Lisa’s story

My weightloss journey… Part 1: Before surgery

My weightloss journey… Part 1: Before surgery

I originally started Less Lisa. More Life. as a way to document my weightloss journey. Life got busy (as it does), and all of the posts I had planned, fell by the wayside. It’s an important part of my story, and I want to share all the highs and lows of weightloss surgery. Here goes…Part 1 Before surgery.

Backstory

During 2015, I was completely miserable. I was at my heaviest of 147.5kg! It seems unfathomable that  I let myself get to that point, but that was my reality. I had tried every single diet know to man and had never successfully kept the weight off. Back in 2008-09, I lost 40kg and got down to 91kg. I was feeling pretty good about myself…but then I bounced. I put all the weight back on and more in a very short period of time! Being a depression sufferer, this only made my condition worse. I started avoiding social situations, and not participating in life at all. I was becoming the person who sits on the sideline, rather than participate. It’s funny though, the bigger you are, the more invisible you become.

By this time, I was also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and had become insulin dependent. Giving myself a needle several times a day, and swallowing loads of tablets made me feel completely miserable. I couldn’t sleep well, because I was constantly getting up to pee, or I felt like I was choking from the fat on my chest and throat (undiagnosed sleep apnoea perhaps?). I had no energy at all to exercise, or play with the kids, or do the day to day things that needed to happen. I just didn’t want to live life like this any more. Something drastic had to happen.

Less Lisa More Life…the before photos…at my heaviest of 147.5kg

Late 2015, I made the life changing decision to have gastric sleeve surgery. I consulted my local bariatric surgeon, and was confident he was the person for the job. Not being in a health fund, the cost of surgery was very expensive, so I applied to have a portion of my superannuation released to cover it. This was not an easy task. Loads of forms and waiting, but thankfully it was approved. I’ll write another post on that process. Essentially, as it was deemed surgery for a life threatening illness (morbid obesity and diabetes), it was agreed that the money should be released.

Getting ready for surgery

My surgery was scheduled for 20 January 2016, and my pre-op preparation began on 1 January 2016. Talk about kicking off the new year with a bang! I gave up my 3L/day Pepsi Max habit cold turkey, and committed to 20 days of Optifast shakes and vegetables (list provided by surgeon’s dietitian). This is the only time I have ever followed a diet 100%!

My pre-op diet consisted of the following:

  • Breakfast – an Optifast shake
  • Lunch – an Optifast shake and 1 cup of allowable veggies
  • Dinner – an Optifast bar and 1 cup of allowable veggies
  • Loads of water

That was it. It was tough the first few days. I suffered from migraines and vomiting from the Pepsi Max withdrawals. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but it was definitely strange to eat such a restrictive diet. No meat, no dairy, no carbs, no soft drink, and no treats. I’m actually shocked that I did so well! I was so committed to having the surgery, that I didn’t even doubt it. The real challenge was keeping the food interesting, and I will share some recipe ideas in a future post for others that are on the pre-op diet. Thankfully I could add in herbs and spices. I did cry one night when my plate broke as I was carrying it to the table, and my precious vegetables fell on the floor!

The reason you must follow this diet prior to surgery is to prepare your body; to reduce size of the liver and the amount of fat surrounding it, and to reduce the risk during surgery. There is the real possibility that you could be on the operating table, and the surgeon isn’t able to perform the surgery. There was no way I was going to risk that happening!! I get so cranky when I read other pre-op patients asking whether they can have a cheat meal prior to surgery, or if it’s okay if they don’t follow the pre-op diet 100%. To me it’s a no brainer. Just do it! It’s for such a short period of time, and the benefits will outweigh what you’re missing out on in the short term.

I’ll end this post with a before photo…stay tuned for Part 2 Surgery

Less Lisa More Life…the before photos…at my heaviest of 147.5kg

 


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5 reasons why making your bed is good for your mental health

5 reasons why making your bed is good for your mental health

I have never been good at making my bed. I’ve always viewed it as an unnecessary chore. I mean, what’s the point? You’re just going to go to sleep in it again that night, right? I’ve made every excuse under the sun…I don’t have time, I’m airing the sheets, I’m going to have a nap later, I just can’t be bothered. Sound familiar?

For the past two months, I have been making a conscious decision to make my bed every single morning. Not just pulling the covers up, but straightening out the sheets and blankets, and dressing it up with pretty cushions as well. At first my hubby would get annoyed with me…he’s never been much of a bed maker either…but now when we get up, he helps me! It’s a miracle!! lol. It’s now become a habit, and I love it! I don’t even recognise myself any more.

