Category: <span>My Story</span>

It’s exactly one year ago today that I went into St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Dublin to get my Gastric Bypass surgery.

It’s been a strange year, what with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also been a great year in terms of prioritising my health.

My weight loss surgery was never about being slim, because I’m not. I’m still obese. But having lost over 40 kg of weight, I’m a lot more healthy than I was before. And I’ve significantly reduced the risk of life-altering (or indeed life-ending) diseases. And that’s much more important to me!

My obesity disease is under control. I’ve lost weight, and I’ve not immediately put it all back on again, which would happen every time I stopped dieting. The surgery has been an invaluable tool to help me stop overeating, which is great. Even though I have pretty-much reverted to the same diet I had before the surgery, I’m not gaining weight!

And even if I don’t lose any more weight, I’ll still be delighted with the outcome.

I would totally recommend it to anyone that struggles with their weight. In the past I totally fitted the stereotype of a yo-yo dieter. I was use a calorie-counting app, or go to a slimming club, and I would lose 30kg / 5 stones / 70 lbs over the course of 6 months – but then sometime would happen, I would stop using the app or going to the club, old habits would return, and all of the weight I lost (and often more) would return.

However getting the bariatric surgery has helped break that recurring cycle of loss and gain. This time, it’s going to help me keep the weight off!

My Story Surgery

Going into hospital for any procedure during the COVID-19 pandemic is pretty strange.

There’s all the additional safety protocols to worry about, like having to wear a face mask, and not being allowed any visitors. And for some, there’s the concern that they might even catch COVID in hospital!

However, there’s definitely some advantages of going through weight loss during a lock down:

  1. Not working in the office – I’m lucky because I’ve been able to carry on working during COVID, and in the weeks immediately after surgery I felt able to return to work more quickly than perhaps during ‘normal’ times. I didn’t need to worry about how I’d do my commute by bicycle when my surgical wounds are still healing. And because working from home often comes with more flexible working hours, I could perhaps take a long lunch break to have a lie down if I wasn’t feeling well.
  2. Not eating in the office – As I’m no longer having lunch with my colleagues each day, I don’t need to worry about questions related to my restricted post-surgery diet. I was able to recover and get used to my new way of eating in private. And because I’m cooking for myself, and not trying to pick the most suitable thing from a menu, I can have exactly what I want.
  3. Fewer social occasions – When eating out in restaurants and cafes – as well as at friends’ homes – it can be difficult finding something suitable to eat – either because the food it too rich, or the portions are too large! I don’t need to field well-intentioned questions from friends or waiting staff about why I didn’t finish my meal. And I don’t need to explain to anyone why I’m not drinking.

Did you, like me, have your surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you planning your surgery in the next few months? I’d love to hear your perspective on bariatric surgery during the global pandemic!

My Story Surgery

It’s almost a whole year since my Gastric Bypass surgery, and so this week I met with the Bariatric physician for a check-up.

We talked about my progress in losing weight over the last year (around 41 kg or 6 and a half stones), but mainly the conversation was about the physical, medical, mental, emotional, and psychological benefits that the weight loss has brought.

The consultant was keen to re-state that bariatric surgery is not a tool to make someone thin – it’s a tool to help make someone more healthy.

Losing all this weight has dramatically decreased my chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer. It has also helped address my hormone imbalance, and is meant to help improve men’s sexual health.

But in addition to all the great health benefits, there’s all the quality-of-life benefits. I can now exercise pain-free, and simple thinks like getting dressed on a morning are easier. It’s easier to get up off the sofa, and to walk up a flight of stairs. It’s little things like these examples that make life better when you’re a healthier weight.

Of course, one year on, I’m still an obese man. My BMI is around 35, and I still wear 2XL shirts, but I’m considerably more healthy than I used to be.

The consultant said that a good outcome of the surgery would be to have lost around 40% of excess body weight after one year. That’s lower than the 70% that I had read about on other sites. And my excess body weight loss at this point is 48%, which I’m pretty happy about. I’ve not managed to get to my goal weight – I would need to lose another 20 kg for that – but that’s fine.

He did say that I need to watch out for a couple of things in the coming year:

  1. Potential to become alcohol dependent – which I don’t think will be much of a problem for me, as I’ve all but given up drinking. I’m not completely teetotal, but I only have maybe one glass of wine about once a month.
  2. Potential to gain weight – he said to watch out for any weight gains over about 3 kg (half a stone), and to get in contact with my Bariatric team if was gaining, as they would be able to help with other forms of treatment (I’m assuming that means diet plans or drug treatments).

And unless I have any problems, then I don’t need to see the consultant again for another year.

My Story Surgery

I’ve been hovering around the same weight – give or take a kilo – for the last 6 weeks. And, more worryingly, for the last 4 weeks my weight has actually been creeping up!

I had been making good progress, and in first 7 months after my gastric bypass surgery I managed to lose 40 kg (over 6 stone) in weight. But since then my progress has stalled. And I kind-of know why.

Too much snacking and bad snacking

My main meals have pretty much stayed the same. I’m eating the same breakfast, lunch and dinner as I usually would – with an emphasis on protein rather than carbs.

