Love My Lap Band!

Everything you want to know about life and weight loss with a Lap Band!

Lap Band Success! 21 Pounds in 21 Days

Posted by Lori on October 6, 2009

I had my surgery on September 10th and have done a meticulous job of sticking to the diet. Happily, I’ve only experienced a little hunger. On the 21st day, I finally got my courage together and weighed myself – I’d lost 21 pounds. Wow. This operation is a miracle.

As a result of the weight loss, I’m walking farther than I have in years. Two nights ago, I walked 5.4 miles without having to stop even once and I got it done at a 20 minute per mile pace. Not rocket speed but I haven’t been able to do that in years. If I’d had a better pair of shoes on, I could have gone another 2.7 miles. As it was, my feet were covered in blisters by the end of the walk and it’s kept me home for a couple days now. But now I know I can do it. I used to walk 8 to 10 miles a day, and I’ll be able to get there once again. You can’t imagine how good it is for your soul to walk alone at night time with no voices or music bobbling in your ears. Just me, my dog, the stars and Ventura Boulevard in the late evening.

My clothes are finally getting baggy. I wear stretch jeans and it takes quite a bit before they stop fitting. I think I have ten more pounds max in my current jeans and then, times being what they are, I’ll have to figure out what to do next. In the meantime, I have a Macy’s Wish List for Love My Lap Band, in case any of my readers want to help out with my current dilemma. If so, the jeans are the priority.

I’m still not experiencing much hunger – it’s a very nice thing to have it totally swept away.  My big splurge day was just under 900 calories. I’ve made this decision to keep my calorie intake ultra-low, if I can, until the point where I can fit back into a size 14 and I find myself relating to the notion of 900 calories the way I used to relate to the notion of 2000 calories. But now, because I have a Lap Band, 400 calories,only provokes occasional twinges of hunger rather than a full out assault on my consciousness. I drink a lot of water and that helps as well. I know Dr. Ortiz’s materials suggest having some Metamucil for hunger. I may pick some up just in case.

My compromised computer does not allow me to link pictures right now, so I apologize for how dry looking blog is at the moment. Hopefully, I’ll have a new MacBook Pro sometime soon, and I’ll make this blog a little prettier once again.

I want to say one more time that this operation is a miracle. My life is now under my control in a way that  it hasn’t been in years. I’m not hungry, it doesn’t hurt and no, I’m not throwing up. I’m going to be able to do it – I just know it. Nothing is gonna stop me now.🙂

Posted in My Lap Band Experience, Plus size clothing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Day 19. Still Not Hungry.

Posted by Lori on September 29, 2009

Dr. Ortiz keeps his patients on liquids for the first three weeks. He says that if you lose your pre-surgical weight and stick to liquids for three weeks, you can hope to lose between 30% and 50% of your excess weight in the first 8 weeks or so. And since I want to lose 100% of my excess weight, I have been almost perfect on this diet. I will admit to crushing three bite sized pieces of pineapple in my mouth, chewing them and swallowing what was left. So, I did cheat a little.

I am getting healthier. It’s an amazing thing. I’ve always been someone who walked a lot and I try and walk between 3  and 5 miles most days. But for the past several years, it’s been very difficult to do and I’ve had to stop and rest along the way – sometimes several times per block. Three nights ago, I walked 2.7 miles, stopped to rest maybe twice for only a few seconds, and covered the distance in 72 minutes. Pokey, it’s true, but gratifying nonetheless. The next night, I walked the 2.7 miles in 66 minutes and didn’t have to stop and rest even once. Last night, I walked it in sixty minutes. That was a real delight. Still, I should be able to cover a mile in under 15 minutes, so I have distance to go. But it remains, that 19 days after Lap Band surgery, I can do something I haven’t been able to do in years. And I’m 54 years old so that impacts the equation. I’m getting healthier already.

I feel fine. Today, I  forgot to eat anything besides my chicken broth. I’ll have to make up for that when i get back from my walk. I don’t have cravings. I don’t miss eating. My husband fixes himself dinner right next to my work space and it hasn’t been an issue in the least. I do avoid the grocery store because of the aromatic roast chicken that they have, but other than that, I haven’t given food much thought. I had been worried that I would have the worst case of munchies known to human kind, but no, no munchies. I’m so happy to be free of hunger that it’s just natural  and effortless to avoid food.

I haven’t weighed myself yet. I weighed 225 in clothes and shoes the day of surgery. This Thursday, on my 3 week anniversary, I’m going to weigh myself to see how much I’ve lost. I can tell you that my jeans are looser and a neighbor who didn’t know I had surgery commented that my face was changing and that I looked thinner. I’m hopeful that I have lost more than 5 pounds, but we’ll see. I’m trying to concentrate on the process rather than the scale.

