Gastric Banding Questions & Answers

by Christine on June 20th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

These list of questions courtesy of LapBandGal! Please feel free to share your answers, as well!

What would you say is the most important lesson or lessons you’ve learned about eating since you’ve been banded, and how has this contributed to your weight loss?

I’ve outlined my eight major lessons at the top of this blog under “How I’ve lost 99 pound” (which is really “how I’ve lost 102 pounds.”)  The key things are: eating a lot less and more often; eating real foods instead of processed foods; paying attention to your own body and not dumb FDA calorie guidelines; and stay away from soda.

If you’ve experienced any discouraging set back moments, how did you deal with them, how long did they take to pass– and what sort of specific strategies might you suggest that could work?

The more disappointing set-backs were when I was first banded. My first four-or-so fills didn’t work. I didn’t lose a single pound for 6 months following surgery. This is because my nurse practitioner kept missing my port site during injections (because I have a displaced band). No feeling of restriction, no weight loss. I was sooooo frustrated and angry! However, after I demanded to only receive fills directly from my surgeon, I quickly noticed the benefits and effects of the band, and the weight loss was consistent after that.

Have you ever worried about being a complete failure at the band, and then gotten over that worry– if so: did you tell yourself certain things that helped or do certain activities that reassured you?

I was terrified when I got the band that the surgery would fail me. After all, I had done every diet known to mankind. I had learned about nutrition, ate fantastically, exercised like mad. I saw seven different doctors, personal trainers, nutritionists, and nothing helped me to lose weight. In fact, I just gained and gained. It was horribly disappointing. When I got the band, I was so scared to place any kind of HOPE into the surgery. I was afraid that it would fail me.  When the weight started to come off, I could finally start to believe that weight loss was possible.

What is the proudest accomplishment you’ve made relative to your band journey thus far?

Oh gosh, there are so many Victories that I have had! Running a half marathon.  Doing a ropes-course challenge. Completing a boot camp. Wearing my wedding dress and seeing it fall off me like a tent. Buying a Size 2 and having it fit. The first time I looked in the mirror and said “Huh. I look okay” instead of what I have been saying for my entire life, “God you are so ugly. Who could possibly stand to look at you?”

What is the most difficult thing about having the band and what makes it worth it anyway?

The hardest part for me now is trying to explain the barfing episodes to people that don’t understand. “I’m not bulimic; it’s just the band working!”  I often have problems with barfing episodes when I am at restaurants…most likely because I”m too busy talking and not chewing well enough. I’ve had several instances where I’ve had to run to the restaurant bathroom to clear out the food bottleneck inside me, and there is a teenage girl in the bathroom at the same time as me. When the barfing episode comes on, it’s kind of an emergency situation–I can’t wait for everyone to empty the restroom so I can get on with my business. And I know how impressionable teenage girls can be. They see a 30-something year old thinnish woman come into a bathroom after eating a meal and barf in the toilet. What are they going to think? Every time that happens I want to talk to the girl through the wall and explain that it’s a medical thing, but that seems creepy and weird… I really think that’s the hardest part about this whole experience. It makes me feel so guilty, like I’m contributing to young girls developing eating disorders. SIGH.

Given the choice, would you be too tight or too loose and why?  How would you handle either situation if you couldn’t get in to your doctor for 4 weeks?

Too tight!!  Because if I was too loose I know that I would overeat. I just would.  I wouldn’t care if I couldn’t get in to see my doctor for four weeks. Something the wait IS that long! It would give me time to decide if I really wanted a fill (or un-fill).

What are your 3 to 5 ‘desert island band foods’– things you WOULD NOT/ could not/ don’t want to live without? What do you eat virtually every day and why?

Soup (tomato soup if I had to choose)
Salad fixins
Fresh fish (I prefer white fish, like cod or perch)

How many meals do you generally eat per day and at what times?

When I was losing weight regularly, I ate every just about every 2-3 hours, and 100-150 calories per “meal”:
8 a.m.; 10 a.m.; 12 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 5 p.m.; 8 p.m.

These days I know I SHOULD eat at the same regular intervals and same small portion sizes, but I find myself slacking off on it. I eat more like this now:

8 a.m. (coffee only); 12 p.m.; 3 p.m.: 7 p.m.; 9 p.m.

Do you exercise, and if so, about how much? Do you think exercise has been pivotal to your weight loss?

Keep in mind, prior to getting surgery, I was trying EVERYTHING to lose weight, and that included LOTS of exercise.  I exercised for an hour and a half, 6-7 days a week. After I got surgery, I exercised a LOT less.  I went to the gym maybe twice a week (usually weight training only; no cardio), then supplemented the rest of the time with roller blading, bicycle riding, yoga classes (sometimes); boot camp (sometimes) and other fun recreational things like hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, etc. (but those activities weren’t regular…only every-now-and-then.) So, although I was still exercising, in my mind I was exercising substantially LESS after surgery than before surgery.  Therefore, I say that exercise had less impact on my weight loss than food/intake did, but I don’t want you to think that I wasn’t doing any exercise at ALL.

After running my half marathon in December, I’ve kind of stopped exercising. I can feel the effects (I’m tired more often) and can see the effects (my skin is more flabby; I’m less toned). I should and want to work out more, but I’m trying to find ways to work out outside or by doing fun things instead of simply going to the gym. However, I won’t ever get rid of my gym membership. I never want to have an excuse about why I’m being lazy.

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