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Bariatric Gastric Sleeve Surgery Update & Results – 11 Months Post-Op

Bariatric gastric sleeve surgery results - This is an update 11 months after gastric sleeve surgery including before and after pictures (or is it before and during?). She is losing weight quickly and eating a healthy diet that she can maintain for life! She talks a lot about adjusting to her new body and how it feels to lose so much weight! Also discusses set backs and how they have affected her plan.

My bariatric gastric sleeve surgery was April 6, so it has been 11 months since my surgery. I have lost 188 pounds so far and now, for the first time ever, weigh less than my husband. My goal initially was to lose 220 pounds, but now that I am approaching that, I’m wondering if I’ll be happy there or want to keep losing.

As I type this, I just ate a piece of Allie’s most recent baking project (a red velvet cake with rainbow chip frosting), and I feel sick. Really, really nauseous.

Every time I eat something I shouldn’t, I think about it ahead of time, consider whether I have the calories available and whether I can “afford” to eat it, and then I decide. I’m definitely a lot less legalistic about it than I was before the cruise, and I’m not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. I wish I could go back to the place of “no carbs at all ever” but I guess that couldn’t last forever anyway.

I occasionally will have a carb-laden treat, like the cake today, but I do not obsess about it and make sure it is the exception and not the rule. I eat the vast majority of my meals with high protein, low carb foods as I always have. No crackers, no pasta, no potatoes, almost no carbs at all.

I wish I could ban all sweets from my home; that would make my eating life so much simpler. But unfortunately, I live with three other people, two of whom learned a love of baking and sweets from me, and they make cookies and cakes and cupcakes and candies from time to time. I struggle with the willpower to pass up these treats, and having bariatric surgery does nothing to change those struggles.

I mentioned earlier that I am really nauseous from the cake. I ate a normal dinner, 3.6 ounces of southwestern chicken with 3 ounces of carrots. I was satisfied and comfortable. Then Allie frosted her cake, and I told myself that I wasn’t going to have any right away because I knew my stomach was full. BUT Allie cut me a piece, and I ate it. And then, less than halfway through the slice of cake, I felt completely nauseated and wishing I could throw up which I haven’t done since my surgery.

I am back to carefully weighing out my food again, again eating between 6 and 7 ounces at a meal. That part of my new lifestyle is easy and habitual for me.

I eat a Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt for breakfast every day with 3/4 of a scoop of ISOPURE unflavored protein powder mixed in. Every single day. I like that I know what to do, and I have a couple of different flavors of yogurt that I like (Caramel Apple, Cherry, and Toasted Coconut Vanilla are my favorites) to give me some variety. When I eat the vanilla, I sometimes throw in 1/2 cup of fresh red raspberries, and that makes it really, really yummy.

Once in a while, I’ll have 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese with Inspire Holy Cannoli protein powder mixed in (amazing) but ricotta has a lot of calories, and when I eat that, I have to be very careful about what I eat for the rest of the day. I’ve heard that some grocery stores carry light ricotta, as opposed to part skim ricotta which is what I’ve been buying, so I am going to look for that. Holy Cannoli powder is terrible mixed with almond milk, but it tastes like dessert when mixed with ricotta. Even Allie loves it and asks for it for breakfast nearly every morning.

For lunch, I eat supper leftovers almost all the time. If there is nothing else to eat, I will have two pickled eggs with some Walmart broccoli salad and maybe a low-calorie cheese stick.

For supper, I am blessed that Joe cooks very bariatric friendly meals like southwestern chicken, scallops, and shrimp. Once in a while, we will have ham, roast pork, 93% lean ground beef, or steak. I really like all those things, but they have a higher fat content than chicken and seafood and thus more calories. 4 ounces of the lean meats have less than 200 calories, closer to 150 for seafood. The fattier meats have closer to 300 calories for a similar amount. I only eat 1,000 calories a day, so 300 for the meat at one meal is a pretty big deal and I do it very rarely.

Joe has gotten pretty sick of lean meats though and has started to complain, so I’m not sure how our future meal planning might look.

Whatever vegetable we eat has to be very low-calorie as well. Joe either roasts or steams them in the microwave. When he roasts veggies, he usually tosses them in about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil which adds some calories but not too many when spread out over the whole amount. Roasting veggies makes them taste wonderful, but if you don’t put on a little oil, they get dry and not so good.

