This gastric sleeve patient lost nearly half of his body weight, and is now a lean 65kg with a BMI of 23.1.
“I went on my first diet at the age of 7, and sometimes feel like I’ve started a new diet every Monday morning for the last 48 years. I’ve done ‘em all – from a 40-day hospital stay in 1974, to Weight Watchers (3 times), Diet Center (2 times), Jenny Craig, Nutri-System, Atkins, South Beach, Cambridge, Slim Fast, Fen-Phen, grapefruit and egg, and even self-starvation. I’ve probably lost close to 453 kg throughout my life, including three or four nearly 45 kg. And after all that, at the age of 55, I still found myself 50 kg overweight; with diabetes, apnea, asthma, arthritis, high cholesterol, and borderline blood pressure. With a wonderful wife and 10-year-old child at home, I was a heart attack or stroke just waiting to happen.
So why was I able to lose weight so effectively at times, but never keep it off? Same as most people, I guess. When fully committed, I could “flick the switch” in my brain and resist anything… for a while. I’d lose a bunch of weight and start looking and feeling better, and then I’d be at a party with lots of goodies and think, “What the heck. I’ve done so well, so I’ll treat myself just this once and get right back on my diet.” Hello, slippery slope! And then the cycle would begin again. That “switch” doesn’t always stay flicked, you know?
Then, 20 years ago, I lost a bunch of weight and maintained it for quite a while. But then I had some surgery and even quit smoking in the process. Great, right? Yeah, but after that the weight started coming back on, and eventually I gained about 23 kg. So then I bounced around between 27 kg and 45 kg overweight until I got married and we had a baby. Of course, during the pregnancy I gained 8 more kg of “baby weight”. But unlike my wife, I never delivered mine!
So that brings me to the more recent past, when all those years of being overweight finally caught up with me and I began getting all the “fat diseases”. Before my surgery, I was taking daily injections plus pills for diabetes, sleeping with a CPAP machine for apnea, and taking fistfuls of pills every day to manage the other co-morbidities.
And that brings us to last year. In addition to all the diseases, I was exhausted and achy all the time, and had trouble dragging myself out of the recliner to play with my kid like I should. I’d take naps after stuffing myself at lunchtime, and exercise as little as possible. We all know the drill, right? And gradually, I got more and more disgusted with myself.
During that time, two of my co-workers had weight loss surgery: one bypass and one sleeve. Every day for about a year, I watched them get smaller and smaller. They didn’t keep their surgeries a secret, so when I asked about their experience, they graciously shared all the details with me – the good, and the bad. And gradually I got to the point where I said, “I WANT THAT!”
Once I decided to get sleeved, I went all-in. I followed all my doctor’s post-op rules to a tee (with the exception of coffee – my one remaining vice). But this time something was different from all those past diets. Because of the restriction in my stomach, instead of losing momentum and giving into temptation, my new “tool” gave me the strength I needed to consistently make the right choices. I lost 22 kg and made it to goal in 8 months. And in the two months after that, I lost another 5 kg to give myself a comfortable buffer. I’m off all diabetes, apnea, blood pressure, and asthma meds, and after my next doctor’s appointment, I should be off the cholesterol meds too. So now that I’ve reached my final goal weight, I’m exactly where I want to be for the first time in my adult life; which, quite frankly, is a totally mind-blowing thought!
My big secret? Just follow the danged rules – all of them! (And mind you, I’ve been a rule breaker all my life.) If you do exactly what your doctor or nutrition program recommends, the weight will come off. After a month or two of making good (but difficult) choices, the cravings for the foods that got you to your pre-surgery weight will start to fade away, and the pride in your accomplishment will have a stronger pull than the food. That’s when you really get on a roll!
My philosophy has been that there’s plenty of time to learn how to eat for maintenance once I get to my goal weight. That way, if I add something back into my food plan and it causes me to gain a kg; I only need to re-lose that kg. I don’t need to lose them PLUS all the rest that haven’t come off yet. I also believe that we get a 9–12 month “honeymoon period” (when the weight comes off more easily and the hunger is more manageable), to get our heads in the right place for the long haul. I firmly believe that people who take maximum advantage of their honeymoon period are far more likely to get all the way to goal weight; and hopefully, to keep it off.
And now my theory will be put to the test…
Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll need to start experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. I’ll need to add back some foods that will stop the weight loss, without causing a gain, and without putting me back on the slippery slope. But what are those foods? My doctor suggests that if you want to increase your carb intake, to add only foods that you would eat cooked as part of a meal (like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, barley, quinoa, oatmeal, and green peas). No white bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes, no refined sugar, no fruit juice, soda, or ice cream – and nothing that would tempt you to go to the fridge or pantry for a handful or bowlful as a snack. That sounds reasonable, so that’s what I’m going to try.
