Friday, February 19, 2016

Confession Letter to My Friends

As of this morning, Ive lost 50 lbs!!  My weight loss has been a year in the making but only now is it beginning to be noticeable (to some) Ive had a lot of people asking me questions about how I'm doing it, so today I decided to reveal all my secrets! 

One year ago in December I hit my highest weight and was completely miserable. I decided that I had to make a change. I decided to see a doctor that specializes in weight loss. I went in for monthly visits while he talked me through some changes I needed to make.  

The following are changes I made (and in this order)

  • I STOPPED DRINKING SOFT DRINKS.  For me, it was better to go cold turkey. weaning myself off them was NOT an option. 
  • I STARTED WORKING TOWARDS DRINKING 64OZ OF WATER A DAY. This was a challenge. Ive never drank much water. I decided that PureLife flavored waters were a good option. I purchased a bottle with times on it, so that I could stay on track and meet my daily goal. it wasn't easy, it took me weeks (more like months) 
  • I STARTED EATING 5-6 TIMES A DAY! My doctor told me that skipping meals was one of the leading causes of obesity. I was notorious for not eating breakfast and sometimes lunch, then Id want to snack all evening. He told me to purchase the book, Eating for Life,  (and I did purchase it on Amazon for only a few dollars) He told me to start eating like the book teaches. I STARTED EATING 5-6 TIMES A DAY smaller meals/snacks. The book contains many awesome recipes but also teaches you how to plan out your 5-6 meals/snacks a day. 
  • I STARTED EATING SMALLER PORTIONS. I no longer use a dinner plate but I use the smaller breakfast plate for every meal. I do not get seconds. 
  • I STARTED EXERCISING.  This is my least favorite part of my weight loss journey! Ive never liked exercising but its an important part. I joined my local Refit class and go once a week. I started walking (if the weather cooperates) More recently I started with a little weight training and stair stepper. 
Now, while doing these things I also started researching and talking with my doctor about weight loss surgeries. Most of us know someone who has had Gastric Bypass . I read up on the procedure and felt like this was NOT the option for me. I then learned about another procedure, Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. This procedure is less invasive, faster recovery time and comparable results to the bypass. There is no bypassing part of the intestines. The procedure simply makes your stomach smaller so you physically cannot eat too much. It makes it so that you can only eat small amounts at a time.  (which goes right along with the book, Eating for Life. ) I talked to my doctor about my interest in the VSG and he agreed that it would be a great TOOL for me if I stayed with the plans we were already putting in place. The thing about this procedure is ITS NOT AN EASY FIX.  You can have the surgery and eat all the wrong things,the wrong ways and gain weight.  I decided to work towards the surgery and after much medical testing (swallow test, EKG, Psychological evaluations, etc...) my insurance approved me. 

  • VSG WAS SCHEDULED.  Two weeks prior to the surgery I STARTED THE LIVER SHRINKING DIET.  (Anyone can do it,  without surgery)  Week 1 was a protein shake (I used Bariatric Advantage due to more vitamins and less than 1 gram of sugar) for breakfast, then a protein snack three hours later, A protein shake for lunch, a protein snack three hours after lunch and finally a lean meat and green vegetable for dinner.  Week 2 was an all liquid diet. 5 protein shakes a day (every three hours) with only water in between.  The first three days were rough, but after that my body went into keytosis. I LOST 20 LBS IN TWO WEEKS !!!  Once you are in keytosis its important not to add sugar or carbs back into the diet. 
  • IN NOVEMBER I HAD VSG SURGERY.  I can only eat small amounts at a time. It has not been much of an adjustment because I had already started eating 5 small meals a day months before surgery.  I was in the hospital two days (out of work for 10) The thing to remember is that this surgery is a tool and it only works if I use it as a tool and eat the right things the right ways. Currently my stomach only holds about 1/4 cup of food at a time. It will naturally stretch with time and I will be able to eat more at a time. If I do not stay on track, I can and will gain weight. 
  • IT HAS TAKEN ME NEARLY A YEAR OF CHANGING HABITS BUT IVE NOW LOST 50LBS. I am not losing fast, but I'm losing steady. I go up to a month and lose nothing but I continue with my new habits. 
  • I ALWAYS MAKE A PLAN.  Every day I know what my breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner will be. If you don't have a plan, its easy to get stuck and end up making bad choices or skipping meals. 
  • ITS OK TO CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES. My awesome surgeon, Dr Bovard, says to go by the book (Eating for Life) every day but for rare special occasions, its ok to enjoy something I wouldn't normally eat. After that, get back to the plan. Ive never had a doctor that I loved as much as this one! He is down to earth, explains everything, takes time with his patients and the follow up plan after surgery is great. I have met with and emailed questions to the Nutritionist on staff and she always helps me out by answering questions or looking over my food journal to make sure I'm eating correctly. 
  • WHAT IS MY DAILY MEAL PLAN LIKE?  Here it is.... 7:00 Protein Shake  10:00 Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt (1/2 container) 1:00 Protein Lunch (example: refried beans with ricotta cheese and salsa or sliced turkey, cheese)  4:00 protein shake  6-7 Dinner (example: Tilapia and broccoli or Baked Ricotta or any protein dinner with a little veggies)   I EAT AT LEAST 60 grams OF PROTEIN A DAY AND NO CARBS AND VERY LITTLE SUGAR. 
  • DID I TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT? If you read all this and think I took the easy way out then there is nothing I can do to get you to understand that this is not easy. I work daily to get the correct amount of protein, water, to keep sugar and carbs out of my diet and to do everything as Dr Bovard has taught me. 
  • WHY DID IT TAKE THIS LONG TO TELL EVERYONE? I told my immediate family and only a few friends that I was having VSG. The main reason was that I didn't want negativity. I didn't want to hear how you know someone who died having weight loss surgery or how you know people who gained the weight back etc...  I did my research, I chose the right surgery for me and I have done the work it requires to lose the weight. WHY AM I CONFESSING NOW? I have lost 50lbs, I feel great, I saw Dr Bovard this week for my 3 month post op visit and he said I'm doing awesome. He also said, "You need to understand that I did not do this. I gave you a tool and you are using it correctly and getting the results you wanted/needed"
  • CAN YOU DO ALL THESE THINGS AND GET RESULTS WITHOUT SURGERY? I have no doubt that you can do these things and lose weight. Surgery was the right thing for me. Its not the right thing for everyone. However, if you are considering weight loss surgery? I strongly suggest Bariatric Specialists of NC and specifically, Dr Bovard.  


  1. Congratulations Annette ........... proud of you. Love ya, Phyllis

  2. You look great!! A friend's mom had that same thing done about 3 years ago and she said it's the best thing she ever did. You will do great! I've been doing alot of what you have, but I have also stayed under 25 carbs a day. Weight loss is so rewarding and exciting.

    1. those carbs and sugar will get ya every time! Good Luck with your loss!