What I learnt at the FOHL Retreat - Amanda's testimonial

I have just spent four days at the Foundations of Healthy Living Retreat and I want to share some of what I learnt.

I thought the retreat would be about my gastric bypass, nutrition, vitamins and drinking well, however it was more than that. It was a group therapy, reflection on why I self sabotage, thinking about what caused me to get obese, binge and purge and why I had depression and anxiety.

And much more than that Gastric bypass surgery is a operation for your stomach, however it’s not for your mind. You have to work on your mind, your feelings and your negative thoughts.

A lot of people think that people regain post surgery as the stomach can stretch if you eat too much - this is a myth. People that regain after gastric bypass usually graze and eat too many calories in the wrong types of food, We can’t stretch the stomach pouch. Some graze constantly because of the mind and usually their emotions.

I am now nine months post bypass and I am very lucky - my hunger signals have not come back. The hunger signals usually do return between 9 and 18 months and this is why it is very important for me to have dealt with why I got obese and depressed, and make future plans and strategies.

The gastric bypass works to lose 60% to 70% of excess fat, but I have to work hard. Some people think it’s cheating but it’s not, it’s hard. I still have to exercise and eat 3 healthy meals - low carb, high-protein, low sugar and take my vitamins. By putting myself through a gastric bypass I have a malnutrition risk and have to take my vitamins regularly, eat well, keep hydrated or my teeth may crumble, my bones may break. I chose this instead of having diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes or a heart attack in my 50s which was the way I was headed.

I am now understanding why I have had depression, anxiety and am happy to open up to people in person. I am still a work in progress but I’m developing self belief and self love and compassion which is very new for me. I am blessed to go through this journey even though it’s very hard at times. I am thankful for all the support that I get from my loving family and my friends and all the people that have also joined my Facebook page that I don’t know personally.

I am eternally grateful for the leaders of the retreat, for their education, support and hearing their personal stories and journeys which made me realise I need to open up, I am grateful and blessed.