Bariatric Surgery: One Year – Post-Op

Today marks exactly one year since I had bariatric surgery. That decision has led to a lot of changes in my life. I’m in a different place now in comparison to when I was 50kg heavier. Life is so different, and these are my reflections and experiences over the last year. 

When I decided to go through with the surgery, this was a personal choice. Where I come from, if people know that you decided to have surgery, they immediately judge you. They make you feel like you are taking the easy way out. Never once did I ask people what they thought because it was not about them to begin with, but I can assure you, it is not the easy way out. Still, people feel the need to share what they think despite you never asking. Really, you cannot judge anyone who chooses a different path to you because you don’t know their path until you’ve walked in their shoes. Despite not caring what people think of my personal decision which has worked for me by the way, I choose not to share this with people because I don’t like having to justify my actions that do not concern anyone else. It is a private matter and always will be. 

Life was difficult at times immediately after the surgery. It was hard to adjust because your body and mind are adjusting to the changes taking place and it certainly takes your mind a little bit of time to catch up with the physical changes you are going through. Your body doesn’t recognise that it has had surgery so when you feel hunger, you feel like you can eat the same amount as before. Plus, immediately after surgery you are on a liquid diet which is difficult, so your body does not feel satisfied. Once you start the puree stage and solids, it is a whole different game altogether. I didn’t like the liquid stage at all. I just felt hungry all the time, but it was a necessary step. Once I was on the puree and solids phase, I struggled in the beginning because I was trying foods to see how my body reacted and sometimes, it was not pleasant. Having a mini-gastric bypass means that my body cannot absorb fat like it once used to and sometimes, if I ate something without knowing how much fat was in it, my body had its own embarrassing way of telling me that the food was high in fat content. I quickly became aware of this and recognised that I needed to adjust rapidly. I am much better with this but even now, if I eat excessive amounts of junk, my body does not like it and it will tell me. Plus, I don’t like how my body feels when I eat so much junk. I notice a big difference internally, it’s quite hard to explain. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy junk food at times and pizza, fries, chocolate, and cake are still my favourite, but I am more mindful of how much I eat and how often I eat these kinds of food. It’s odd because the surgery doesn’t fix it all and it certainly takes time, but I feel that I am more conscious of the choices I make now and most of the time, I will opt for the healthier option even when I am out. I focus on eating low carb and high protein and now, even a salad can fill me up which I sometimes struggle to believe. It’s a good feeling in all honesty because I was always the kind of person that could never be full on a salad. I will eternally be grateful for this feeling. This is something you could consider a non-scale victory because really, as a former fat person, it was always easier to go for the food that would be high carb and fat because it would be the most filling. 

After the surgery, other changes meant that it became easier to do things I once found to be a chore. See, at the time, I didn’t realise that not only would this surgery change my physical appearance, but it helped changed my mindset too. For example, it became routine to meal-prep. I became conscious of what I was eating and how much I was eating. Every week, I would do a food shop and cook – something that I didn’t make the time for before. It was routine to pre-pack my food for the next day so I knew exactly what I would be eating and often, I would carry my own snacks and I still do this. Slowly, meal-prepping became a habit and now, if I am not prepared, it can make me feel like I am off-balance because I worry about not eating the right things. It really throws me off and I hate not knowing what I will be able to eat. That brings me to the next point about restriction. Of course, your body is restricted from eating as much as you did before and there is no way I would be able to eat the same quantity. I don’t eat excessively because the couple of times I did, it was a very painful and tiring experience. I felt unwell and felt like I was breaking out in sweats. It’s not a nice feeling so you stop yourself from eating excessively. Most of the time throughout the month, I notice that restriction is there, especially when I eat carbs but the only time I notice restriction not to be intense is when my hormones are different, especially before my menstrual cycle. For example, I always have a few days in the month where I eat excessive amounts of chocolate and I just feel like I can eat non-stop. But I keep a close eye on this because I am in control. I have never eaten uncontrollably since the surgery and its odd because the physical changes are the side effect of the mental changes. If there is a particular food I want to eat, I will eat it, but I have changed the way I do. For instance, if I crave a McDonald’s, I will get a Happy Meal and take half of the bun off from the cheeseburger. My mindset is very different when it comes to food now. I eat everything but I just eat everything moderately in comparison to when I was 50kg heavier. The funny thing about this is though, everyone always tells you that if you eat in moderation, the weight will drop off, but the truth is, when you are fat, it takes a lot more food to feel satisfied which is why it becomes challenging to lose weight by just eating less. 

