My Life with the Lapband
Boy how time flies!
As I approach my 5th year Bandiversary, I started thinking how the Lapband has changed my life or how I had to change my life to live with the Lapband.
First off, I thank God every day for showing me there was an option and giving me the opportunity to have the Lapband procedure.
Like most in my situation, I tried every diet that always ended in failure. I almost got to the point where I wouldn’t want to diet because I KNEW I would gain the weight back and probably gain more. It was a horrible vicious cycle that I lived in for years.
Living with the Lapband was a continual learning process for a while. I tested foods to see what I could eat and what gave me difficulties. I tested out drinking with meals and not drinking with meals. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way on a lot of these issues, but the key is I learned and now the changes that I have made in living with the Lapband are part of my normal way of living. I don’t even think about it anymore.
One of the most frustrating things about the Lapband is obtaining proper restriction level. On one hand, I wish doctor’s would be a little more aggressive with the fill amounts, on the other hand, I think that working your way up to the proper restriction level is the way to go to avoid getting filled too tight which can be very uncomfortable and dangerous. I think that more discussion needs to be made about preparing one’s self for life after the lapband which includes the cost of adjustments/fills and the expectation of how many fills it may require to achieve proper restriction.
For self payers, many people use all their financial means to pay for the actual Lapband surgery and then don’t have the funds to get adjustments afterwards. This creates frustration because you just paid a lot of money and went through surgery and now want to lose the weight. Sounds reasonable……. But many feel like they wasted money when they don’t lose weight after the surgery or they feel like they can eat like they could before the surgery which is true until the band is adjusted properly.
So if someone is scheduled for lapband surgery and they ask me about the band, I make a point of preparing them for after surgery. I also try to tell them that their patience level will be tested to the max until they get their bands filled properly. I’ve heard this said by many and it’s so true “It took us a long time to become this overweight, we’re not going to lose it all overnight” It may take some time to lose weight with the Lapband, but with a little patience and following some very basic rules, you will lose weight and you will be successful.
Things that have changed for me after I was banded…
I don’t drink with meals. I found that this flushes food from my small upper pouch into my lower pouch which enables me to eat more food. This kind of defeats the band doesn’t it? I don’t want to eat more food, because this little thing called weight gain occurs if I do. Not drinking with meals was probably the hardest thing for me to get used to, but now I don’t even think about it.
I still take small bites and have slowed down while eating. I found that taking smaller bites and slowing down while eating actually fills me up quicker. I also don’t look like I’m inhaling my food anymore, which was a very unattractive habit that I got into pre-band.
I listen to my band. It tells me when to stop eating. Oh, I’ve tried to argue with my band in the past and tell it that I could eat more even when it warned me that I have had enough, but for some reason the band was always right. I paid a small price for trying to fight the band. I would feel horrible until the food passed through the band. Sometimes I would PB (not pleasant) and learned very quickly that it’s just not worth fighting the band. It knows best, so now I listen to it.
I try to stick to protein foods first. I’m not always good at this, but it’s something that I feel is very important for Lapbanders. I have also found that when I eat protein foods first like chicken, fish, etc… then I don’t require as much food to feel full and I stay fuller longer. Not to mention the benefits to my health for eating protein.
Since I can’t eat as much as I used to, my food choices have changed. Before the band, I would eat horribly. It’s because I could eat a lot of anything I wanted. So if I wanted to snack on chips before dinner, no problem. I would still be hungry enough at dinner to eat it, and then have enough room for dessert after wards.
I now chose quality over quantity. I do this because I know I can’t eat a lot, so what I DO eat becomes very important. I have found that if I eat chips now, I will fill up on them, and I won’t feel hungry to eat what I should be eating. Then I end up feeling awful because “foods” like chips drain my energy if I try to use them as my source of nutrition. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat things like chips, but I make a point of not eating them when I’m hungry because I know that I will fill up on them and won’t eat what I need to be eating. So I will have junk food occasionally, but usually with my meal and have very little.
I don’t eat dinner late in the evening. I have a cut off time for dinner. I make sure that I don’t go to bed for about 3 hours after I eat. I also don’t drink a lot of fluids at night and I religiously take 2 Pepsid AC chewables before I go to bed. I believe that these things have decreased my chances of having acid reflux at night.
So yes, the Lapband has totally changed my life. With 155 pounds gone I’m feeling terrific! I feel that the minor things that I have changed in my life (with eating) due to the band are so minor and so worth it to help insure that I keep this weight off. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t struggle to keep the weight off, which is fantastic, but I believe that the minor changes that I have made have contributed to this.
The Lapband won’t do it all. You’ll need to help it some, but once your band is adjusted properly, the band will work for/with you instead of you working for the band.
Life is wonderful!
Starting BMI 43
Current BMI 20
Banded July 16th, 2004
Lost 155 pounds