If you’re suffering from depression, I highly recommend that you start making your bed every morning. You will thank me, and here’s why…

1. It gives you a sense of accomplishment

By making your bed, you have achieved the first task of the day. As Admiral William McRaven says in the video below, it will give you a small sense of pride, and will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. At first I didn’t believe it, but it’s true! I love stepping back and seeing my bed beautifully made. I now open the blinds and let the sun flood our bedroom. I put my shoes away, I hang up my towel, I put my clean clothes in the wardrobe, I vacuum! The bonus is, if you don’t do anything else during the day, you’ve still accomplished something, and you have a beautifully made bed to welcome you when you retire for the night.

2. It encourages you to get on with your day

On days that I’m feeling particularly depressed, I’m prone to hibernate. I’ve been known to get up for work, have a shower, then climb back into my bed still soaking wet and wrapped in a towel. Making my bed as soon as I get up encourages me to get on with the day. I’m less likely to climb back in and sleep the hours away. In fact, I’ve found that I get ready for work quicker now because I’m not having a lie down before heading into the office.

3. It reduces embarrassment

I don’t know about you, but I hate pop in guests…for the simple reason that I feel/know my home is never tidy enough to invite them into a welcoming space. The mess is incredibly embarrassing! On the way to answering the door, I would madly run around shutting all the internal doors to hide away my clutter.

Now that I’ve decluttered my room, and I make my bed every single morning, I’m proud to leave my bedroom door open! It seems to make the rest of the house not seem as bad. Not only that, I actually had my parents over for a cuppa recently…for what may be the first time in nearly a year. I look forward to many more cuppas with family and friends…and all because I now make my bed, which has led to wanting to look after the other areas of our house.

It’s such a joy to come home to a beautifully made bed every single day!

4. You provide a positive example for your family

Now, because I’ve never made my bed…neither do my children. I felt like I was constantly yelling at them to make their beds, but why would they when I never did it myself? My children never took any pride in their bedrooms, and it annoyed me greatly. I would often complain to my mum that the kids never cleaned their rooms, and it was driving me crazy. I’m sure she thought it was karma coming back to me for being a messy kid. I was failing them as a parent because I wasn’t teaching them that the simple tasks in life are important and worthwhile.

Since I started making my bed, there has been a complete change in their attitude! They have taken my queue, and are mirroring my actions in a positive way. Their rooms are tidier, and they make their own beds, not only without me yelling, but without me even asking! Mornings are so much calmer now. Miracle number 2!!

5. You have a sanctuary to retreat to

My bedroom was only ever a place for sleep. I never wanted to spend any time in there because it was completely unwelcoming and overwhelming. Now, it’s my favourite room of the house. I love retreating to my bedroom just to chill out and relax, watch a favourite television show by myself, read a book, write, spend quality time chatting with the kids, or reconnecting with my hubby. It is most definitely my sanctuary and the place I feel the most calm. I can feel my mental health improving every single day. Miracle no. 3!

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed…

Do you make your bed every day…and more importantly, how many cushions is too many?


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Welcome to the new Less Lisa More Life!

Welcome to the new Less Lisa More Life!

Yes, I’m back! It’s only been two years since the last time I wrote. I never intended to have that long a hiatus, yet that’s what happens life gets in the way. This isn’t an apology post…this is an “I’m ready to write again” post! I have missed blogging, but haven’t had the mental or physical energy to devote to it. To be honest, I felt like I’d lost my voice and that what I had to share wasn’t important. Just further noise on the already noisy internet. Over the coming posts, I will catch you up on everything that’s been happening, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you the new direction for Less Lisa More Life.

Less stuff

Less baggage

Less money

Less stress

Less weight

More health

More mindfulness

More joy

More passion

…as the title says…more life!

 

I want to be passionate about life again. It’s slowly coming with each and every step I take, and with it, my voice is returning. I’m excited to be writing again!

Less Lisa More Life will be about living the good life. I’ll be blogging about all of my passions…food, fashion, diy, design, and anything else that brings joy; as well as my personal journeys through depression, weightloss, and trying to become a reformed hoarder. Less Lisa More Life is a lifestyle blog for those of us wanting to live a simpler life. Nothing is off limits here. If you have any requests for future posts, please drop me a line at lesslisamorelife@gmail.com.

I look forward to getting to know you all again!


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This is not the time to be an ostrich!

This is not the time to be an ostrich!

Today’s post starts a little like Bridget Jones’ Diary. My life has become a series of statistics and medications. It sucks, but it is what it is.

Before breakfast…
Weight: 128.4 kg
BMI: 48 (morbidly obese)
BGL: 15.4 mmol/L (target 6-8 mmol/L*)

Yesterday was a massive wake up call.

I visited my endocrinologist for my quarterly check up. I had a feeling my levels would be elevated, but not that bad!