A year later, I have noticed that I am able to eat much more than the early stages which is inevitable. I now have added things in that I did not eat at the start. For instance, sometimes, I will eat rice or bread. It’s great. I enjoy those foods, but I no longer feel that I need them all the time to feel content or that they control me. My meals no longer need to consist of them. The surgery has most certainly changed my eating habits for the better and being more mindful helps a lot. An example of this is that I try to eat at a slower pace, sometimes counting how many times I have chewed my food and so forth. I also sometimes drink water when I am feeling hungry to rule out dehydration for hunger. There are so many changes I have noticed a year later that I feel if I wrote everything, you’d stop reading in the next thirty seconds so I am trying to keep it as short as possible, even though this post is pretty long!

I want to talk about the other things that have been a result of the surgery. I lost weight at a steady pace, never exceeding 2-3kg a week. This was initially. And it was great. Every time I got on the scale, I would see a good loss and I would keep going, looking forward to weighing the following week. And then the weight loss started becoming visible. My clothes were getting looser, and people started asking what I was doing. I never told anyone in my workplace because I know what people are like. They always want the next thing to talk about and my personal life was not a topic of discussion to be had. Of course, it is natural for anyone that loses weight to be talked about because losing weight is one of the hardest things to do, so people always want to know how it is being done. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad thing if people are talking about it. One thing I noticed about losing weight is that people will respond to you differently and suddenly, it’s almost like people who didn’t even know of you feel it is okay to comment in a way that can stop you in your tracks. For example, one colleague outright told me that I look so sexy and beautiful now because I had lost weight. I disagree because there are some super beautiful plus size women out there. Another colleague proceeded to tell me that I should stop losing weight as if my weight loss journey had anything to do with them or that I had asked for their opinion. I get comments like ‘you look skinny now’. But this wasn’t the worst of it. The one that you could say ‘triggered’ me was a conversation I was having with a colleague about general things and my weight loss journey came into it. It started with the basics of them asking what I was doing etc, but it was the thoughts they shared after that bothered me for a few days. The first thing they told me was that they preferred the bigger version of me as if their preference was something I cared about. They then went on to tell me that I thought I was ‘it now’ because I had lost all this weight, and therefore they preferred the fat version of me. See, how I perceived this was that when a person is fat, it makes them vulnerable. The fat person always has a lot more to prove because people can always use their physical appearance against them. Plus, in the back of their minds, they will always be reminded that can always have the fat card used against them and it is completely true. The colleague said that a fat person doesn’t have as much choice and is the reason they are more accepting of things. What this told me was that me losing weight was suddenly about them and how I became unattainable to them because I was the ‘it girl’ now. By the way, I do not perceive myself in this way which I will come on to shortly. You see, for this person, me losing weight meant that I could be more selective now rather than just settling. They also brought up the way I dressed because I dress modest with no body parts showing and it bothered them that they couldn’t ‘check me out’. This was telling me a lot about the person. They also then decided to tell me that people would always make comments before about how ‘she’s pretty but she’s fat’. And it’s that final comment that was confirmation on everything I believed about being fat to be true. And it just made me sad. See, life is difficult for a fat person. It is a constant mental battle between what you want to look like and how you can’t focus if your stomach does not feel satisfied. People find it easy to say that fat people are greedy but that is not always the case. As a former fat person, I can genuinely confirm that you eat more because it takes more food to feel satisfied, not because you are greedy. This is not rocket science! I know this because I always wondered how someone could ever feel full from appetisers or salad but now I understand. It really is just about your stomach size. 

See, I always knew that being fat meant people judge you and can’t accept you as you are. They are not able to look past the fact that you don’t fit the norm. I don’t even think many people realise that they are fat phobic. The funny part is that even when you’ve lost the weight, people will still have something to say. ‘You look skinny now, you’ve lost too much weight, your face looks gaunt’, and my brain just comprehend why people just cannot let you be. I look at my body daily, I know what I want to achieve and my personal choices about my body are not for anyone else to comment on. Why can’t people just mind their business? Someone else’s physical appearance really does not concern anyone else. Me deciding that I wanted to improve my life by losing weight gives no one else the right to say anything. If someone gained weight, I don’t feel the need to point it out to them. They could have an underlying medical condition that has resulted in them starting a medication that makes them gain weight. I have no right to talk about someone else’s personal life and pointing it out. So why do some people take it upon themselves to give their opinion when it is not asked for? Why is it okay for people to comment in a way that can be perceived as negative when someone has lost weight? I didn’t lose weight because I wanted people to point it out to me. Instead, I lost weight for health purposes and how I felt about myself. It was never about anyone else to begin with. It just gets frustrating, especially when you don’t want to have a conversation about it. I do have to admit though, some people are respectful about it and will not mention it or they will comment in a way to say they have noticed that I have changed but that would be the end. I don’t mind so much then because I don’t feel uncomfortable about it. I know people might not necessarily mean it negatively but really, if people spent a bit of time reflecting on their thoughts that they vocalise, they would recognise that some of those thoughts are not okay to share. 