I live right around the corner from Los Angeles’ Hugo’s Tacos. Some of the taco blogs consider them among the best tacos in LA with amazing light, crispy shells. So for my coming out dinner, I am going to have one taco. I have a very slender girlfriend and she and I went to Rick’s Tacos and Burritos in Pasadena one day. I ordered three tacos. She ordered one. She got done eating and pronounced herself stuffed. LOL Now, I get to be one of those women who can eat one taco and be satisfied. Yahoo.

Next on my list is ordering Bodylastics Bands to work out with. They’re pretty inexpensive but business is very slow right now so I’ve put off buying them. My dream is to get a Concept II rowing machine but right now, I’m not sure where I’d put it. I do have to figure out a way to work out during the rainy season.

Posted in Lap Band Basics, Lap Band Weight Loss Stories, My Lap Band Experience, Weight Loss Surgery, What You Can Eat With A Lap Band | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Day 5 Post Op. Still Not Hungry.

Posted by Lori on September 15, 2009

The last time I ate solid foods was last Wednesday afternoon. I had my Lap Band on Thursday. Since that time, I still haven’t experienced any hunger. I’m drinking a couple bottles of protein water a day and a cup or two of diluted fruit juice. I stopped by a grocery store today and the smell of the roast chicken really got me for a couple minutes. But then I was out of the store and quickly forgot about it.

It’s interesting being this disconnected from food. I wonder how long it will last. I’m expecting that when my stomach heals, hunger will return but for the time being, I” going to take this as far as I can.

Posted in Lap Band, My Lap Band Experience | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Day 5 And I’m Still Not Hungry!!!!

Posted by Lori on September 14, 2009

I was banded last Thursday and haven’t eaten solid food since last Wednesday afternoon. Much to my delight and surprise, I’m subsisting quite well on the diluted fruit juice and protein water diet prescribed by the luverly Dr. Miranda. I’ve had about a cup of apple juice today and 2 bottles of Kellogg’s Protein Water (50 calories, 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber). Two more days and I get to add some broth and some liquid yogurt. Yahoo!!!

I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight because I don’t have a scale right now. I thought I’d wait a few weeks before I purchase one, just so I don’t get too crazy.

One of the women who commented said that I made the process sound so simple and easy. I want to reiterate that Dr. Ortiz makes it very simple  to get through the pre-surgical process. There is no drama in Dr. Ortiz’ facility. It’s one of the most well-organized and direct experiences I’ve ever had. They know exactly what they need to know to make sure that surgery is safe, and that’s what they find out. Everyone knows what their job is, and they do it quickly and move you on to the next stage. It’s just wonderful. And that’s what it’s like when you’re in the hands of someone with tremendous experience who is thoughtful – Ortiz has worked through it all and has the entire order worked out. I can’t say enough about the experience that I had there – they are wonderful people.

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Finally! Banded In Mexico!

Posted by Lori on September 13, 2009

This past Wednesday I went to Mexico and had my gastric band procedure performed by the masterful, mystical, magical, hyper-competent and good-humored Dr. Ariel Ortiz. Let me tell you – his patients love him for a reason. My surgery was on Thursday afternoon and I’m on my post-surgical all liquid diet. The good news is that it’s Sunday and I am not yet hungry despite having consumed fewer than 1000 calories total in the past few days.

So, what’s it like? I’ll tell you the whole story. We drove to border crossing where Fernando picked us up and took us across the border. Because I was coming in fairly late in the day, he took us straight to the Marriott. We checked in and went downstairs for my last meal before surgery. I had  chicken in chile sauce served over mashed sweet potatoes. It was divine. Looking around the dining room, I noticed a casually -attired, similarly-sized lady eating alone and went over to introduce myself. Sure enough, she was here from Canada to have surgery with Dr. Ortiz as well. We chatted for a while before each of us headed off to our room.

The next morning at 7 am sharp, the van arrived for us. We went straight to the clinic – which is a five minute drive or so. We pulled into the basement parking and took an elevator to the second floor. We entered the waiting room lobby – a pretty, sunny space with stone tiles – and were greeted by name by the receptionist. First, I was taken off to the dentist to make sure my teeth were in good order for the amount of chewing they are about to embark upon and then off to the cardiologist. Dr. Heurta tested my lungs for capacity and discovered that they only functioned at about 78% – this explains why I can’t walk as far as I used to. They have a little box that you blow into as long and as hard as you can for six seconds – it’s very simple. Then, I was on the table for a quick EKG which required slipping into an open front patient gown over my jeans. Then it was off to meet with the marvelous Dr. Miranda – OCC’s beautiful, brilliant nutritionist. She laid down the law about what I could eat and not eat. For the first week, clear liquids only – preferably diluted fruit juice for seven days. Broth can be added after the third day if essential. Also, Pedialyte, Gatorade, Kellogg’s Protein Water and coffee or herbal tea with non-dairy creamers. At the second week, a half cup serving of liquid yogurt can be added. For the third week, protein drinks and creamy soups. Okay.

