel better, feel healthy, and enjoy my life again. I want to be proud of myself and know I’m doing my best.

So what now?

Time to prepare. Gastric bypass surgery patients typically have a two week liver-shrinking diet prior to their surgery. Since I’m not really having surgery, that’s not necessary. But I do think it’s a smart way to get started so I’ll do the pre-op phase too:

Two weeks of 800-1000 calories a day with about 75 grams of protein. My plan is to start when my daughter goes to her dad’s house for the weekend. So I’ve got a few days to prepare.

Love it? Hate it? Whether you want to roast me right now or give some love, I’d like to hear from you!

Originally published at medium.com

Elizabeth Wolinsky was 29 in early 2011 when she decided to have LAP-BAND surgery. Although she wasn’t suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other obesity-linked conditions that lead many women to consider bariatric surgery, she was tired of the number on the scale. “I’ve struggled with weight my entire life it’s always been something I wanted to do,” she says.

Unfortunately, the procedure—which creates a smaller stomach “pouch” by placing an inflatable band around the upper portion of the stomach—didn’t turn out exactly as she hoped. While she did lose a lot of weight, about a year and a half later the band eroded into her stomach. In other words, her body tried to reject the band by building up scar tissue around it, which is one of the possible (yet rare) risks of the surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “I couldn’t eat or drink anything because there was all this scar tissue building up around the band,” says Wolinsky. “It was making the band really tight, and I threw up for weeks.” In the middle of 2013, she had emergency surgery to remove the band.

Within eight months, Wolinsky regained all weight she lost—and then some. At 345 pounds, “I’d had enough,” she says. “I had a long conversation with my doctor about gastric bypass versus the band, and after doing a lot of research, I knew 100 percent that I wanted to do it.”

Despite the complications with her prior surgery, Wolinsky says she wasn’t too worried. With gastric bypass, the size of the stomach is decreased by creating a small pouch where the top portion of the stomach is divided from the rest of the stomach, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The small intestine is then divided and connected to the new stomach pouch.

In October 2014, she underwent a laparoscopic gastric bypasswith the same bariatric surgeon in Atlanta who removed her band.

Now, having tried out both types of surgical weight loss methods, here are a few things Wolinsky wishes she knew about gastric bypass and its side effects before she did it.

1. “The pain isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

From the outside, gastric bypass is more intense than lap band surgery: After all, they’re actually detaching a part of your digestive system. “I thought would be a lot more painful and a lot longer recovery period,” says Wolinsky. “And while the recovery was longer, it wasn’t more painful. As far as surgeries I’ve had, it was pretty easy.”

(Learn how to serve up everyone’s favorite food – chicken – in just the right portions for weight loss. Plus, get more than 100 recipes, and fall back in love with dinner all over again.)

2. “Being pumped full of air hurt the most.”

In any minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery (like gastric bypass), doctors don’t cut you wide open. Instead, they insert small surgical tools into a tiny incision and use a camera to operate from the outside. In order to see and maneuver around, they pump some carbon dioxide into your body around the part that’s being operated on. So in the case of gastric bypass, it’s pumped into your stomach and intestines. Although the gas is let out before the incision is closed, inevitably, a tiny bit gets trapped inside. So patients are asked to keep moving immediately after surgery to help the body move the air out. “Even though you just got out of surgery and you’re tired and in pain, you have to keep walking,” says Wolinsky. “You feel the air travel upward, toward your shoulder. It’s 10 times more painful than your body actually healing from surgery.” Working out all of the CO2 took a few days. “I’m really goal-oriented, so I just breathed deeply and thought about my goal to get through it,” she says. (Get a complete walking program designed specifically for your health goals).

RELATED: 19 Ways to Really, Finally Keep the Weight Off for Good

3. “There was a tube hanging out of my stomach for a week.”