So how do I feel about my weight loss journey so far? Believe it or not… it’s been a total blast! And see, that’s another reason to follow all the rules and lose the weight quickly – the compliments, your reflection in the mirror, clothes that fit and look good, the extra energy for family and friends, and most of all, your new-found health, are a thousand times more fun and motivating than anything that could ever go into your mouth!
And here’s one final thought… Several months ago I ran into a woman I hadn’t seen for a while. She’d been thinking about weight loss surgery, but was afraid to take the first step. But when she saw the “new me”, she said the exact same words I had said a year ago, “I WANT THAT!” Well, a few weeks ago she got sleeved and she’s doing great! And that’s how this wonderful story continues…
I wish all of you great success, and a healthy, exciting, and fun journey to good health!!!
Larry is one of thousands. Yes, thousands! Here’s what others have said:
“He is the pioneer of SIPS/SADI surgery in Western Australia. I was his first few. Spotless surgery and recovery. Amazing experience and support. Not only an amazing surgeon but gem of a person. Good support staff. Highly recommend SIPS surgery and Dr Ravi Rao. The best I met in Perth”
“Dr. Rao also went a little further in providing additional support via his own Facebook Support Group page and also via another FB support page that deals explicitly with the surgery I am to have done.”
“These additional steps of care are very welcome and in today’s climate very much in keeping up current information trends via social media. Great.”
“I have lost a lot of excess body weight to almost normal BMI. My diabetes and blood pressure are under control. I’m enjoying life to the fullest. Choosing Dr. Ravi Rao to help me lose weight has made a huge difference in my life. I suggest you guys do the same.”
“Saw Dr Riva Rao for evaluation for bariatric surgery. He took his time and talked to not only myself, but my husband as well, answering all of our questions. Gave detailed answers to our questions. Would recommend him to any of my friends.”
“From the moment I walked in Dr Rao’s office staff were professional and incredibly helpful. I was helped with all of my referrals and future appointments in a quick and efficient manner. Very comfortable environment.”
“Barely any after pain and incisions healed very well.”
“Dr Rao took the time to put me at ease, I had seen another surgeon and wasn’t sure. Suchi was great, very helpful. Dr Rao and his team are invested in the patients, they aren’t about squeezing as many people into the day as possible, they are there to support each patient through the journey.”
“I booked my gastric sleeve in through dr Ravi rao and was amazed at how thorough the pre op was. He treated me like a person and made it clear we were a team and I wasn’t just a statistic. He answered all my questions with no hesitations. Post op I’ve had no complications and 2 weeks post op my scars are barely visible. This has been the best decision of my life and I cannot thank Ravi enough”
“I have had the best recovery with no issues at all and my scars are hardly visible either! Suchi is really great also and goes the extra mile to help with all of the paperwork! ”
“I went to Dr Ravi Rao to get life changing gastric sleeve surgery as a tool to help me lose weight, get healthy and improve my quality of life. I’m losing weight and can now keep up with my two year old.”
“Dr Ravi and his team are fantastic. I arrived at the appointment with a lot of questions and he took the time to answer them thoroughly. The after care I received was first class. I had my surgery a few weeks ago now and I’m feeling good.”
“He’s not the cheapest, but he’s not the dearest, But he is the best in this field. Why do I say this, this is his only field to specialise in. It’s not a side thing, he’s not a G.P with this as a extra skill, this is what he breathes, eats and sleeps.”
“My first contact was via an email late on a Friday night in which he responded to in less than 24 hours.”
“The price was what I was quoted and seemed a standard price no matter where you go. The variables/extras are blood tests, swallow test, anaesthetics and any other tests your doctor sees necessary etc. Great doctor that is easy to talk to and that makes you feel comfortable discussing your concerns and thoughts.”
“Found that he listened to what I had to say and showed that he was more considerate of my well being than just securing another patient for what may be unnecessary surgery.”
“He discussed the risks and consequences of surgery and was able to suggest an alternative ‘less invasive’ medical procedure that was being offered by another surgeon. He was able to give me a referral to see a specialist to determine if I am a candidate for this procedure. I highly recommend Dr Rao.”
“Consultation was extremely detailed . Dr Rao made sure I was up to date with my problem, the options and the risks and benefits of each. Never rushed, Surgery was Fantastic experience. Discharged in two days.Two weeks down feel normal. Lost 10 kgs already. All reviews written here, absolutely TRUE.”