Return of the gut-less wonder

It’s been nearly two years since I had my bariatric surgery and several people have asked me how I’ve been going?

Before I give you a quick update, I’d like to thank those people who came up to me and shared their own weight loss stories. Some people talked about their experiences post-surgery, while others were exploring their options. Many said they were glad I shared my story, as it made it easier to talk freely about their own experiences, without judgement.

Deciding to have bariatric surgery was a major decision, and one I didn’t take lightly. After many years of trying one diet after another and battling with my weight surgery was the best long-term option for me.

Those first few months following surgery saw the weight fall off me very quickly, which is quite common with this type of surgery. On top of the physical changes, I had to reduce my portion sizes (a big meal for me is now a small snack), make healthier choices and become more aware of when, how and what I was eating.   My golden rule of thumb is to stop eating when I feel full and while that means I eat less and usually finish my meal ahead of others, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

I have also discovered that I tend to sneeze a lot when I’m full. It’s actually a recognised complication of this type of surgery and while it annoys my wife, it’s a good reminder for me that I’m full.

For me losing weight is a whole lifestyle change, one that requires a mental, physical and emotional shift. Breaking old habits and addressing the reasons that contributed to me being overweight was part of my recovery and while surgery gave me the push I needed, it was up to me to make sure I stayed on track and continued to look after myself.

On saying that I’ve noticed a massive change in my health. My knees don’t hurt any more, I’m off my medications, reduced my risk factors for diabetes and heart disease and feel great. While I’m not an avid gym goer I get my exercise by gardening. I have two fairly large veggie plots at home and while I’ve never been much of a gardener it can offer a good workout while being a lot of fun. In fact, did you know that pulling out weeds and planting can burn up 200-400 calories per hour?   Since having the surgery I now stop and think about what I’m putting in my body, which is why I enjoy growing my own produce. Recently I planted some tomatoes, aubergines, bok choy and celeriac. Being in the garden has been great for the head space and a great way to relax. I’ve also discovered an interest in pickling food. Let’s face it I’ve had to learn to preserve food because I can’t eat it all! I guess I have Christmas presents covered this year.

Seriously though, whatever it takes for you to regain control of your life and your health, it’s OK to explore all of your options, including surgery and make the choices that are right for you. I made the choice that was right for me and have never regretted my decision. I have now lost 40 kilos and am within a few kilos of my ideal weight. As mentioned in a previous blog called The Gutless Wonder, when it comes to your health, the important thing is to take action. For me, I’ve added many more years on to my life.

Geraint

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Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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