Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss

On the 10th of February, I had a gastric sleeve, which is a surgery that removes 75-80% of your stomach and essentially turns your stomach into a tube (or “sleeve”).  The belief is that this promotes weight loss through not only restricting the amount of food you eat, but also changing the way your body handles hunger.  The thinking is that because your stomach produces ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry, that the reduction in the hormone helps your appetite.  In addition, the thinking was that you felt full when your stomach was full, but evidence is showing that you get the sense of being full by nutrients being absorbed in your small intestine.  Because the surgery promotes food leaving your stomach very rapidly, you are more likely to feel full earlier than before surgery.  There maybe other factors which are not well understood.  Clinically, the gastric sleeve has a high rate of success, almost as good as a gastric bypass, but it is generally considered there are less side affects with the gastric sleeve.  The only main “disadvantage” of the sleeve is that it has only been a primary procedure for weight loss for about 5 years, so there is very little data about the long term effects of the surgery.

For me, weight had always been a challenge.  In October 2006 I checked into Structure House, a residential weight loss clinic, for 4 weeks.  When I checked in, I topped out the scales at 318 pounds (22st 10lbs/144kg).  I had sleep apnea and was essentially diabetic.  I was in shock.  Over the following year, I lost 95lbs in total, just through diet and exercise.  When I reached that point, I lighter than I had been since I was 16, and I wasn’t even at my full height at that point.  I was happy.  I kept around that weight for about 6 months and then it started to slowly creep up, and up, and up, and up.

By the time I reached October 2010, I was back up around 295 pounds.  I was so angry at myself, but my partner and I discussed our options.  I needed help.  I knew if I checked out of life again, went back to North Carolina, I could do it all over again.  Problem is, did I spend my life going again and again to a weight loss clinic, risk my career and let’s be honest, my relationship with my partner?  No, I needed to do something more dramatic.  At the end of the day, I just wanted a level playing field.  For whatever reason, I had a “fat brain” that wasn’t going to let me get stay at a normal weight.  That is when I investigated weight loss surgery.  Originally I considered the gastric band, but after research and discussions with my doctors and nurses, I decided the sleeve was for me.

Some people might wonder what weight loss looks like for a gastric sleeve.  Well, I ended up in the “habit” of weighing myself daily while I was at Structure House.  They believe that weighing yourself once a day, at the same time, helps you desensitise yourself to the changes.  It had worked for me for years, and so I started to keep my log.  A couple things to note.  Firstly, I am a male.  That means it is easier for me to shed fat than women.  Second, I had previously known that I could lose weight at a rapid rate.  Lots of people’s bodies are different.  Third, I was eating a silly amount of calories, and the pre-op diet demonstrates what just a calorie controlled diet can do for you.  Forth, I had the benefit of all the mental consoling at Structure House.  Weight loss surgery is not for everyone for various reasons.  If you are not “prepared” for the weight loss, you can cause all sorts of issues with yourself and the people around you if you aren’t ready or have significant mental issues that are unresolved.  Anyways, this is what 4 months of weight loss looks like on the sleeve:

My Four Months of Weight Loss Chart

As you can see, I have had a great amount of success. I am very close to 100lbs away from my heaviest ever.  I am the lowest weight I have been my adult life, and there isn’t a sign that I am slowing down quite yet.  I expect that I will get to around 195-200 lbs (14st/89kg) and then my life will shift into maintaining my weight (and working on my muscle mass).

I have lost 12 inches in my waist from my biggest ever, 2 inches in my neck and a shoe size.  While all that is impressive, the thing that matters most to me is that I easily have added years of quality life to my future.  While that might be a bit selfish, at the end of the day, it is hopefully years I can spend with my partner and eventually our children.  What is that worth to you?

Update

Since this page gets quite a few hits, I thought I would give you an update.  I have posted here about the longer term outcomes.  As of today I am 191 lbs (13st 9lb, 86.6 kg).

