Before and After Gastric Bypass: I Feel Like I'm 18 Again

SantinoP on 18 Oct 2013 at 9:00am

SantinoP is a 38 year-old retiree from the restaurant business, living in Ontario, Canada. He underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2009 and lost 170 pounds. This is his story, in his own words.

I've been overweight my entire life. When I entered the work force, I injured myself and was bedridden. I couldn’t go to the gym and I kept getting bigger and bigger. I wasn’t able to walk very far without being winded. I even used to drive to my mailbox, which is just at the end of my driveway.

I tried everything to lose weight ... Atkins, the Cabbage Soup Diet, Weight Watchers … but nothing worked. Something had to be done. I had two little girls at home, and I wanted to make sure I was going to be around for awhile.

I went into gastric bypass surgery at 350. I lost 100 pounds in the first 100 days. Prior to the surgery, I could polish off a large pizza by myself no problem. After surgery, I was getting sick after three grapes. 

It’s not like going on a diet. You go on the Atkins Diet and you stick to protein, protein, protein -- but every once in awhile, you cheat and eat a piece of pizza. After surgery, you can’t cheat anymore. You can only eat a golf-ball sized portion and that’s it. If you try and put anything else in, it’s just going to come out. I succeeded losing weight with my surgery because I couldn't cheat.

I did miss eating comfort food during the first six months after surgery. Before, I had no problem polishing off a 16-ounce steak and a plate of pasta ... and while I was barbequing the steak, I’d make myself a sandwich. That would be a typical dinner. Now for dinner, I eat a very small Greek salad and a little piece of fruit -- maybe a piece of melon or half an apple. It was a huge lifestyle change.

But it wasn't just [the food]. I had a tremendous amount of energy after the surgery, so I forced myself to get out of the house. I started  walking laps around the block and eventually went to the gym.

It’s emotional when you lose the weight. I remember when I first stepped on that scale and weighed under 200 pounds -- that made a grown man cry. I have never been in the 100s in my adult life. I lost 170 pounds, I was 350 -- and now I stay around 180. I’ve maintained this weight for four years.

Four years ago, I couldn’t walk up the stairs without gasping for air. I had horrible sleep apnea, so I woke up in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. I was constantly tired.

Now I feel like an 18 year-old. I can run around and I’m never out of breath. It’s a [great] feeling to get out of your seat, and not need the railing or some other prop to get you off the chair or couch.

I feel like my life has just begun, whereas before, I felt like I was on my way out.

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