I have become seriously lax when it comes to managing my diabetes. Thanks to an ongoing kitchen renovation (and laziness), we’ve been eating so poorly. Loads of takeaway and ready meals…resulting in dangerously high blood glucose levels (BGL). My fasting BGL was 17.9 mmol/L!! I burst into tears knowing that it meant I’d have to start insulin injections. My cholesterol levels were also elevated, so another tablet was added to my day. Am I starting to rattle when I move? So now my day looks a little like this…

less Lisa more life | type 2 diabetes

– Checking my blood glucose levels before every meal and before I head to bed
– Injecting myself with NovoRapid before I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner
– Injecting myself with Lantus prior to going to bed
– Swallowing a tonne of tablets for diabetes, cholesterol, and depression
(no shit I’m depressed)
– Recording everything in my diabetes record book for my endocrinologist, diabetes nurse, and gp to review

less Lisa more life | type 2 diabetes

I’ll admit, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed this morning. Thank goodness I took notes when my endo was filling me in on my new regime. I think I’ll need to create a check list for everything I need to take and do throughout the day so I don’t forget anything.

My escalating diabetes issues further confirms to me that having weightloss surgery pronto is the best way to go. Looking thinner would be a bonus, but reducing my blood glucose levels to “normal” is the ultimate goal.

Time to pull my head out of the sand and get real. Wish me luck!

*mmol/L = millimoles per litre


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Why am I choosing to have gastric sleeve surgery?

I had always dismissed weightloss surgery, despite the fact that several doctors have recommended it to me over the years. The first time it was mentioned was nine years ago. Imagine how different my life could have been if I’d just listened. At the time, my only health issue was my weight and I thought that if I just gave a diet a red hot go, that I could do it myself. Since then I tried every diet known to man. I successfully lost weight, and then successfully put it all back on…and then some.

less Lisa more life | why I chose to have gastric sleeve surgery

I recently joined a couple of facebook support groups for people that have sought to improve their health via gastric sleeve surgery. The number of people seeking permanent weightloss solutions is very eye-opening. It’s so easy to be so consumed with your own issues and to feel alone in your struggle. The reality is, you aren’t alone, and everyone’s struggles are very very real. Choosing to have gastric sleeve surgery, or any kind of weightloss surgery for that matter, is usually the last resort and the act of someone who is desperate to regain their health and their life. It is not a decision that is taken lightly, nor the easy way out.

I asked a few friends why they chose gastric sleeve surgery…

The deciding factor for me was the embarrassment of flying for work and having to ask the airline for a spare seat beside me. Just the looks of others as I was walking down the aisle made me want to jump right off the plane. When I got to Malaysia I also didn’t do everything I wanted to because I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk for too long…. Definitely knew it was time to do something. – Michelle A.

I realized that the children I spent the last ten years trying to have, carrying and breastfeeding wouldn’t have me around if I didn’t do something, and that I wanted to see my grandchildren. – Anon

I was very overweight, but had no co-morbidities… that wasn’t going to go on forever. I wanted to live my live, not just survive it. I wanted to continue my adventures with my new husband and not sit back as a spectator wishing I could do that. – Michelle T.

I did it to stop the battle in my head over whether today a would be a good eating day or a bad one….I did it to stop feeling overwhelming regret and guilt on a constant basis. It was never about health or weightloss. It was about the constant self hatred. – Suzy

I was much like Suzi above, it was somewhat about health, but more about each day of self loathing due to 40 years of being obese and trying each day to “diet” without much success. At the age of 67 there is finally a tool that has helped me lose and I feel it is a workable solution for me. – Anon

I did it to save my life. At my heaviest I weighed 139kg. I didn’t stay at that weight for long but took too long losing it. As a result I was an overweight smoker for about 20 years. As a result I developed Diabetes Type II which went undiagnosed for many years. I was finally diagnosed when at 39 yrs of age and 100kg I had a massive heart attack. My body later rejected the 3 stents which had been implanted and I ended up having an emergency quintupple bypass. I developed endometrial cancer and required a radical hysterectomy with removal of 22 lymph nodes. As a result of missing lymph nodes I have developed lymphodema in both feet. As a result of clogged arteries I required an endartectomy where my neck was cut open and the carotid artery cleaned out. I have small blockages in my calves which make walking up an incline impossible and currently I have 3 fractures and 2 dislocations in my right foot and 1 fracture in my left. I now have a charcot right foot which may never regain normal shape. All of this has been a result of having undiagnosed diabetes as an obese smoker. I am 4 days post op, having had my surgery on my 42nd birthday at 101kg. Until my heart attack it was rare for me to have a sick day. Now I have a disability pension and a mobility scooter. I hope through my sleeve surgery to lose the excess weight, have full control of the diabetes and get rid of lots of medications. And I hope I have saved my life. – Melinda

My parents both struggled with their weight, and one week they had 7 doctor/specialist appointments between them. A week later I was told by a doctor that I needed to get my weight under control before I ended up down the same path as my parents.  As I have a child with a rare medical condition, I was scared that I wasn’t going to be around in the future to help him and my other two children. I never want to have to tell my children I can’t help them because I’m too sick myself. – Tan

Every single person that chooses weightloss surgery has a very valid reason for doing so, and I can relate to every single one.

