Ambrassadors, Health & Wellness, Inner Beauty

amBRAssador Kathy’s Health Transformation & Weight Loss Surgery Recovery

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After years and years of ups and downs with her weight, Kathy, our lead amBRAssador here at Bare Necessities, summoned the courage to have weight loss surgery this past fall. While she could envision the healthy lifestyle she wanted to live, she never could have imagined the side effects that took her out of commission for six miserable, seemingly endless weeks and left her questioning what she had elected to do to herself. 

Today, Kathy is in way better shape—better, in fact, than she’s been in ages. Read on for what she wishes she’d known then that she knows now….

THE BACKSTORY
“My father had three wishes before he passed, and one of them was for me to lose weight and get healthy. That was the main reason I made such a major change this year.

I’ve done the thing where I would lose 70 pounds and get fit working with a trainer five times a week, but then I’d hit a certain weight and couldn’t get past it no matter what I did. My body wouldn’t let me. The breaking point was my father’s wish for me to finally beat it.

And when I say I’m going to do something, I do it.”

THE SURGERY
“I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or VSG, in September. They take out most of your stomach, leaving it about the size of a banana. For about two weeks, I was great, but for the next six weeks, I was horrendous. I was vomiting throughout the day, every day.

It turns out there was scar tissue at the base of my esophagus that wouldn’t even let water pass. This happens to less than three percent of people who have this surgery. It was a side-effect of having a hiatal hernia repaired. I needed three endoscopies with dilation to keep breaking up the scar tissue, and I had multiple hospital stays to receive intravenous fluids for dehydration and vitamin infusions.

I had a lot of regret and kept wondering, What did I do to myself? What kept me going was that the weight kept coming off—it wasn’t how I wanted to do it, but it was happening.

I would tell others to do your research and know the possible complications, but don’t get discouraged. Weight loss surgery is a tool to get where you want to be; you still have to do the hard work.”

THE RECOVERY
“For the first 12 to 18 months, I’m in the losing-weight phase. I can only eat up to 700 calories a day. I’m very strict with myself and do the KETO diet, which is higher in protein and lower in carbs. I use a Fitbit to log my food intake. First thing in the morning, I make a plan for what I’m going to eat for the day so I don’t get sidetracked. I have protein drinks, and I’m up to 64 ounces of water a day. Before the surgery, I was able to drink more like 120 ounces.

A lot of people go back to their old ways—you can overeat, and your stomach can stretch—but the days are few and far between when I have pasta, rice or bread. I’m still waiting to eat meat and salad because they’re harder for your stomach to process. So far, I’ve had to deal with business lunches, Thanksgiving and making dinner every night. I have to make appropriate choices. It’s a lot of tuna, chicken and turkey. Sometimes my husband and I will order chicken and broccoli from the local Chinese restaurant—no rice!

I still can’t go near yogurt, sugar-free Jell-O or vitamins because they remind me of being sick in the hospital. Once a month, I get my vitamins via injection.”

THE GO-FORWARD PLAN
“Since before Thanksgiving, I could eat and drink, and I’m happy that I can work out again: I slowly started this past month on the elliptical. It takes me an hour to do a 30-minute workout. I fit it in at 5:30 AM, before my day starts. In the new year, I’ll add strength training, and I’ll start up again with a trainer in March—the gym is too crowded in January and February with everyone making good on their resolutions! Until then, I’m doing DVDs at home like Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.

I love lifting weights and pushing the boundaries of what I can do. Cardio is a necessary evil—I’m not a fan. Sometimes I tell myself to do 10 minutes and wind up doing an hour; sometimes, 20 minutes needs to be good enough. My Fitbit tells me if I need to walk. I walk around my house during commercials or go up and down the stairs to get my steps in. Working out makes me more productive, more creative and less stressed. It allows me to look at things differently.

I just broke into “One-derland,” or the one-hundreds, for the first time in over 30 years. The closer you get to your goal, of course, the harder it is. Now I get to wear the pretty sports bras I couldn’t wear before, like the Panache Ultimate Maximum Control Sports Bra. I’ve lost a band and two cup sizes. Before, I was just out of the size range.

By the end of the day, I’m exhausted. Because I’m up by 5:30, I’m in bed by 9. I’m already more confident. I don’t feel I’m being judged as much when I walk into a room.

I’ve made a commitment. I chose to do this to myself. I don’t want to fail; I want to be healthy and enjoy my life! I’m over 55, and I’m hoping to finally get to where I’ve always wanted to be. Before my year anniversary, I want to be at my goal weight. I don’t want to be an old person who can’t do things. I like having muscles, being able to do anything, being a strong woman.”

Going through weight changes of your own? That’s the right time to have a bra fitting. Contact Kathy’s team of amBRAssadors at 877-728-9272 (select option 4) or chat on barenecessities.com. 

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Brooke Glassberg
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, calligraphy, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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