For a week after gastric bypass surgery, many patients have a bag hanging outside of the body connected to a thin tube attached to the stomach; this allows any excess fluids to drain from the abdomen, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. And every day you have to clean it, Wolinsky says. “It’s excruciatingly difficult,” she says. “It’s such a gross and painful feeling, knowing it’s attached to an organ in your body and you can see it.” Fortunately, Wolinsky’s aunt is a nurse and helped her to clean the port until it was removed.

4. “I had to sleep sitting up.”

For the first couple weeks following surgery, Wolinsky slept in a semi-sitting position. “I’m a stomach- or side-sleeper, but you can’t sleep on your stomach for two to three weeks,” she says. “It’s odd and uncomfortable, especially when you’re trying to recover from major surgery,” she says. Fortunately, the pain medication along with extreme exhaustion from the healing process made getting her z’s possible.

5. “I wasn’t hungry, but I wanted to eat.”

As your body recovers from surgery and adjusts to its new digestive system, doctors advise a liquid diet. Despite the fact that she didn’t really feel hungry, Wolinsky was surprised by her food cravings. “It’s a weird thing to get used to not eating real food,” she says. Wolinsky spent a total of about two months on a diet of liquid and soft foods. “I didn’t think I’d crave the act of eating,” she says. Walking by her mom’s room at meal time was tough. “She was eating, and I’d be like, ‘food…what’s that like?'” she says.

To get through, Wolinsky tried out a variety of blended protein drinks. Ricotta—especially a ricotta bake made with Parmesan, an egg, and seasonings baked till bubbly—was a favorite. “Making a variety of different-tasting things really helped me feel like I wasn’t being cheated,” she says.

RELATED: 7 Women Share How They Overcame Their Biggest Weight-Loss Struggles

6. “Lots of hair fell out.”

Although Wolinsky was lucky to have a lot of hair before the surgery, she says about 30 percent fell out post-op. According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, hair loss is normal after any surgery, and it’s especially common with weight-loss surgery. That’s because your body is absorbing less nutrients. “I knew it was a possibility, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be me,” says Wolinsky. “People tell me it’s not noticeable, but for me it is,” she says. “I look at old pictures and even though I was so much fatter, I’m also like, ‘damn, look at my hair!'” Wolinsky combats hair loss by taking a biotin supplement and using Nioxin shampoo and conditioner. “I honestly don’t know if they help or not because I’m too scared to stop either to find out!” she says.

These are some of the craziest things people have done to lose weight over the years.

7. “I get super sick if I eat any sugar.”

One of the unpleasant side effects of gastric bypass, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, is what’s known as dumping syndrome. Since the new stomach pouch isn’t able to digest all foods, like simple carbs (i.e. sugar) and sometimes artificial sweeteners, those foods get “dumped” causing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, and weakness. Since simple carbs are one of the culprits, gastric bypass patients are advised to avoid all sugars for life.

While Wolinsky has learned to read food labels and avoid everything that contains any type of sugar, it’s nearly impossible to completely avoid. One time, for example, Wolinsky says she ordered what she thought was a diet Coke, but ended up with the real full-sugar deal. “The severity surprised me,” says Wolinsky. “I thought they were exaggerating just to tell you what you shouldn’t be eating, but it feels like a heart attack that lasts for 20 or 30 minutes,” she says. “I get dizzy and light-headed, and my heart starts beating fast.” Wolinsky says she lies down and covers herself with pillows until the feeling passes.

Fortunately, Wolinsky says she isn’t a “sugar person,” but she does occasionally have sugar cravings. When she does, she’ll nip it in the bud with Halo Top lemon cake ice cream, which is made with stevia. “Fake sugars can cause dumping, but as long as I keep my portion size smaller it’s all good,” she says. And if she’s at a birthday party where she really wants cake, she’ll have a bite. “One bite won’t cause digestive issues,” she explains. “Plus it’s very easy not to overindulge when the consequences are so swift and painful.”

RELATED: 6 Things That Happened When I Stopped Eating Sugar

8. “Actually losing the weight takes hard work.”

