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Gordita

The Two Camps of Post Op Sleevers

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i shouldn't need a disclaimer on my personal blog but since it's public in nature I will just say: there are no studies backing this up. It's 100% my own conclusions based on being an active member on this website (WHICH I LOVE).

With that said:

the vsg doesn't fix our brains; just adjusts our belly capacities. As such, sleevers respond to their postop lives very differently based how their brains are wired and not how their new stomachs are plumbed.

there seem to be two main schools of post op sleevers.

School 1 members follow every rule rigidly for fear of relapse. I think of them as the Military Sleevers. They feel healthiest and strongest when adhering to their surgeons' and nutritionists' rules very strictly. They don't vary from their prescribed eating rules. To them, any compromise -be it wanting to sip a carbonated drink or eat a dessert-- is a slippery slope toward their old patterns and behaviours and they avoid them at all cost.

Interaction style on this forum: militants may not easily empathize with anyone WANTING to vary from the rules. They genuinely don't understand why a sleever would do something that would jeopardize their success. They tend to write passionate responses when other sleevers ask about wanting to know how to have tastes of their old lives in their new lives. They are not being jerks; they just really don't want their fellow members to fall off the wagon--and they very much believe that rule adherance is the way to avoid that.

Pros: Militant rule followers probably lose their weight faster. And they probably have great labs -low cholesterol and normal blood sugar--sooner to show for it. Possible Con: they may be unable to maintain such strictness long term (im talking 10-50yrs) and may experience guilt/anxiety in their daily lives as they struggle with wanting processed carbs or other forbidden fruit. I say "possible con" bc it may be that their "rigid" adherence to the rules creates strong habits that become second nature to them and they succeed long term and live long healthy lives unencumbered by obesity and its co-morbidities. Definite Con: they cannot eat chocolate cake with fudge frosting. : )

School 2 members try to adjust the rules they've been given -which seem "awfully strict" to them -- to fit what they think they can do long term with the idea that long term compliance is the key to their success. I think of them as the Flexible Sleevers. They feel best when they've recreated the pleasures of food/eating from their old lives but in a new healthier way that they perceive that can maintain long term. These are the people who figure out exactly how many times a week or month they can have a bite of dessert or pasta and still have a net loss.

Interaction style on this forum: They are the ones barely out of surgery wondering when they can have caffeine. They are the ones posting "why" and "when" blogs and forum threads. "Why can't I have carbonation?" "When can I have a sip of wine? They are also the ones gleefully reporting weight loss despite having had a bite of pasta or a taste of icecream. They are not TRYING to set themselves up for failure; they just want to know how to live a life as close to "normal" as possible; and for them that means living more like their non-obese friends and family live. they don't want to go through life feeling like a bariatric patient.

Pros: They experience less day to day anxiety regarding carbs etc bc, after all, they're having some. Cons: they probably lose weight a bit slower than their militant counterparts and it may take them longer to acheive better labs etc in terms of cholesterol, blood sugar etc. Possible con: it may turn out in the end that they weren't capable of just having "tastes" and "bites." It may be that sticking their toes in the water caused them to drown. But I say possible con because they may very well create a life for themselves in which they are able to mostly follow the rules with just enough variation to avoid rebelling and going completely apeshi* crazy and jumping off the wagon. Definite Con: They may have more puking/nausea/pain episodes bc they're more apt to push their limits.

Bottom line: this surgery is new; and only a "where are they now" done 10or more years from now will tell us which was the correct way to go. and even then i firmly believe it will vary from person to person based on their brains and personality types.

so for the military adherants to judge the more flexible dieters as dumb or not as committed is unfair. Likewise, the "flexible" sleevers ought not roll their eyes that the sticklers won't stray from whatever they've been told by their medical team. perhaps the military camp is right and that flexing leads to backsliding. Or perhaps it will turn out the flexibles were able to stick it out longer bc they allowed for "human nature" in their post op lives. for now none of us knows for sure so there's no reason to cast stones and act superior when we comment on each other's postings.

The proof will be in the low carb sugar free pudding when long term results are in. everything we're doing right now is basically the testing phase.

So I say do what works for you with all your might. Comment on blogs and participate in forum threads with an intent to share your personal experience but with an understanding that it may not click for the other person and THAT IS OK. We on this website share a surgery in common but the rest of our histories and personalities are completely different and we need to have compassion for each other when we interact on this website.

happy wed -gordita

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Comments

  1. sraebaer's Avatar
    Love it, you have described me perfectly.

