Boredom and Eating

by Christine on July 13th, 2016

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Yesterday I was tracking my food, and I noticed that I was eating a LOT in the afternoon, because I was bored at work. Uninspired work-wise. Feeling a little down emotionally. And so I was eating to fill that void. An interesting article in suggests that there are two types of boredom: the garden variety-needing a pleasure fix, and something called anhedonia, which is a reduced sensitivity to pleasurable experiences. And the article suggests that trying to fix the garden variety version can cause you to develop anhedonia. Awesome. For me, boredom looks like ennui, but lethargy and tiredness also.  And depression.

I was reading up about boredom as it relates to Buddhism, to see if there might be a healthier way to approach boredom. One author linked boredom to craving: your cravings and wants are immediate, and they are always changing. “Craving is never faithful to its object. It always wants something else…that is why you get bored with anything and everything. It doesn’t matter how interesting or fascinating it is, you will get bored with it.” The author suggests that craving is an addiction, and that a solution is to control the mind and attitude so that the immediate moment isn’t so “boring.” Hm.

At any rate, here’s some suggestions for myself to stop eating to relieve the feelings of boredom while I’m at work:

  • Throw away the junk in the office. Replace with healthier options. (Duh)
  • Mandatory water-chugging breaks on the hour. Set alarm on my phone if necessary.
  • Get up and stretch/exercise next to my desk and/or a short walk outside.
  • Embrace the boredom and meditate it. Instead of trying to remedy it, savor it and explore it.
  • Create more variety and interest in other ways, like creating more enjoyable projects to work on, or learn something new on the job.

If you have other suggestions, let me know!!!

A good resource:

The PsychologyToday article: 


Comments from my readers!

by Christine on March 16th, 2015

filed under General Information

WOW, everyone! I have to say, I’m a little overwhelmed by the responses I’ve received the last few days from my blog post last week. THANK YOU everyone that sent me such wonderful messages of love and support. I read a few of them to my husband last night and they made me a little teary. Really, I’m grateful for your love. Thank you.

I’m surprised that so many people are evening (still) reading my blog! I checked out my Google Analytics, and wow! So many visitors every month! I’m amazed! I noticed that two of my 10 most popular pages are the “Q&As” that I posted here and here.  I conclude that most visitors are looking for real information about the gastric band. Therefore, I think you all would be interested in reading some of the comments I’ve received in the last few days. Most people have shared their own personal struggles with the band, with side effects (slippage, leaks, etc). I thought it could be beneficial if I shared this information.

Thank you all again so much for writing and sharing such lovely messages with me. I really appreciate it.

From Millie:

My condolences on the loss of your dad. In life friends will come and go. Real friends stick around thru the harshness and stupid things we all do to each other. 
Did anyone give you an answer as to why and how your band did that? And where you in any sort of pain or discomfort? Noticed any changes other tag. Just having no restriction?
I truly think you need to drop that therapist and find someone who wants to listen to what you wanna talk about and issues that are concerning you and getting to the root of things Not someone who dismisses you. Ever.
Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that things turn around for you, that you remember that you are a strong woman and get yourself into a group and surround yourself with people who will encourage and help you and uplift you and tell you when you are being an asshole and then you can take that and change what you need to change and do what you need to do for Yourself and your happiness. Hugs.


From Amanda:

Oh, Christine! How awful. I am so sorry for all you’ve gone through – the loss of your band, your dad, your best friend. Thank you for sharing your experience. You’re so brave to put it all out there.

I was banded in 2010 and had a slip that I just had corrected surgically. Fortunately there wasn’t erosion to the degree that you experienced and no infection. Still, it has been a rough recovery because my stomach wasn’t in great shape so I can relate a bit.

As I prepared for my surgery, I thought a lot about losing my band, because that was a real option. I would have liked to think that I could have continued doing what I was doing with eating and exercise and not re-gain, but especially after reading your experience, I’m not sure that is how it would have worked out.

I don’t have any advice for you, except I think you should lose the therapist. I don’t know what the rest of your relationship is like, but he seems really dismissive about your eating issues. Stress-eating is a real thing and no “low-carb” diet is going to eliminate that problem. You may experience fewer cravings if you eat less sugar, but deprivatio n can also lead to binging behavior so you have to be careful there too.

I have attended OA before and have found it to be an excellent program in many ways. My biggest issue is that one of the 12 steps is to admit that you’re powerless over food. I made the mental exception that I wasn’t powerless over food, but I was powerless over the compulsion to overeat.