In the first six months after surgery, Wolinsky lost 50 pounds, which is not as much as she was expecting, she says. Then, for three months, her weight plateaued. She realized that although her stomach was significantly smaller, she needed to revamp her eating habits to see continued progress.

“I thought with surgery I could eat whatever I wanted,” she says. That included lots of her comfort foods: bread, potatoes, pasta, processed snacks, and lots of meals out with friends at restaurants. “Even though I ate really small amounts, I didn’t pay attention to what I was eating,” she says. “Surgery is not solution, it’s a tool to help get you to where you want to be.”

She now follows what she calls a modified Ketogenic diet, i.e., super low in carbs and high in fats and proteins. She aims to stay below 25 grams of carbs per day and avoids all processed foods. Instead, she fills up on plenty of veggie- and protein-filled meals she cooks at home. And she logs every bite she eats. In the two years since her surgery, Wolinsky has lost a total of 130 pounds, weighing in at 215. And that’s huge progress, though she’d still like to lose another 70. “Now I have so much more energy. It feels like my body runs more efficiently.” That said, Wolinsky says she still craves carbs all the time. “What gets me through is my monthly cheat meal. I make sure it’s a good one,” she says.

RELATED: 8 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Bread

9. “I have a whole new perspective on life.”

Immediately after her surgery, Wolinsky says the weight loss helped her to feel hopeful about future. Then the plateau hit. But now, she says the experience was good for her. “I know I can do this even though it’s hard,” she says. “It’s made me more tenacious and given me a whole new outlook on myself and what I can do.”

What’s been essential: forgiveness when she inevitably slips up. “Some days you’re having a bad day and you eat too much because you don’t know what you’re doing,” she says. “But I would never take back having the surgery. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.”

Colleen de Bellefonds Colleen de Bellefonds is an American freelance journalist living in Paris, France, with her husband and dog, Mochi.

Surgery-Free Gastric Bypass?

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This excerpt from their new book, The Self-Hypnosis Diet: Use the Power of Your Mind to Reach Your Perfect Weight, by Dr. Steven and Joy Gurgevich (Sounds True Inc., 2007) explores the mind’s ability to change the body’s reality.

Margie struggled with her weight for many years. Thirty pounds were making her miserable. One day she watched a daytime talk show that changed her life. The guests on the show spoke of having had a new type of surgery called gastric bypass in which their intestines were bypassed so that only a portion of the foods they ate could be absorbed. They were enthusiastic while describing what sounded like effortless weight loss without dieting or exercise. One comment that really struck Margie in particular was, “The food just went right through me and was unabsorbed.” This was in April.

In June, Margie’s husband, Howard, looked at her and casually asked, “Have you lost weight?” She got up abruptly and left the room without saying a word. He dismissed her reaction, thinking that she was being overly sensitive about her weight. A few days later, noticing that she was radiantly happy and she did look thinner, he asked again, “Are you losing weight?” She again left the room abruptly without a word. Howard wondered if something was wrong. While noticing that she seemed happier, he also noted that she was preparing sumptuous meals and luscious deserts that were usually taboo. This scene replayed until a week later when he followed her to the bedroom and told her that she looked thinner and he wanted to know if she was all right, or if some health problem was causing her weight loss. She said, “I don’t want to talk about it.” He persisted and she admitted, “Nothing is wrong, I am just afraid that if I talk about it the spell will be broken.”

Margie told him about seeing people on TV who had gastric bypass surgery. They lost weight, did not diet, and could eat what they liked because the food went right through them. She said that when she lay in bed that night, she told herself that she had gastric bypass surgery and now the food went right through her. She then pretended what it might be like to lose weight this way. A few days later she was troubled by diarrhea and frequent urgent trips to the bathroom. She called the physician’s office to make an appointment, and the nurse asked her to describe her problems. She told the nurse about the diarrhea and heard herself saying, “The food goes right through me – it’s as if I’ve had a …” and hung up the phone thinking, “Oh my God! It’s working!” She realized that almost immediately after a meal or snack, she had to go to the bathroom. She felt just like the guests on the TV show.