    Sincerely, Flexible Sleever

    P.S. I will never again on these boards say I drank a Diet Coke. You would have thought I was a terrorist.
  2. steaph214's Avatar
    I still have 12 days before I am sleeved but I love your blog! I live on this forum and barely comment but this was a perfect heartfelt description of what goes on!
    I certainly plan on having success with this tool and proudly confess I am more of the militant type. Extremely prepared mentally and have everything available in advance to keep from ever having to wonder what to eat . I have to pray about this because I don't want to be so food conscious that I drive people away. lol I do plan to strictly follow all my pre and post op instructions and trust I will have a uneventful surgery. Thanks for posting this. It made me think...
  3. JKRsmom's Avatar
    I would describe myself as a flexible sleever w/militant days. I tend to mostly stay good, but live real life. I know that my sleeve is a tool and I have went through my mourning stage with food. I feel like I am in pretty good control of my food with some slippage (usually around my "time of the month"). Your post made me smile because I think it is pretty accurate
  4. MBL's Avatar
    This is absolutely fantastic and puts into words my experience on this board. Love it! I am a militant DIETER. I do it very well. . . for awhile. But in the end, I fail, I just can't keep that up forever. I want to start out in the first camp and move to the second to maintain. Please, please, please
  5. brooklyn_mom's Avatar
    Love this!! I think I am a flexible sleever with militant tendencies. This post made me smile.
  6. Gordita's Avatar
    i am flexible BUT WISH i had the mental discipline to be militant. however, i really truly believe it's whatever makes it work for you long term.no apologies needed for our personal styles. succeeding long term is the best advertisement for "your team" and then everyone wins!! since im am flexible my pro is I dont stress what to eat at the superbowl party (everything!) but my con is im a quote unquote slow loser. the majority of days/meals, i try to eat healthy/non-processed/generally home cooked meals with focus on protein. i pack my lunches and snacks; i drink water and i exercise no less than 6times a week plus ballroom dance several times on weekend; so i know im getting healthier. but if it takes me twice as long to lose the fat bc some days i don't have my act together, then that's the price i pay. hugs to all of you. i love love love this site and the support -and the laughs -we get from each other.
  7. lornadoone629's Avatar
    Gordita, my friend......you have put it the best I've seen on this site. I think that there are some of us (sleevers) that get so passionate about their journey that they do come off as militant.....whether they mean to or not. I had militant tendancies for the first 3-4 months after my surgery and during my preop. Since my 4th month, and after I was released to eat any texture or food as long as it didn't hurt me or was in plan, I have become much more flexible. I do not want to live my life in denial and deprivation. I will partake of something sinful on VERY rare ocassions and in small quanitities. I am not putting things on a do not touch list...except for sodas of any kind. That's a dragon I've slayed once, and don't want to battle again. Water is now my friend!