I also want to remind you that your value is not based on your size. You are a wonderful, intelligent, beautiful human being at any size. Please stop beating yourself up. It does no good and probably m akes things worse. Remind yourself that you’ve been through an awful ordeal and you’ve coped. At times you may have used food to help you cope, but there’s no shame in that. You are getting through. You are surviving.


From Krystal:

My band is also failing me. Placed on 2009 and I lost 100 lbs, Always battled acid reflux with my band the entire time but thought it must be normal side effect. Numerous Fills and Unfills for over six years trying to control my symptoms, After it slipped off last winter and it had to be repositioned, I gained 40 lbs in four months (with the band on and two fills) I told the doctor, you did not place my band in the correct place. He promised he did. I got another fill which then caused me a lot of acid reflux and aspiration issues in the night. So I got a unfilled by 1 cc. Still acid reflux. Another release, Still Acid Reflux, and less restriction. My surgeon starting talking about removing my band! I cannot live without my band, I will gain the rest of my weight ba ck and six months. I know me. I have to have some restriction. I still have high blood pressure and I am still in the obese weight BMI chart. So the doctor started talking other options to me. I am now approved for a conversion to the sleeve at the end of March! Thank God. I think if I had not been approved and I would have kept my band and just lived with the acid reflux for the rest of my life in exchange for the little bit of control it gives me.


From Amy:

Hi Christine. I don’t normally follow your blog, but I was directed here from another blogger and friend. Holy crap man. You have been through a lot. I was banded in 2009 as well, and so far…smooth sailing with my band (knock on wood) but it has been several years since I saw my doctor so thanks to you, I called and made an appt and am requesting a barium swallow (which I have never had). As for words of encouragement, this is what I can tell you. I think you are more prepared for weight loss and fitness NOW then you were before the band. You know how amazing it feels to be lighter and healthier. I started at 330 and lost about 170 pounds…and I wonder how and if I would make it without the band when that day comes. I think I can do it. I think you can do it. But I have not been in your shoes….so don’t let me optimism make you want to punch me in the face. I’m really sorry about the loss of your father as well. I think you have made it past the hardest part and are coming out on the other side.


From Kris:

Hi! My name is Kris and I work for [deleted]. I know your husband [deleted] and have followed your weight loss story for years now. After your initial success, my husband [deleted] said that I should consider the lap band and because of your blog, I finally felt comfortable enough to go through with it. Recently, [deleted] had heard that you were having some complications and I was very concerned. This caused me to check in with your blog and see how things were going. My heart goes out to you. I have lost about 86 lbs over five years and because of the lap band, I am able to keep it off and be in control.
I wish that I had great words of advice for you. I can first only say to stay strong! You have been through a lot and you can survive this too! You should look for a new counselor as the one you have now does not sound like a good fit. I would love to finally meet you some time if you ever want to grab a coffee or something. In the meantime, you will be in my thoughts and I know that you will figure out how best
to deal with this newest challenge.
Take care,
From Erin:

I somehow by a stroke of luck found your blog and I too share similar issues and am at a crossroad. I had my lapband done in april 2009 and was at a high of 270lbs. Within the first year I lost almost all of my weight down to 180. The second year I lost another 10 and was loving life and my body, even my small apron of skin less happy with my inner thighs of elephant folds, but loving life all the same. I maintained at 170-180 for 4-5 years with no adjustments and no exercise!

Last year it seemed my band was tight and had pretty bad reflux issues so it was loosened and was better. Way better! I started gaining some weight toward the middle of last year so I went for a fill. Good deal, well for a few weeks and then seemed I was increasing portion size and was hungry again. I just chalked it up to hormones or stress.

I went for a fill in January 2015. I told him my concern and he kind of shrugged it off. I should have had about 6cc but had 4cc. He said some is going to be absorbed and may not have had really accurate starting point from the downward adjustments last year from reflux. I had restriction for about 4 days then noticed I could eat about anything I wanted. NOT GOOD!!!

February went in and he withdrew all the fluid and only had 4cc again! He is now realizing I’m right and something is NOT RIGHT. He filled me to 7.5cc which was the tightest I ever was over 5 years. I had begun keeping a log of food intake, the feeling of being full, and when I felt no restriction. In 6 days there was again no restriction and could eat the broad side of a barn although I TRIED REALLY HARD NOT TO.

Yesterday went in and had a band check and only had 3.5cc. Surgeon agrees I have a leak somewhere. I am now terrified! I have gained to 212 and hate my body and what I look like again. I do not want to be that “fat girl” again. I have 42 lbs to get back to my lowest which at 5’11” is good for me and I feel good there. He recommended that we petition insurance to remove band and do bypass or sleeve but at 39 BMI thinks insurance will not approve.