So, why am I heading down this path?

I have been overweight, and now morbidly obese, my entire adult life. A couple of years ago my wrist was aching terribly all the time. It was absolutely debilitating, so I sort medical help. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome…which can be caused by obesity and diabetes. My doctor sent me for some blood tests to see if there were any other issues. Yep, you guessed it…type 2 diabetes. It was a shock, but not unexpected given my weight and family medical history. When I was first diagnosed, I could manage my diabetes with diet and exercise. I am now on oral medication. Unfortunately my diabetes is progressively getting worse. I was incredibly ill recently and my blood glucose levels sky rocketed into the 20’s, and I was very close to being admitted to hospital. I was so scared! Scared that I would have to be put on insulin, and scared of what will happen to my body if this continues…loss of eye sight, the possibility of losing my feet (just like my grandfather), and dying at an early age. Worst case scenario stuff, but it plagues my mind. The very next appointment I had with my endocrinologist, I asked for a referral for gastric sleeve surgery. I have been thinking about surgery for two years, but it wasn’t until recently that I made up my mind.

I have had friends who have had either the gastric balloon inserted, gastric band surgery or gastric sleeve surgery. I have been watching their progress closely and have decided that gastric sleeve surgery seems like the best fit for me. I needed it to be extreme and the assurance of permanency. I am confident it will work for me, and I am finally in a really good head space to undergo the procedure. From the very first moment I spoke with my surgeon, I felt a sense of calm. I know this is the right step for me.

Have you had weightloss surgery? What lead you to that decision?


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Welcome!

Hi all, and welcome. First things first…who am I?

My name is Lisa Warren. You may recognise me from my other blogs Life as we know it, and Blossom and Bright.

Here’s the deal. I turned 40 this year, and I thought by now I’d be feeling great and living life to the fullest. Sadly, that’s not happening. I’m just going through the motions, and I’m fed up.

For most of my life, I have been battling my weight. I have tried nearly every “diet” ever invented…losing weight, never getting to my goal, and then putting on more. It’s an incredibly vicious cycle.

My most “successful” weight loss occurred in 2006-7, where I lost 40 kg. I was starting to feel really good, and shopping in the “regular” clothes stores was the perfect reward.

It was during this time that I started having major gallstone attacks (it’s worse than child birth, trust me). In March 2007 I had lost enough weight so that I was no longer considered a “high risk” patient, and could be admitted as a normal patient to have my gall bladder removed. Afterwards, the surgeon told me that my gall bladder had deteriorated terribly, and they stopped counting stones at 20. It’s no wonder I was in pain. The first thing I wanted to eat as soon as I got home was grilled chicken, green beans, and mashed potato. I hadn’t eaten a potato in months and it was delicious!

Shortly after surgery, I became incredibly depressed and started to stack on the weight again. Only this time it didn’t take years; it was only a matter of months before I’d added 50 kg to my frame. This only served to make my depression worse. I didn’t want to leave the house, didn’t want to be seen in public, and basically wanted to hibernate. I was prescribed anti-depressants, and after adjusting brands and doses, I’m on medication that is helping.

Fast forward to March 2013. Almost overnight I had lost feeling my right hand, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it back. It was incredibly painful and I had no strength in my hand whatsoever. I went along to the doctors to see what was going on, and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. A nerve conduction study and bone scan confirmed this, and I was referred for surgery.

“Let’s do some blood tests to see what else is going on.”

This is when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I cried.

At first I was able to manage my diabetes through diet alone, and I was able to lose 15 kg by eating well and exercising my arse off. I also managed to regain feeling in my hand, and have avoided surgery (for now).

I haven’t been as diligent the past few months, however I’ve managed to keep the weight off. Phew! Unfortunately, my blood glucose levels have risen, and I’m now on medication. I’m hoping to avoid insulin injections in the future, but I need to learn to manage what I eat so that my blood glucose levels reduce.

As at today, I weigh 132.2 kg, with a BMI of 50.

My healthy weight range is 49-66 kg.

Essentially I have to lose a whole adult to get to my healthy weight range. Scary stuff!

So, I’m morbidly obese, a type 2 diabetic, and suffer from depression. Just thinking about my battle ahead makes me want to cry, but that’s not going to get me anywhere.

Thanks for joining me on my journey.


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