After undergoing surgery to have a gastric sleeve fitted, Andrew has lost over 26kg. He explains that for this type of procedure there is a 'honeymoon period' where the weight loss is relatively easy for the first 12 months or so after the surgery.
We recently named Andrew as our weekly MVP due to the dedication and planning he consistently shows to build healthy habits and ready himself for that time when his honeymoon period os over and the weight loss becomes harder.
We asked Andrew a few questions about his experience and he was happy to share his story;
What have you found most challenging since having surgery?
'I’d say the first few days afterwards were a really challenging and somewhat painful period. After that, though, provided you are mindful of the medical/dietary advice you receive, which is of primary importance in the first 6 weeks following the operation, it is simply a matter of getting into the rhythm of how your new stomach operates. On the plus side, your experience of hunger is far less such that you don’t feel deprived. Also, as time passes you get a better sense of what your body can handle and it becomes less challenging. For instance, I’ve discovered I prefer simpler foods nowadays and have more time for vegetarian meals or at least meals with a small amount of meat as such food is easier for me to digest. Beyond my preferences though and like anyone whose had this operation all foods do remain available to eat, it's just your preferences may change.'
What are some of the markers that have improved your life?
'My life has improved in every way. I have better energy levels, my body feels better, my concentration is better and though I’d never describe myself as patient, even my patience has improved. My self-confidence has really improved too. As I say repeatedly to people when they ask me – I feel as if I’ve made a really good life decision and I’ve done it at the right time as there’s still so much life to enjoy (I hope, I’m only 40!)'
Do you have a strategy to maintain things long term?
'Hmmm, interesting. As I understand it the way this operation works is that you lose about a 1/3 of your body weight without much effort over the first 12-18 months. It’s therefore known as the honeymoon period. For some people, after that period they still need to lose more weight such that a more concerted effort is required. For me I think my weight will be about where it needs to be at the conclusion of the 12-18 month honeymoon period such that it’ll be more about maintenance. My view is that to ensure I do well when the honeymoon period is over that it’s important to build good habits now. That’s why I came back to gym about 6 weeks after the operation, that’s why I walk on my off days as often as I can, thats why I take protein powder with shakes during the week (as directed but 5 days a week of protein powder is enough for me thank you very much) and that’s why I take multi vitamins (as directed). It's all about getting a good regime in place now in the hope of sticking with it in the long run. While it's true to say that I now eat far less I can’t say I’m perfect with food. Broadly speaking though I’m pretty good and I’m mindful. Hopefully that will help me moving forward as well.'
Any other goals you’re looking to achieve now your weight has dropped?
'I’m not sure yet. I always say that’d I’d like to be feeling good and exercising when I’m old. I play the long game. It's about functionality over the course of my life for me. But as my energy levels increase, who knows, perhaps I’ll want to challenge myself further. I really don’t know. We’ll see I guess!'