    Anyway...great post and I love reading your thoughts. from a reformed militant, now flexible sleever! lol
  8. Skittles's Avatar
    Great blog, thanks so much. I started out with militant expectations but finding myself more in the flexible category of late. Nice observations.
  9. kenson's Avatar
    Ok, I'll confess, I had a cup of coffee today! Just call me Flexible Sleever Kathy! Gordita, you're the best!
  10. Narasweet's Avatar
    Totally blitzed it girl, you are so right,I too am flexible mostly with militancy thrown in on odd days, lol, I have not lst anything for 2 months, I was sleeved in July but still am slowly shrinking in measurements so that will have to do until I find my feminism or militant nature - laughing here. Great post, hugs you xx
  11. SuddenlySlimmerSusan's Avatar
    I'm a mixed bag. I am following the rules on the caffeine and carbonation, even though I don't necessarily believe in the reasoning behind them. Militant. I latched on to a comment the nutritionist made during our pre-op class where she said the not drinking for the 1/2 hour before meals wasn't as important as notdrinking during or after - so I have been drinking right up to meal time. Flexible. I have had a few carbs: 1/2 of a cupcake on my son's birthday ( I baked and frosted 2 dozen of those suckers and entertained a dozen screaming kindergartners for 2 hours - I deserved it.) I have also had a half serving of crackers twice. They weren't as good as I thought they would be. On the other hand a small bowl of fresh popped popcorn once or twice a week really hits the salty crunchy craving button. I am looking to lose 200+ lbs, so I need to find a path that I can walk for the long hall.
  12. Mem's Avatar
    Super blog...lots of insight. God Bless...Mem
  13. heyheypaula's Avatar
    excellent post Gordita. So much truth contained in those paragraphs.
  14. Hev's Avatar
    Hmnn that's an interesting comparison. Not sure I fit into either of the categories but then I have never fitted in neatly to any category.
    It will be very interesting in years to come see what the scientists and medical people have to say about this gastric sleeve op. All I know is it has worked for me so far..
    :-))))
    Love Hev
  15. Gordita's Avatar
    : ) @ hev. you're an original !
  16. CindyLouWho's Avatar
    How did you know this is what I needed to read today? I'm a week post-op and struggling mentally with my limitations. I know for myself that I will never be militant...I just hope being flexible gets me where I need to go.
  17. Mich-D's Avatar
    Yes, I bought a box of 100 plastic forks because I am now on the anything you can eat with a soft fork diet (soft stage). I appear to be one of the few, the proud members of school #1. My father was in the military for 30 years and i was in ROTC in high school. I couldn't join the military because various health issues, I was disqualified from being able to serve. So, I can see myself clearly in the first camp. However, I do not see myself as being militant. Nor that does not mean that I think any less of some one that has more flexibility. For me, I am very fearful of returning to bad habits as I have done every other tine I have tried to lose weight. Each time, I failed, it was because I wasn't ridged in my resolve and I was too flexible in trying add things into my diets that I should avoided. I am not trying for average weight loss, which is why I did a 5 week pre-op diet. I'm going for that 'Results Not Typical' type of transformation and I wish you all nothing but success.
  18. Gordita's Avatar
    There is no negative connotation to militant. Just my nickname for people who respect the rules and thrive within the structure as laid by by their med teams. nor is there favorable connotation to flexible-at least not for me. Just my shorthand for people trying to follow the spirit of the new laws without being bound by the letter of the law. Just different approaches. Different strengths. Different weaknesses. Plus, I'm sure a lot of us are hybrids but that doesn't make a tidy essay
  19. greenmomma's Avatar
    I'm from the Red Rover, Red Rover send Momma right over camp. Seriously, some days I'm militant and some days flexible, although mentally, I'm much more flexible, and view the long haul, big picture. There are days, when I read of people eating chicken a week out of surgery and it makes me nutty (er).
  20. speedracer's Avatar
    Gordita, which am I?

    teeheee-
  21. jillyjake's Avatar
    So well said. Flexible is me. What works for each individual should be all that we aim for. Yes we all go through the same emotions and bumps along the way but is it a very personal journey and an individual one at that. I love reading about everyone's progress but have learnt not to compare myself too much. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom, much appreciated
  22. Missbent's Avatar
    I confess, flexitary
  23. Gordita's Avatar
    lol@speedracer, i think i can guess based on your posts. : )
  24. speedracer's Avatar
    I go both ways Gordita, I am a Gemini after all = )
  25. lundbergmn's Avatar
    Another great post! Thanks for this! I'm a little bit of both myself.
  26. niamh's Avatar
    I'm definitely in the flexible camp, but don't think I've done any mental calculations of 'what I can get away with'. If I find myself having a few days of relatively less healthy eating or putting a pound on, I balance it out with some healthy eating days. No calorie or carb counting, just aiming for balance. Of course if I had trouble getting to my goal weight, I'd probably have tightened up more on being more militant.
  27. mem222's Avatar
    Well put
  28. erinja's Avatar



    Ahhh....a GREAT, through provoking blog followed by humor. Gotta love it - thanks for making me think AND laugh.

    2 weeks from now, I will be on the other side, recouperating. I tell myself (and my family/friends) that after all the hard work just to GET to the other side, I don't want to fail and make it for naught.

    I think I am going to be like missbent said...'flexitary'. Probably as rigid as I can be to get the good habits set and routine. I am weak. I need the structure and I need to build discipline. I think this gives me the tools to do that. My hope is that as I succeed and hopefully reach my goal, a comfort level sets in. I will have to make friends with food but can not let it rule me as it has in the past. I hope for a new relationship that allows me to enjoy what I eat to survive, not pad emotional issues and pain. I really DO enjoy food and cooking, so for me, the best of both worlds is going to be taking favorites from the past and making them healthy in the present.

    For me, the sleeve represents the best tool to help me achieve better health, but also, allow me the most normal life. This, based on my perceptions of drawbacks for the bypass and lap band.



    Quote Originally Posted by speedracer
    I go both ways Gordita, I am a Gemini after all = )
  29. pattersonviv's Avatar
    Thanks for this post. I think it summarizes the approaches not only sleevers have but others views on dieting or overeating. Without me realising it has been at the heart of a lot of discussions between my partner and myself. Having read this I think I will be having a very interesting discussion at home tonight.