However, I’ve got into the really bad habit of snacking on sweets between meals – which means I’m consuming a fair amount of sugar and empty calories. My particular undoing at the moment are mints, which I often eat unconsciously while at my desk, and they’re almost pure sugar.

If I can reduce the amount of snacking between meals, or at least make my snacks more healthy, then hopefully start to lose a bit of weight again. The key to this is to not have unhealthy snacks in the house, because I’m only picking at them because they’re handy.

I might also start tracking all my foods again in MyFitnessPal, which is a pain the hole to do, but it really useful in helping to keep track of my daily calories and macro-nutrients.

A lack of upper body strength

I’m pretty good at doing exercise that builds strength in my lower body. I walk and/or cycle pretty much every day, which helps build strength and muscles in my legs. But I do pretty much no training that helps build muscles in my upper body.

I’ve been told that people losing weight after bariatric surgery are prone to losing muscle mass as well as body fat. And to counteract this muscle loss, it’s important to eat lots of protein, but also to do strength and resistance training.

I went to see an Exercise Physiologist a couple of weeks ago, and he gave me an exercise plan to help with building my upper body, but I haven’t actually started doing it. I tell myself that it’s because I’m still waiting for my dumbbells to arrive – but it’s probably more related to laziness!

My Story Surgery

Today marks the 8-month anniversary since my gastric bypass surgery, so I thought I’d give a quick update.

Since surgery I’ve lost a total of 41 kg so far – that’s nearly 6 and a half stones, or 90 lbs. I’m delighted with the progress so far, and am continuing to lose weight – albeit more slowly than in the first 6 months.

My BMI has also dropped below 35, so I’m officially not ‘morbidly’ obese any more!


I’m eating normally now, and there aren’t any foods that I can’t tolerate. I’ve also not experienced dumping at all. I asked the dietician about it, and she said that I’d definitely know if I had it. So I guess I’m lucky to avoid it.

My tolerance for all foods means that I have to be careful not to slip into old habits and buy lots of sugary and fatty treats. I physically can’t consume as much food as I used to – because of my smaller stomach – but I’m sure I could do a lot of damage to my weight loss if I’m not careful.

I’m currently not tracking what I eat, which is potentially risky, but I want to see if I can make my eating more normal – without the obsessive tracking of calories and protein. I want to get used to the ‘new normal’ of eating.


My clothing sizes have definitely dropped. My jeans have gone down from a 42 inch waist to 36 inches, and my shirts have gone from 4XL to 2XL. So I’m finally able to dip into the half of the wardrobe that previously held the ‘too small’ clothes. I have some items that have never been worn and still have the tags on them, so it’s like going on a shopping trip, but everything is free!


As I’ve talked about before, I’m trying to exercise at least once a day. Not just for my physical fitness, but for my mental health as well. I’ve found that a walk or cycle is a great way to clear the head, and earn some Active Zone Minutes on my Fitbit!

I also had an appointment a couple of weeks ago with an Exercise Physiologist at Medfit Proactive Healthcare to get assessed for some strength training to help with my upper body strength and condition. I wanted to work with a specialist who has good experience of obese people and bariatric patients in particular, as I’ve had a bad experience with a personal trainer in the past who didn’t make any allowance for my body size and weaknesses.

Anyway, I now have an exercise plan to do at home, until the gyms open at least. Although I’m having trouble finding somewhere that sells dumb-bells, as they seem to be sold out everywhere!

My Story Surgery

I don’t know if it’s a side-effect from losing nearly 40 kg in weight, or whether it’s from feeling trapped at home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, but I’ve recently been seeking out every opportunity to get outside and exercise.

Even at my most heaviest, I did a bit of exercise – even if it was to walk the dogs in the park for 30 minutes. But the concept of actively seeking chances to get outside for exercise is a new experience.

Just the other day I went for a 90 minute cycle (all within my 5km limit, of course), then I took the dogs out for a walk for an another hour, and later that day walked to the shops to pick up a few messages. It was nearly 4 hours of exercise in just one day.

In the past I would have gladly spent my entire weekend glued to the sofa, barely registering 1,000 steps on my pedometer – and most of those would have been from trips to raid the fridge or visit the bathroom.

But now, most weekends, I’m itching to get out the house and do something.

Fitbit tracking

I like to track my steps using a Fitbit, but also track the amount of time I’m doing moderate-to-high intensity activity. Fitbit records this type of activity as Active Zone Minutes, and the World Health Organisation goal for people is to get 150 minutes a week.

When I’m out walking I find it hard to get my heart rate up enough to count towards my active zone minutes. I literally can’t walk fast enough to really get my heart pumping – unless I pick a route with lots of hill climbs.

To get zone minutes I need to get on my bike or do something else equally strenuous.

Every week I’m trying to meet – and often exceed – the goal of getting 150 active zone minutes. Some weeks I do really well. For example, last week was over 350 minutes. Although a couple of weeks ago when I injured my knee, I didn’t do quite so well.

However, with the improving weather now that spring has arrived, I’m hoping to be out and about a lot more, and racking up those exercise minutes!

My Story Surgery