Finally, I was taken off to my room –  a charming little space, with a hospital bed, soothing dark colors and a small water fountain by the side. Dr. Ortiz designed the space himself and it is comfortable, cozy and modern. I changed into my hospital gown and a nurse came in to insert my IV and draw blood for a few more tests. It was painless and very quick.  From that point on, it’s kind of a blur. I vaguely remember being helped out of my bed and into a wheelchair. I remember chatting with the anesthesiologist about how everyone loves their anesthesiologist and he said that I was wrong about that. LOL. Next thing I know, I’m being waken up and walked down the hall.

I’ve had major surgery twice in my life and this walk down the hall was easy. After a c-section with a full transverse cut getting out of bed and walking is incredibly painful. This isn’t like that at all. The biggest problem was that I was still woozy and wanted to walk into the wall, but the nurse kept a strong arm on me and I was fine. Then I went back to the room and sat down on the love seat where I promptly fell asleep. After snoozying there for a few hours, I climbed back into bed and slept for some more. My dinner companion from the night before was alert and wandering up and down the hall way but that wasn’t for me. I did get up a couple more times just to walk around and it was easy. They have a station with computer where patients can check their email. I logged in to find out what Obama had proposed in his health care reform speech, thinking all the time how ironic it was that I was checking from Mexico while on a health care vacation.

The next morning, Dr. Ortiz checked in on me but I was so sleepy that I barely remember that.  My husband showed up later on, and Fernando loaded us into the van for the trip across the border.

Since that time, I have not experienced any real pain. I’ve only taken one of the pain pills that they sent me home with. I can sleep in whatever position that I want without problems. The IV was removed easily and did not leave any bruising. I didn’t get taht nurse’s name, but she’s really good at IVs.

I’m not hungry yet.  I’ve been drinking out of a small, antique crystal wine glass. I’ve had maybe four cups total of orange juice since Friday morning. I need to get some protein water in there but we haven’t been to the store yet. Like I said, I’m not hungry yet. The juice is keeping me full. That’s a big relief.

So, that’s what my experience was like. It was as simple, easy and sensible as anything I have ever done. Dr. Ortiz’ facilities are state of the art – elegant but not ostentatious, well designed and sparkling. He has lots of health care professionals from America as patients and one very quickly sees why they come here.

If you have any other questions about what it is like, I’m happy to answer them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

I Should Never Skip A Blogging Day

Posted by Lori on August 31, 2009

One day off, and BOOM!, it’s a month later. What a derelict.🙂

I missed all the bloggers that I normally read. I’ve really gotten involved in watching people lose weight. There’s a real community developing online and more information about having Lap Band surgery than you can imagine. Nothing has to be a mystery anymore. You can get this surgery having read about the experiences of dozens of people.

I also realized when I finally came back in that I hadn’t added one of my favorite new bloggers to the blog roll. Chronicles From Lap Band Land is wonderfully well-written and informative. If you haven’t checked it out, by all means, do.

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Another Great Male Lap Band Blogger

Posted by Lori on August 5, 2009

When I first started doing this, there were hardly any men talking about their experience with the Lap Band. Robert Morgan’s poignant tale of morbid obesity and 250 pound weight loss was close to singular. Today, I was checking the new blog entries and found a new writer on the block – Aaron Grossman. He has two blog entries up at Lap Band Talk – the most popular of the Lap Band forums.

In Entering The Lap Band Zone, his first blog post, he does a wonderful job of sketching out the differences between gastric bypass and gastric banding and he explains the reasons behind his decision to have weight loss surgery. He starts post-op at his surgeon’s office:

I got on the examining room scale which is connected to a device that measures weight, body mass index (BMI) and whatever else you can obtain from stepping on a scale. The nurse and I both looked at the weight reading. Her eyes widen. My eyes tear up. My wife high-five’s me. I had lost 14 pounds in 8 days.

Lest you think I just came out of the hospital after a debilitating illness, let me clarify; I had Lap-Band bariatric surgery a week before the weigh-in.