Margie’s energy was up and her spirits were even higher. By the end of the month, she had lost eighteen pounds. She was eating whatever she desired. To Margie, it seemed to be magic, and she feared that speaking with others might undermine her belief and change its power. Howard observed that she had lost weight and was eating without restraint, but he also noticed changes that she was unaware of. She was no longer snacking, her food choices were much wiser, her portion sizes were smaller, and she had much more energy and was more active. She was eating better because she felt better.

As the years passed, whenever her weight needed adjustment, she would give herself an imaginary gastric bypass until she regained her perfect weight. You certainly don’t have to give yourself a gastric bypass, but this story vividly illustrates the power of belief. Just imagine what beliefs you can make true for you.

Dr. Steven Gurgevich is a psychologist specializing in mind-body medicine and is Director of the Mind-Body Clinic in Dr. Weil’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM). His wife, Joy, is nutritional consultant to Dr. Andrew Weil’s AzCIM. Dr. G. and Joy are resident experts at both DrWeil.com and DrWeilOnHealthyAging.com as well as their virtual home. “The Self-Hypnosis Diet: Use the Power of Your Mind to Reach Your Perfect Weight,” by Dr. Steven Gurgevich and Joy Gurgevich can be purchased here.

4 Ways to Eat Like a Weight Loss Surgery Patient

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When it comes to weight loss, yes, surgery helps speed the process along, but most weight-loss surgery patients admit that it takes work – especially in terms of what they eat.

Maria Adkins RD, of TriHealth Weight Management explains four ways you can eat like a weight loss surgery patient – and why everyone should eat like this.

  • Related: 5 Food Rules to Live By

#1: Minimize Sugar Intake

After gastric bypass surgery, patients are expected to follow a certain diet in order to avoid post-surgery problems, like dumping syndrome, for example, and to safely accelerate weight loss. Dumping syndrome is an uncomfortable reaction some people experience after they eat foods high in sugar. This can lead to abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

For this reason, Maria tells her patients to start cutting back on sugar before surgery. She suggests 5 grams of sugar or less per each half-cup or 8-ounce serving. “You can truly make more items sweet by adding real fruit,” she points out. For example, buy plain yogurt and sweeten it with strawberries or bananas.

#2: Start Cooking – and Avoid Eating Out

Weight loss surgery patients are supposed to avoid eating fried foods, and instead, grill or bake foods. Fried foods can overload the “new stomach” created during surgery and can trigger dumping syndrome, as well.

However, stir-frying foods is okay, as long as you use small amounts of oil. “I recommend olive oil or peanut oil – that’s best – in very, very small amounts,” Maria explains.

  • Related: 5 Ways to Eat Healthy When Dining Out

#3: Eat More Protein

Protein is satiating, meaning it creates a sense of fullness, while also helping ramp up your metabolism.

  • Related: Eat More Protein to Lose Weight

Maria suggests aiming for 12 to 15 grams of protein, six times each day. It’s also critical to stay hydrated throughout the day. “You’re going to have more chance of that lean body mass, and a more chance of fat loss, as long as you’re well hydrated.”

Foods high in protein include:

  • Lean fish (tilapia, halibut, cod, trout)
  • Nuts (in moderation)
  • Fat-free portions of cottage cheese
  • Low-fat string cheese
  • Fat-free yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • Protein shakes low in fat and sugar

#4: Add Flavor without Salt

“We’re not born with a taste for salt; we get acclimated to a taste for salt,” Maria points out.

Maria says gardening is a great way to add fresh herbs – and flavor – to your diet, without the extra sodium. If you do opt for fresh herbs, you usually want to use three times the amount of fresh herbs as you would for dry herbs.

If you have a lot of fresh herbs left over, Maria suggests putting them into an ice cube tray and freezing them with a little bit of oil. This way, you can pop them into a soup, stew or meat dish, later.