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I am sort of over scallops which used to be my favorite food. We found a good price on them and have been buying them every week and Joe makes them all the time, sautéed in about a tablespoon of butter.

I had a stomach virus a couple of weeks ago and had insane diarrhea. In two days, I lost 8 pounds which the doctor said was just water, but I am pleased to say that they have not come back despite my drinking large amounts of water. So that has been a pretty nice side effect of being sick.

I had been trying to consume 120+ grams of protein every day since my 6 month appointment with the surgeon’s office because my protein levels were falling. I was just back in for my 9 month appointment, and she said that my protein levels are completely stable, albeit on the lowest possible side of normal.

Eating a ridiculous amount of protein every day did not cause my levels to rise, so it is pretty clear that all that protein is flushing right through my system, and she said that it would be fine for me to aim for 100 grams a day. Cutting out the extra 20 grams of protein every day has lowered my calorie total and allowed me to lose steadily again which made me very happy.

I’ve lost more inches for a total of 18″ at my chest, 20″ at my waist, and 17″ at my hips. I just had a big jump down this last month. I only take measurements once a month.

I am walking by myself every day now, partly due to the cold temperatures and partly due to my own preference. I really enjoy being able to set my own pace (the kids and Joe walk a lot slower) and to listen to my podcasts (Outlander of course) on my bluetooth headphones.

I continue to walk 2.1 miles every day, even when it’s cold or rainy. The only days I’ve taken off have been days when the wind chill was below -10ºF and Joe asked me not to go. I also took off the days when it was freezing rain outside as I didn’t want to fall and hurt myself. I did walk the day after freezing rain, and I actually did fall but fortunately did not get hurt.

But on those off days, I use the elliptical machine in our basement for 40 minutes. I absolutely hate that elliptical machine and find it completely boring even when I’m watching Outlander on my phone, but I do it on the days when I can’t walk because I want to get exercise and reach my goals on my Fitbit app.

I got a little ambitious a couple weeks ago and thought I might work up to running my 2.1 miles. I did some research and decided to try running for the flat stretches of my normal route. I did run for about a minute twice during the walk, and I pretty much hated it. Too much jiggling, too much huffing and puffing, too much jolting on the pavement. I think running is not for me.

My old scale was sort of a pain in the butt and never registered the same weight twice, so I went ahead and invested in the RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Scale that was recommended by another bariatric patient in my bariatric support group on Facebook. I love this new scale because it communicates automatically with my phone, with the FitBit and MyFitnessPal apps, so I don’t have to type anything in. All I do is step on the scale, open the RENPHO app, and it all happens automatically. 

I have mentioned before about not feeling cold all the time, but that has changed. I have reached a point where I feel cold all the time and live in my slippers and a sweatshirt or sweater. My hands are coldest of all which is annoying because there’s not much you can do to warm your hands besides to stick them in your armpits or sit on them.

I have had a few non scale victories since the last time I posted:

  • We discovered that Allie can reach all the way around me and clasp her hands which is a huge first and made her so very happy. She squealed, “MOM! I CAN HUG YOU NOW!”
  • My collar bones stick out, and my shoulders are bony. In fact, Joe saw me in just my bra and said, “You are tiny!” which I think is a bit of an exaggeration but a nice sentiment nonetheless.
  • I have a clear jaw bone. I don’t think this has ever been visible before in my whole life.
  • My whole face has changed, as you can see above. Before surgery, my eyes sort of squinted shut when I smiled. Now, they don’t, and one eye opens a bit more than the other which is something my mom noticed about herself, too.
  • The clothes I bought on our cruise are almost too big for me.
  • I’m wearing something between a 14 and an 18 depending on the store. The 2X sweatshirts I bought in December are falling off me, but I haven’t tried an XL sweatshirt yet. There’s something about a “normal” XL that seems like it would be too small for me.
  • My Pandora bracelet is so much too big that I can easily slide it on and off without unclasping it. I’m actually a little afraid of losing it somewhere. I am going to buy myself a new one once I have enough extra cash.
  • I’m down to a size 8 ring which I can get on and off most of the time. I was a size 13 before surgery.
  • My lap goes on for days, big enough for two large cats and a 7-year-old to sit all together. No one could sit on my lap before surgery.
  • I don’t wear Crocs anymore. I don’t need to because it’s easy to put real shoes on and tie them.
  • I was “morbidly obese” by medical standards before surgery. I’ve now shrunk through that and “severely obese” and solidly into the “obese” category.