Today I have done some research and am learning that most leaks come from port issue. I just called my surgeon to see if he would do fluro to see where leak is, if that is needed and do local anesthesia to change out port.
I don’t think by band is eroded because I get good restriction when first filled.

I’m with you about feeling helpless and frustrated and alone. I love the feeling of my band when it was working and in that “sweet spot”. I focused on life rather than what where when I was going to eat next. I lived and eating was a second thought and in such ate better things for me. I don’t think our success with band is common with the amount and time frame we lost it.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


My Baltic Sea Vacation!

by Christine on June 21st, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery, General Information

Hi everyone! I’m back from my vacation, and wow! What a vacation it was! I’ll give you the lowdown, but because this is I suppose technically a weight loss-ish blog, I’ll let you know what the food situation was at each place.

I took a mother/daughter cruise through the Baltics. It was me and my mom, my mom’s best friend, and her daughter. Four of us total. We started the cruise in Copenhagen and went to Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden. I also got to check out a little bit of Iceland on my return trip home. It was a fantastic vacation, and I’d highly recommend it!!!  Because it was a cruise, we mostly ate on the ship (Norwegian cruise lines, and the “free food” — not the pay restaurants — was just mediocre). However, we ate lunch at the ports when we could.

My band was exceptionally tight throughout the whole trip. I had called my surgeon to get it loosened before I left, but he couldn’t get me in for a whole month, so I just had to suffer. I barfed a LOT of my food up due to band tightness. However, the ship had soups on the menu often, and I discovered that the pastries went down pretty well, so I didn’t starve!

Weight & Exercise:
Started at 128.0 pounds.
Returned home at 126.5 pounds.
Lots and Lots and Lots of walking in each port! I took a yoga class on the ship one day, too.


Food:  Day 1:  Lunch was a salad with smelly prawns, hard boiled egg, avocado, and some creamy dill dressing (not my favorite). Lots of “Danishes” — the little pastries, which were fantastic!  My friend and I stopped at Wagamamas (one of my favorite restaurants) for dinner, and I had some Beef Miso Ramen soup.

Day 2: Breakfast included a Danish and some apple juice.  Late lunch/dinner on Day 2 was at a pub and included some nachos with cheese/guac/sour cream and a beer.


Food: Breakfast: 2 pieces of bacon, 1 scrambled egg, and some yogurt. We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant, and I had Tuborg beer, tomato soup, and a warm apple streudel. I had a cappucino that was so strong I had to put 4 packets of sugar in it! Yikes! The soup was a little odd tasting, but the desert was great! Back on the ship I had a steak and some cauliflower soup, and vanilla ice cream for desert. I had 2 cosmos during the kick-off of the ship’s sailing!


Food: Breakfast involved some yogurt and orange juice. We did so much walking that we kind of forgot to eat. We stopped for a quite bite of some pastry that looks like a croissant but was filled with goat cheese. Warmed up, it was delicious! And I had a Fanta.  Back on the boat I had grilled chicken and fried mushrooms which were delicious! I had a espresso martini for dessert.




Food: Day 1 breakfast included some fresh watermelon, 2 slices of bacon, 1 scrambled egg. Lunch involved chicken stroganoff, a side salad, a jelly roll, and some red wine for lunch. Dinner involved Chicken Kiev and soup.

Food on Day 2: Breakfast was yogurt and orange juice. Lunch involved beef stroganoff, cabbage soup (which was amazing!!), a baked apple, and white wine for lunch. Dinner was teriyaki chicken and rice, with soup and some lime sorbet.


Food: Breakfast included a danish pastry and orange juice. We were walking so much we kind of accidentally skipped lunch. We stopped for a danish in the afternoon. In the evening I had some orange roughy and mushroom risotto, soup, and lemon sorbet.


Food:  Again, we walked so much we forgot about lunch! But this wasn’t good because we were very crabby about missing lunch.  Dinner was some chicken dish, tomato soup, and sorbet. This was a rather stressful day due to everyone being incredibly cranky, and it involved into the only drink-a-thon of the drip: 2 Blue Moon beers and about 4 shots of tequila.


Food: We had breakfast before we got off the ship: watermelon and yogurt and orange juice for me. I stopped at a grocery store in Copenhagen in the morning and had tabouleh salad, cheese and crackers, Fanta, and some cookies. When I got to Copenhagen I stopped at Quiznos for a turkey sub for dinner and another Fanta.

The next day, on my way home I had some nuts at the airport, 2 beers on the plane. Stopped for lunch on the 2 hour drive to my home and had 2 chicken fingers and some tomato soup.  Hubby cooked dinner: steak, rice, and skim milk.


Leaving for Europe!

by Christine on June 5th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Good morning Revolutionists!