6 thoughts on “Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss

  1. Pingback: What Does Weight Loss on a Sleeve Look Like?

  2. Very interesting process. Congrats to you and keep up the good work. Remember to be kind to yourself today and everyday.
    Love,
    Mom

  3. Wow Kit, congratulations! And thank for taking the time to blog about the process and your track record. I wish you the best in maintaining a healthy weight, it sure isn’t an easy task and I’m proud of you. xoxo, Aunt Mary

  4. Keep looking after yourself Kit and dont try to rush it :) Never really knew about the whole process but you explained it very well.

    Best wishes from Ireland :)

  5. Hi there and congrats on the awesome weightloss! I also had the gastric sleeve and would love to ask you some questions. I started out at 252 and lost 18lbs pre-op on Weight Watchers, day of surgery 4/7/11 I was 234. Today 6/30//11 I’m 198. The weightloss is barely moving, and I am really struggling with eating & hunger. I’d love to know what you were eating (meal plans, etc…) to loose so much weight. NUT told me to focus on protein 75+ grams a day, but also to stay between 600-800 calories a day while I’m loosing weight. I’m really struggling becuase I’m find myself very hungry at 3 mos. out, some may be head hunger but there is alot of real hunger because my stomach gurgles & burns. I’m getting at least 70-80 grams of protein a day but it’s just not filling me up. So I find myself going over 800 but no more than 900-1000, so hard to stay at 600-800. I’m frustrated beacuse everyone on the boards says “I have no hunger” and I see their meal plans and it’s barely anything, I’m hungry ugghh!!! A typical day for me would be Syntax Nectar shake at 7:30am, protein at 10:00 (egg, turkey, etc..), 12:00 lunch of some type of protein (chicken, beef, etc..) with a couple bites of veggie or salad, 3:00pm Syntax Nectar shake, Dinner at 5:30pm some type of protein & veggie, then another snack before bed (6 almonds, another shake, half protein bar, etc…). I’d love any tips, pointers & meal ideas you can provide. Thanks so much and again congrats on your success!

    • Well, a couple words of advice. First I have lost 27% of my body weight in 5 months. By what you are saying, you have lost 21% in about 3 months (including your pre-op weight). Also, I am a male, which has it’s benefits when losing weight. All things considered, you are doing great! Sometimes we fixate on the wrong things.

      I would be lying if I said I don’t get hungry. I get hungry, but a small amount of food suits me and the hunger doesn’t cause me to obsess or overeat anymore. Wether it is the right choice or not, I have stopped counting calories and while I was fixated on eating protein, recently I have tried to not even pay a lot of attention to that. My doctor refused to tell me how many calories I should be on a day until I said how many I thought I might be on, and he said it was too low. I also said that I was eating things like chicken strips and other high fat protein. He told me that that is fine, because if I am not losing the weight I want, I can make different decisions and eat lower fat protein, but if it works for me, go for it. I have learned that in a lot of ways I can trust my body now, which I could never do before. Realise, stomach gurgling and burning is not real hunger. That is your body trying to deal with gastric fluids. Now the problem I have sometimes when I go grocery shopping, because I start salivating quite a bit, because my brain thinks it is getting fed, which excessive amounts of gastric fluids cause heart burn. The gurgling and burning does get better day by day.

      It is hard for us, because our bodies lied to us for so long (and can even lie to us now). It is what I call the “fat brain”. I suspect your “fat brain”, the one that used to say “hey, this diet isn’t working, so just give up” and all sorts of other nasty dirty tricks is still talking in your head. They are all old tricks your “fat brain” used to keep you fat, but they aren’t working anymore. “I’m hungry all the time” and “I eat too many calories” are things your “fat brain” is saying trying to get you to give up on this “crazy diet you got me on this time”, but it just doesn’t understand you can’t this time. That won’t stop it from getting louder and louder for a while. Some of those “flat lines” in my graph were hard. There were those moments when I thought “oh this isn’t working” and “I am never going to lose another pound again” but I have found it just doesn’t matter if I get stressed out or not about it, the weight keeps coming off.

      So, my advice, is realise that the 21% of your weight you lost isn’t coming back, eat healthy, take your vitamins, if you need to count something, only count protein, and start trusting your new body to no overeat and try to relax into the fact that you are finally a person with a “normal” appetite.

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