Going back to the ‘it’ girl comment. It Is natural for anyone who loses weight to feel a bit more confident about their physical appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I was always confident even when I was bigger but now, I am much more confident and probably not as paranoid. I guess it’s because I don’t internalise the struggle of being fat. For example, if someone was staring at me before, I would always assume it’s because they were thinking about how fat I was. I know that is not necessarily true but at the same time, it’s how your brain thinks when you feel a certain way about yourself. Everything is taken negatively which is unfortunate. Now, I appear confident because I have added a splash of colour to my wardrobe whereas before, I would purposely wear dark clothing to be unnoticeable. It’s hard not to change because it’s inevitable when your physical appearance does. But it does not mean I think I am the ‘it girl’ now. I never have been and never will be. Nor do I have the desire to be. 

Everyday it’s a challenge. It’s never smooth sailing. I have days where everything is great – my water intake is incredible; I don’t eat a lot and I eat all the right things. But then there are other days where I want to eat cake and chocolate for breakfast, pasta for lunch and pizza as a late-night snack. But such is life. We will always have moments like that. And I have learned to accept those days because in the long run, I know I am in control. I am eternally grateful for all the non-scale victories. For example, sitting on a plane where the seatbelt is looser. Or being able to sit cross-legged. One of the things I really appreciate is not always being the fattest person in the room or being the fat friend. Another non-scale victory is that I am not as self-conscious. It was difficult when I was fat because I felt like people before would look at me in a way where they felt sorry for me due to my physical appearance. When I go somewhere new, the people don’t know that once upon a time, I was 50kg heavier and the concept seems strange at first, but it is such a liberating feeling that I appear to be a regular weight and a regular person. It’s also nice to be able to buy clothes and them fitting well despite me living in oversized t-shirts, leggings, and trainers whenever possible. And although the positives outweigh the negatives, the negatives can sometimes get you down. For example, the loose skin or still looking in the mirror and not being able to see your progress because of the body dysmorphia, which most people who lose an excess amount of weight experience at some point throughout their journey by the way. I personally think this is because your mind takes much longer to catch up with your body and the changes that have occurred. But despite looking at myself sometimes and still not liking what I see, most of the time I do and I am eternally grateful for getting to where I am now because no matter what, I prefer this version of me. I accept the excess skin and know I am much healthier. And who knows, one day in the future, I might be able to have the excess skin removed. For now, I am learning to appreciate how far I have come over the last year and I will not let the excess skin bother me.

Honestly, I could probably write a book on everything that has happened, what I have felt or been through over the last 12 months since having this surgery. Like I said, it has been life-changing in more ways than one. I’ve tried to include a bit of everything in this post to just give an idea of how life changes. I will update after a certain period to share how I am getting on and how life has changed in this aspect once again. Now, you might be here because you’re thinking about getting the surgery or you have recently had it. Honestly, do it if you’re thinking of it because this is your sign. If you’ve just had the surgery recently, then all the best for this new journey you’re embarking on. It’s one hell of a ride. But one thing I can assure you on is that your life will change for the better in more ways than one. I think people are often fearful about the changes, but I feel the positives outweigh the negatives. I know this because I have been through it. Just do your own research and so on, but just know this will not be the easy way out. It’s a mind game. You will have to work for it and there will be some ups and downs along the way. It will be a never-ending journey and you will go through many different emotions on this journey. It is beautiful and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is a part of me and makes me who I am – a healthier, happier & much more content version of myself. 