Weight check-in: 128 pounds. Right where I want to be.
Band status: A little problematic
Exercise status: Doing well! Picking it up a bit!

Exciting news! Tomorrow I leave for a 10-day trip in Europe! Well, factoring in travel time, it will be a 14 day trip. I’m very excited and can’t wait to embark on this adventure! My itinerary is as follows:

* Fly to Copenhagen and spend 2 days with a friend there.
* Board a cruise ship. Head to Berlin, Germany.
* Tallinn, Estonia
* 2 days in St. Petersburg, Russia
* Helsinki, Finland
* Stockholm, Sweden
* Back to Copenhagen
* 1 day layover in Iceland on the way home

I’ve been to Europe many times (I lived over there for a year, actually) and have been fortunate to do a lot of traveling, but I have never been to any of these countries before! I am very excited to explore new places and to see my dear friend in Copenhagen!

Even more importantly, I get to see where my family comes from. I am half Danish and half Russian (I’m actually first-generation American on my mother’s side), and getting to see where my people come from will be pretty awesome. Actually, getting to experience Russia with my mother will be a really momentous occasion. (Read more about why by reading this old post.) I’m looking for to it, for sure.

On the other hand, there are some things I’m really nervous about. For starters, I think any mother/daughter trip can be nervewracking. Why is it that mothers and daughters have the most complex relationships, involving so much baggage and competitiveness?  It’s very odd. I think any woman would be stressed to spend 10 days stuck on a ship with her mom, but considering that my mother and I don’t have a history of getting along well, it’s particularly anxiety-producing for me. I’m working hard at not dwelling on this negative associated with the trip (after all, where would dwelling on it get me, except to be over-sensitive?) but I feel my nerves tightening with each impending hour.

I’m also nervous for lots of gastric-band related reasons: What if I can’t find any food that I eat? What if I have to barf and I can’t find a bathroom? Will I overeat on the cruise and gain weight?

At any rate, it will be an interesting, epic trip! I can’t wait to start it!

As for my band, not all is well in paradise. For starters, it is way, way too tight. I can’t keep going at this rate, even though it’s been this tight for about 6 months now.  If I retain even a little bit of water, it’s so tight that even milk won’t go down.  No bueno.  I called my doctor’s office to get an un-fill, but the soonest they can get me in is a month from now (holy shit!) so I am stuck with a too-tight band for this vacation. I’m disheartened that my doctor’s office was not more flexible for me.

Secondly: I’ve been coughing at night a lot. Every night, actually. I wake up in the middle of the night with the feeling that something is caught in my throat. Cough-cough-cough. And, it sometimes escalates until (eeek, sorry this really TMI) I accidentally barf on myself in bed.

I don’t know what’s going on exactly–I haven’t talked to my surgeon about this. But I have a theory. I believe my upper stomach has either expanded or my band has slipped.  So my upper stomach has a bulge or a pooch…and food gets stuck in the bulge and irritates me at night. I don’t know what the fix for this would be. I’m hoping that merely loosening my band will solve this problem, but I’m worried that the solution will be a surgery to fix the placement of the band. That’s why I have been too chicken to make an appointment with my doctor. I’m not up for another surgery. I’m worried about what he says the problem is, and I’m worried about his solution for fixing the problem. Not to mention I don’t want to go through all the testing, the awful barium drink, the x-rays, etc. No, I’ll just get an un-fill and see if that fixes the problem first.

I’ll keep you posted, of course, about what’s happening in my band-land.

Thanks for reading, and check back in 2 weeks for pics of my vacation!


Bean soup recipe

by Christine on February 6th, 2012

filed under General Information

I made the yummiest soup yesterday! So good! So here’s my recipe:

  • 1 can of red/pink beans (360 calories)
  • 1/2 an onion (23 calories)
  • I used ham stock, but you can use chicken or beef stock, maybe 1 can or so? (60)
  • Garlic, maybe 2 cloves worth (9 calories)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced (33 calories)
  • Random spices: 2 packets of Sazon Seasoning, cilantro, pepper, chili powder, basil
  • 2 dashes of lime juice

Combine everything in a pan on the stove. Top with some light sour cream (136).

The whole thing is 621calories, and I ate about 1/3 of it, for just over 200 calories. Delicious!

Did everyone have fun watching the superbowl? We had about 15 friends come over to watch the game, and everyone brought food to share. I skipped all the cheesy/beany/sour creamy dips, chips, pizza, wings and instead had a few fresh veggie slices, a little bit of my homemade soup, and a cupcake. My weight is up today, no doubt due to the salt in the Sazon seasoning…it’ll go back down soon, I’m sure!

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