I have said this many times, but I still feel like a fat person. I don’t know, maybe I still am bigger than most people. I ask Grace and Joe sometimes, “Am I the same size as so-and-so?” and they humor me and tell me whether I am or not, but they’re both getting kind of annoyed by my questions. It’s so hard to figure out what you look like and how you should feel about it.

I know that sounds stupid. I should be happy with myself and proud of my achievement, no matter what I look like. But what I look like matters to me. I wish I could see a photo of myself next to other people, so that I could have a sense of how big or small I am. It’s insecure, but it’s the truth.

I’m a little afraid of shrinking out of my favorite stores. I have shopped at Lane Bryant since before college and The Avenue almost as long. I love The Avenue. I love their tops and their jeans (but their underwear are very poorly made). Anyway, I am wearing a 14 at The Avenue which is the smallest size they make. Before too long, I won’t be able to shop there anymore. And then what? I guess I’ll have to try out some stuff from different stores and find a new go-to place.

I’ve been buying new bras steadily for the last 6 months or so. I wear underwire push-up bras now (because my boobs are still quite large but very flat and saggy now), which I get at Lane Bryant. If you’ve ever worn an underwire push-up bra, you know that you have to get exactly the right size or else it rides up and down and is generally completely uncomfortable. So I have to buy new bras every month or so which is a huge bummer because they’re $50 a piece. I only have 2, one beige and one black.

I have not purchased new underwear since surgery which is dumb. Joe informed me last week that my underwear are saggy in the butt. I hadn’t noticed that per se, but I did notice that some of them are sliding down causing an awkward need to hike up my drawers even when I’m wearing leggings. So I decided to get some new ones. I like Lane Bryant’s best, so I ordered some online in a size 14/16. I was dubious about the size, but a size 18 jeans are a little roomy, and I didn’t want my new underwear to be too big, so I went with the smaller size. We’ll see how that goes.

So that’s it for this month. It’s hard to believe that next month will be the one year anniversary of my surgery, and I’m still actively losing weight. I’m almost there! I’ve lost 22 pounds in the last 8 weeks, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to lose at least 10 pounds a month from here out.

Thanks for reading!

Looking for other updates? See the whole series here.

Bariatric gastric sleeve surgery results - This is an update 11 months after gastric sleeve surgery including before and after pictures (or is it before and during?). She is losing weight quickly and eating a healthy diet that she can maintain for life! She talks a lot about adjusting to her new body and how it feels to lose so much weight! Also discusses set backs and how they have affected her plan.

© 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

22 thoughts on “Bariatric Gastric Sleeve Surgery Update & Results – 11 Months Post-Op”

  1. Wow Tara, you look GREAT ! Good job! I am still on track for the beginning of April for my sleeve. I can’t wait 🙂

    Julie Shannon

  2. You look fantastic! And I love the insights about not being able to judge your size etc, still feeling fat and not able to buy an XL bc it doesn’t seem it should fit. Totally get that disconnect! You’ll get there, doing great!

  3. My heart is bursting with joy for you. I am also incredibly inspired by your journey. Thank you for being so open and honest. Keep up the good work and BTW you are beautiful, but you were before too.

  4. You are fantastic! Such an inspiration. I love reading your journey because you’re 5 months ahead of me and it tells me what to expect. I’m 6 months post op and have lost 95 pounds. Starting weight of 224 (I’m short plus was on the low end of the BMI/Weight qualifier) and I’m at 129 currently. I would only like to lose about 14 more pounds but I’m worried that I lost so much so fast…. what if I get sick. Nothing fits and going through clothes so fast is a real problem just like you said! I love reading about your journey! And your exercise motivates me to keep going. I hate running too and I feel like a lazy bum just walking. My boyfriend is a personal trainer and in the most amazing shape. I hate it. I have saggy skin and am just not tight at all. And super self conscious about it. But you remind me to keep going because it’s my journey! We got this! You are amazing! LOVE YA!

