Shannon's Journey

(Lost 90 kgs)

I’m 31 years old and on 19 April 2018 I had gastric sleeve surgery. In looking at the procedure options, I considered a gastric bypass, or gastric sleeve. For me, the sleeve felt less obtrusive than a bypass.

I had lost a significant amount of weight 3 or 4 times (around 30-40 kgs) over 3 or 4 years. I just couldn’t keep it off. I was broken almost. My weight loss was always a quick fix. I was good at losing the weight, but keeping the weight off was the problem.

I think this was because I was very much focused on the numbers only – so it wasn’t lasting. I also just never felt full. I used to be able to do eating competitions. I remember eating a massive pizza once and just throwing up after. There was nothing telling me to stop eating.

My day used to consist of “what am I going to eat?” I know now it was really the endorphins I was looking for.

Life was okay until 3-4 years before my surgery. I was feeling depressed and focusing more on external things. The last year I tapped out and was almost just going through the motions of life. I was just existing. This led to my marriage breaking down one week before surgery! That was my rock bottom. It was also the turning point.

As I laid on the gurney going into surgery, I wasn’t sure I could do it. But after surgery, my family stepped up to help me. While it was a massive learning curve, I realised I had to learn how to cope and improve myself.

What is life like now?

Now I’ve had the surgery, there’s so much more I can do that I couldn’t do before. While it’s only been 17 months it feels like so much longer. It has been the best 17 months of my life. That’s because of how much I’ve done, it’s almost like it’s slowed time down. To date, I have lost 90 kgs.

I now enjoying running every day. I have just completed a half-marathon, and I’m doing the Noosa Triathlon this year. I used to get home from work and wonder what I was going to eat or drink. Now it’s going for a run or a bike ride. I went to Vietnam recently, and ran 10 km, rather than going to a bar like I might have done before.

As a person, it’s crazy how much this experience has changed me. I have the freedom to paint my own life now. I have pretty much transferred my addiction to food to a sense of accomplishment.

I see my choice to have weight loss surgery as a strength not a weakness. Surgery has given me control over my body. I literally eat to fuel and take the time to notice how I feel. I’m taking the time to enjoy life. My goals extend so much further than my weight loss now.

My success tips

I feel it is very important for people to try a few things first. Take in the information and see how you feel.After surgery, it’s all about focusing on the mental game. The surgery is a tool which freed up enough time and space for me to take the focus away from food, and find other things. The other 80% of this is mental. If you mentally change your lifestyle and diet, the rest will fall into place.

In going through this process, it’s also important not to focus so much on the numbers. In the weight loss community, it’s very much a ‘numbers’ game. It is easy to think your worth is that number – but you can’t think that way. I know its human instinct to feel jealous of others. It’s really important to appreciate your own journey. I focused on creating a lifestyle rather than doing a diet. Focus on the non-scale victories and the feelings. From being able to tie my shoes without holding my breath, or walking without shinsplints. My hard versus someone else’s hard doesn’t ever make their’s any less important.

My favourite saying is “always be inspired by who you were.”

My favourite saying is “always be inspired by who you were.”

Need some advice?

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