Until next time, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 


Bariatric Surgery: Post-Op Thoughts

I did it! I had the bariatric surgery on the 25th of June! I travelled to Turkey, Istanbul because it was cheaper than other places. The hospital itself was a private hospital and it was an excellent facility. I was admitted the day before the actual surgery where lots of tests were done, including an endoscopy. The next morning was the day of the surgery. It was a little scary because you just don’t know what the outcome will be, but it went smoothly, and it was a success. I have never seen an operating theatre before, so that was a strange experience in itself. I thought I would feel a lot more emotionally just before I had the surgery, but I was surprisingly quite calm, and my brain really was not thinking much. I think I just wanted it over and done with. I remember seeing them inject the anaesthesia and within thirty seconds I was out. After waking up from the surgery I was in complete agony. I could feel where I had been operated on. My vision was very blurred, but I remember seeing that I was being given morphine through a drip after crying out in pain. Thank whoever invented morphine! I stayed in the hospital for four days in total which was an adequate time to recover a little. I say a little because bariatric surgery is a surgery that needs a few weeks to recover properly in my humble opinion, but this is best done at home as you start to resume daily life. I slept a lot after the surgery and each passing day, the pain lessened a little. I started a liquid diet one day after and personally, I loathe liquid diets. However, it is a necessity for two weeks post-surgery. This is definitely the worst part for me. I am on a liquid diet until the 15th of July where I will then be able to start the puree stage. The puree stage lasts for two weeks and then it is solid foods, but still with some restrictions. I am okay with this as this is only the beginning of the journey. I know this part is temporary and eventually, I will be able to cook flavoursome food. 

I did this alone and I am glad I did because this journey is mine and mine only. I wanted it to start off with just me and I am very independent as it is. I travelled to Turkey, had one day of sightseeing and eating delicious Turkish food (their breakfast is divine) and then it was time to go to the hospital. Despite doing this alone and being content with that decision, it has been tough at times. It is the little things you need someone to help with, like helping you get up so there is no pulling near the incision sites, or someone to lift your suitcase at the airport. However, I managed all of that and I am now back in my own little space which I am grateful for. There is no place like home after all. I have been back a few days and have managed to rest a lot so already, I am feeling a better. I am also doing normal things such as driving, walking, doing household chores and so forth. The only things I am struggling with are not being able to bend over to pick things up, so I must bend down by squatting and just do things very slowly in general, like getting in and out of the car. I can sleep but only on my back whilst being turned to the side a little, just so there is no pulling near my incisions. The most difficult thing is getting out of bed because it adds pressure in my stomach, and this is the most painful part. I remember in the hotel one day I got out of bed and cried out in agony because of the physical pain. Since then, I have been taking it much easier, but it takes me a solid five to ten minutes to get myself out of bed. I have low levels of energy, but I am putting that down to the lack of nutrients with only being on a liquid diet. 

This is no walk in the park. The part I struggling with is that I am still feeling hunger and because my brain thinks like a fat person, I think that I can still eat the same as I used to. Deep down though, I know my stomach will not allow this and I am glad. This is the part that proves just how challenging this is because I must constantly have a conversation with myself to remind myself that I do not need a lot of food to be content and that I must listen to my hunger cues, not my brain hunger cues. This is so much more than just having an operation to help you reduce hunger. It is the psychological work that goes into it to help prevent you from getting into the same situation as before. The hunger I was feeling was intense after surgery. I wondered what the difference was because immediately, I did not feel any difference. However, this is down to the fact that the hunger hormone ghrelin has not reduced completely yet. As time progresses, this hormone reduces, thus, not feeling as hungry. I have noticed now, nearly two weeks post-op, that the hunger is reducing and my protein shakes, water, fresh juice (selected fruits) and broth do keep me satisfied. I am interested to see how much I will be able to eat once I do start the other stages and will be able to eat actual food. 

Despite some of the challenges I am currently facing, I don’t regret doing this. After having the surgery, it has become even more clear that this was the absolute best decision for me. I have no regrets and I would highly recommend this to anyone that has had several failed attempts at trying to lose weight. It is not just about losing weight, but it is also about the healthy lifestyle you gain when your entire being is not focused on food. I have already started noticing small differences such as my face looking a little smaller, sleeping more restfully through the night, not to mention a 4kg reduction on the ‘glorious’ scales thus far. There is so much to look forward to but the thing I am looking forward to most is being satisfied with less food that is nutritious, building that healthy lifestyle I have always wanted to achieve. This is a progressive journey where I am learning each day. I am excited to see how my life will be as I continue this lifestyle change. I will document this journey with honesty because I know it is not going to be smooth sailing. It’s going to be one hell of a rollercoaster, but I am in for the thrill! 

Until next time, 


The Unveiled Reflector x 

Bariatric Surgery: Pre-Op Thoughts

I can’t believe I have made the decision to have bariatric surgery! I have never had surgery before, so I am nervous as hell. I hate needles and hospitals, yet here I am, willing to go under the knife! But I guess that just proves how much I want this and how much I need this in all honesty. The surgery date is approaching fast and with it nearing the end of the academic year here in the Middle East, I haven’t had a lot of time to really sit down with my thoughts and gather them until this last week. This is when it hit me like ‘Oh f***, it’s happening’. The fact that the surgery is becoming a reality is scary and nerve-racking. I can’t believe I am about to start a whole new chapter in my book of Life! There have been so many thoughts that have been going through my mind as the date gets closer, but they have all been chaotic. They have been hard to articulate. There has been so much to think about that I almost feel like I do not know where to start. 