Maria also recommends using roasted garlic as a spread, instead of butter. “It’s not butter, and it adds good flavor!”

  • Related: Could the Right Diet Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms?

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Last Updated: June 20, 2014

THURSDAY, May 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Could people struggling with obesity make headway in their efforts to shed pounds without having to go under the knife?

New preliminary research suggests it’s possible: A non-surgical procedure may help moderately obese people lose weight — and keep it off.

Unlike standard weight-loss surgery, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) requires no incision and no hospital stay. Instead, doctors thread a scope down the throat and into the stomach, then use a suturing device attached to the scope to cinch the stomach in — ultimately shrinking it to a banana-sized pouch.

The result is, “you eat less, you feel full and you lose weight,” said study author Dr. Reem Sharaiha.

Sharaiha and her colleagues at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York City, were among the first to start performing ESG, back in 2013. She said they offer it mainly to patients with a body mass index (BMI) of between 30 and 40 — which puts them in the mildly to moderately obese category.

Standard obesity surgeries — like gastric bypass — are generally reserved for two groups of people: Those with a BMI of at least 40 (more than 100 pounds overweight); and those with a BMI of 35 or more, plus an obesity-related condition such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

Studies have shown that, in the short term, ESG can spur a fairly big weight loss: At the one-year mark, patients have typically shed about 15% of their starting weight.

But not much is known about patients’ longer-term outlook.

The new study is the first to report five-year results, Sharaiha said. It found that at that point, patients were still carrying 15% fewer pounds, on average.

That’s not as good as the results seen with traditional surgery, Sharaiha said.

On the other hand, she pointed to the advantages of ESG: “It’s a simple, one-day outpatient procedure,” she said. “And it leaves no scar, which seems to be the major appeal to patients.”

The complication rates are also lower compared with surgery, according to Sharaiha. In an earlier study, her team found that only 1% of ESG patients had a complication, such as a perforation or “leak” in the stomach.

A Gastric Bypass Diet Without Surgery

In today’s market, that must be a million diets available to a persons looking to shed some weight. People are now wondering if a gastric bypass diet without surgery will help them lose weight and the answer is yes.
A gastric bypass diet is basically 60 grams of protein a day with less than 10 grams of sugar per meal and a limited amount of fat. A bariatric diet in the early stages requires that the food items be either pureed, baby food or liquid protein drinks. With that being said, there are actually some pretty good food plans on the market that are relatively similar to the gastric bypass diet.
For a person that has not had the surgery, it is important to eat one sensible meal per day. Your total calorie intake should be at least 1000 calories. The only reason a gastric bypass patient does not consume that much is it is not possible in the early stages of recovery. If you eat too few calories your body will not want to let you shed the pounds. It takes a certain amount of calories to burn calories.
Both Medifast and Wonder Slim have package plans that make this type of diet easy. These plans packaged consist of the food products necessary and the instructions on how to use the bariatric diet products. Both of these plans contain large amounts of proteins and supplements that give you the other nutrients that are necessary for a balanced diet. Both Medifast and Wonder Slim are suitable for gastric bypass patients.
The best benefit of these high protein packaged diets is they are very convenient. They are highly portable and you do not have to make food choices. That is all there at your finger tips with both the Medifast diet plan and the Wonder Slim Bariatric diet. These diets can also be customized for men, women and diabetics.
Having been on a gastric bypass diet, because I had the surgery, I am not sure it is a diet I could be on now. It is actually quite boring and bland, but I can take the concepts and customize them in a plan that is very similar that would work for someone that has not had gastric bypass surgery. The important parts of a gastric bypass diet without surgery is 60 grams of liquid or lean protein daily, limiting sugar and carbs as much as possible and eating a limited amount of fat. Really this is not whole lot different than many other diets. The only difference is the amount of calories a gastric bypass patient is able to consume in the early months following recovery.

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