  5. Have I mentioned how amazingly proud I am of you? You are doing so much better than me – but no jealousy, just super proud!

    I did the thing about looking at other people and asking “am I fatter than that, am I thinner than that, etc.” for quite some time too. It is perfectly normal.

    KEEP GOING!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Hi Tara!
    I Googled “bring your anger toward God to God,” and your website was among those that popped up. I read it, and it was good. I even read 1 Chronicles 17:16-27! It was helpful!

    I’ve just finished reading your article about your bariatric surgery.
    Congratulations on your weight loss!

    I have a weight problem too, and I don’t like my short hair. I realize that one of my problems may be comparing myself with others, AND letting satan tell me that I am ugly, because I’m overweight and balding. The problem is that I believe those hideous lies!!!

    Yesterday, I took down my You-Tube playlists with all the hair growth remedies, because I felt that they were based on covetousness. Do I want my hair to grow? YES ABSOLUTELY! Do I want to be thin? YES ABSOLUTELY! But I think my greatest problem is accepting mean feelings about myself. Until God revealed it to me, I didn’t even know I hated myself so much!!! I think I have deep self-hatred, that I’ve let SNEAK into my soul!

    Being fat, and balding (literally) doesn’t make me ugly. Yes it is unattractive, but it doesn’t give me an ugly IDENTITY!!! My hatred, though, I think is injuring my identity. I’m an idealist and perfectionist. I think I’m punishing myself until I look the way I want to. This can be be very destructive to one’s self concept. It is a lack of grace. This is a twisted form of works-based identity. It is carnal, at best!

    I am beautiful, because God saved me, out his of love and mercy for me. Salvation is the most beautiful thing!! What more do I need? Approval of men is what I really want, but that is a wrong path!!!!!! I am greedy!! Additionally, the devil and my flesh are trying to convince me that I’m ugly. I know it’s hard to not see that I’m overweight, and bald. I do have eyes, after all, but my attitude is the biggest problem.

    I’m hoping that in due time, I will heal from these negative feelings, AND that GOD will grant me a thinner body, and longer hair! I confessed to God that I was hating on myself, that this was sin, and I am trusting that because of 1 John 1:9, He will begin to cleanse me. Time will tell!!

  7. I just stumbled upon this site and wanted to leave my first ever comment on any blog. Marlys I appreciate your honesty and felt God nudging me to tell you to hang in there, that someone (who doesn’t even know) you cares about you. You are made in the image of God and you are his precious child! And no child seems even the slightest bit ugly to their loving parent! God bless you.

  8. Tara, thank you for sharing your journey with others. Friday I go for my 1st consultation for surgery. I will also start the 6 month process for the insurance. I am so worried about not being able to change my eating habits for long term or gaining weight back. I also have a voice in the back of my mind saying that I will not succeed. Do you wish you would have done it sooner? I almost feel like I shouldn’t do it yet. At this time I weight 265 (heaviest I have ever been) and my BMI is at 42 so just qualifying with insurance.
    Anyways, thank you for sharing!

    • Yes, I absolutely wish I had done it sooner, a lot sooner. If you look back through my bariatric updates, I was also worried that I wouldn’t succeed. I was worried that it would all be for nothing.
      I won’t lie to you. It is hard to live a bariatric lifestyle that guarantees success. I have a new update publishing this Friday where I talk about regaining 26 pounds since February and how I’m now working on losing that again and more. It’s a constant battle against cravings and bad habits, but it is absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I wouldn’t trade my new body for anything, not even chocolate (which I really really like but now don’t eat).

  9. Hello! I stumbled onto this site while looking through before and after photo and saw you standing in front of the Nittany Lion in one— that’s my hometown! 🙂

    I’m having my sleeve done in 3 weeks Andrea can hardly wait!

    Thanks for the inspiration! Wishing you the best!

  10. I went through the something after losing weight. I was constantly comparing myself to others I still ask my friends if I am smaller then others. I would think wow I am smaller then her! It is a constant struggle but I am slowly learning that it doesn’t matter what size others are because I need to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin! You look amazing and your results are incredible! Keep Being AWESOME!!

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