I am excited as I embark on this new journey. I wanted my thirties to start off with a healthier and happier me. I can’t help but wonder what this fresh new start will bring. As I have been sitting with some thoughts, I am excited because of what this means and the positive changes I am hoping it will bring. I feel I will start seeing results quite quickly and this will motivate me to keep pushing when I am struggling. It’s also the little things like the fact that my clothes will fit better. I won’t constantly be worrying about my next meal. I will be able to be more physically active because my body will allow it. I won’t be exhausted all the time because of my weight, I won’t be out of breath for walking small distances, food won’t control me, and I won’t have to feel completely uncomfortable in the skin I have, are just some examples. 

Despite all the positive thoughts I have and the excitement of a new chapter, a part of me deep down can’t help but be apprehensive a little. See, the thing is, if you’ve never had to battle with weight to the extent where it has impacted your entire life and it feels like everything has revolved around physically being a certain way, it can be a little difficult to understand why someone like me might have such fears. I’m not saying that my fears are overriding my positive thoughts completely, but at the same time, if I fail with this then I question whether there really is hope for someone like me. See, my biggest fear is that I won’t be successful long term. And that’s what it comes down to. My weight has been a problem for me my entire life. I can’t even begin to imagine a life where it won’t be a problem. However, I think I have come to terms mentally that my weight and this health journey is going to forever be a personal struggle for me. It’s the biggest mental challenge that I face, and it requires a lot of inner work to form healthy habits. I am trying to work out why I am an emotional eater. I am scared that even though I am having surgery, will it really mean I eat less? I can’t imagine what it will feel like to not constantly feel hungry or be worried about food. Bariatric surgery is such a personal decision that I am worried people are going to question how I am losing all this weight and judge me when and if they find out, even when they might not know anything about surgery. I’m trying to do the mental work but it’s hard. It takes a lot, and it is an evolving journey. I can’t imagine what it will feel like as I am changing physically. I’m scared about whether this will even work for someone like me. I can’t imagine what it might feel like to not always be the biggest person in the room, wondering if I am taking up too much space. Maybe I won’t feel like people are judging me all the time or only staring at me because of my physical appearance. Maybe I won’t think that the only thing people are thinking when they look at me is how I let myself get this way. I can’t imagine what it will feel like to eat smaller portions and feel full. I am wondering whether even after the surgery, will my eyes be bigger than my stomach and want to eat more? Will I be able to differentiate between head, emotional and physical hunger? Will my brain be able to catch up to my body whilst I am losing weight, or will I go through body dysmorphia? I am scared that I will go back to old eating habits, feel uncontrollable around food, and that emotional eating will get the better of me. Will I be able to meal prep enough to cook homemade healthy foods and be able to listen to my intuition as to when I should stop eating? Will I be the mindful eater I am working on being? I wonder if I will ever be able to love my body the way I want to because of the loose skin I will most likely have. I know loose skin isn’t the end all and be all and it is something that can eventually be removed, but I feel that feeds into the body dysmorphia and will result in me not feeling different. I am scared that I won’t become active like I want to because I will still be hesitant that my weight will stop me. Most of all, I am scared that food will still be my vice and I will eternally be self-conscious about my physical appearance, feeling like I am not living in the present moment.

It’s a fact that bariatric surgery isn’t going to be a quick fix. In fact, this surgery is just the tool I need to get started. It’s the mental challenge that can be the most difficult part. That’s all it is – a mental game. I know nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and fitness is something that I will forever need to work on. My weight will always be something I need to keep an eye on, and it will forever be a work in progress. It’s a lifelong journey that I am about to commit to, which is why I am fearful. I am wise enough to know that it isn’t going to be smooth sailing and a perfect journey. But I want this change. I have wanted it for so long! I want to be the best version of myself, and I am hopeful that this will enable me to succeed. I don’t want to be who I am physically anymore. It’s tiring and makes me unhappy. I’m just fed up with constantly feeling this way. I hate it and feel like this is always on my mind and prevents me from living the life I dream of living to the fullest. I just wonder if I will ever feel supported on this journey without feeling like food choices are a constant mental battle. Finally, all these chaotic thoughts lead me to one final thought. I have no idea what to expect. A life after bariatric surgery will be completely new territory to me. All I know is that as frightening and as scary as this seems, I am excited nevertheless to begin this new chapter in my book of Life.

Until next time, 


The Unveiled Reflector x