And then his reasons for deciding to have a Lap Band procedure:

Anyway, you get the idea. I went through the other pre-operative protocols which included an Upper GI series, stress test, Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, Echocardiogram and several other procedures. I attended support groups of both pre-op and post-op Lab-Banded patients. I reached out to friends of friends who had the procedure. I spent untold hours surfing the web and reading community board posts by pre-op and post-op patients. I wrestled with my diet demons.

And then, a really close friend needed quadruple bypass surgery. He’s fine now, 6 months later. But that was it for me. I don’t want to have my sternum cracked open. I want to minimize or eliminate my risk factors. I want to live and return to “normal” eating. And, I decided that the only way a serial overeater like myself can do it is by banding my stomach down to a small pouch.

It’s a wonderful article. He talks about losing weight only to regain it – something that we have all experienced.  And he covers his diet in the first few weeks post-op.

In Dealing With Civilian Responses To Lap Band Surgery, his second blog post, he talks about his success six weeks out with the Lap Band, and his response to people who say that weight loss surgery, is taking the easy way out:

To those who say it’s the ‘easy way out,’ here’s my reply: I went through both abdominal surgery and the attendant recovery from its unpleasant discomfort; I no longer drink coffee, carbonated beverages or distilled spirits; I will probably never again eat hard, crusty bread, well-done meat or anything else that can’t pass through an opening the size of a toothpaste cap in my ‘new’ stomach; if I do overeat, I’ll get sick, nauseous or vomit; in the worst scenario, I’ll be hospitalized from eating the wrong food or the wrong amounts. This is the ‘easy way out?’

On the other hand, in 6 short weeks, I’ve lost 45 pounds and have eliminated virtually all of my blood pressure medication; I can walk 6 ½ miles without getting winded or having to stop from joint pain; and, I am happy to do chores around the house again. I achieved this, in no small fashion, with the love and support of my family and, yes, relying on good old fashioned discipline to consume the right foods in the correct proportions.

At the end of the day, Lap-Band surgery has empowered me to take control of my food intake and regain my sense of self. It has not always been easy and it is definitely not for everyone. But it’s working for me right now. The very best part … and it didn’t happen as a result of the ‘easy way out’ … is hearing friends and loved ones tell me “Welcome, you’re back again.”

Wonderful stuff. I’m glad that he is writing about his experience and not simply shuffling it off as “diet and exercise”.

Posted in Lap Band Bloggers, Lap Band Weight Loss Stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OMG! You Really Can Get Fat Just Looking At Food!

Posted by Lori on August 3, 2009

From The Right Bite by Stephanie Dalvit-McPhillips:

There was a  remarkable study that was conducted at Yale University by Dr. Judith Rodin. She showed that the mere thought of food can start the food deposition process. In experiments, people were instructed not to eat for eighteen hours. At the end of this time, blood samples were drawn from people in the study as they were being told that they could soon eat the juicy mouth-watering steaks charbroiling before them. Results of these tests revealed that in all cases, insulin levels skyrocketed, causing blood sugar to be stored as fat and glycogen well before our famished subjects had taken their first bite.

Grrrrrrrr……

The human body is an amazing thing.

Posted in Books, Why You Can't (Or Don't) Lose Weight And Keep It Off | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What Can You Eat With A Lap Band III

Posted by Lori on August 2, 2009

As I said, it’s a blog night and I was catching up with Diz-Banded. She’s been in blog roll forever. Anyway, she has a series of questions and answers that are all very good, but I know a lot of readers want to know what food can be eaten with a Lap Band and what food just won’t go down. Here’s what Diz has to say:

What about never eating my favorite foods again?

Ok, in my behavior classes we talked about certain foods to stay away from, etc. But my doctor said I could try whatever I wanted and I would “know” if I could eat it or not. This was not a license to eat chips, ice cream and drink soda. As a matter of fact, I’ve had soda, but I only drink tiny amounts and only once every 3 to 4 months and usually as a mixer (i.e. diet 7-up in my margarita). I pretty much gave up soda, because I don’t need it. I love sushi, mexican food, lobster, etc. Did I have to give it up? No. But my band does tell me when and how much rice I can have. My band doesn’t like raw carrots, but will be ok with really cooked carrots. Fibrous foods have to be well cooked, or else. I’m glad I had the behavior classes, because it made me look at the times I eat and how I’m feeling when I make crappy choices. This has really helped in controlling my food portions and limiting crap food. I won’t lie, I’ve eaten crap since being banded, but I don’t eat a lot of crap. I pick and choose and cut myself some slack.

Posted in Lap Band, Lap Band Basics, Lap Band Bloggers, What You Can Eat With A Lap Band | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lap Band Blogger Hits the “Sweet Spot”

Posted by Lori on August 2, 2009

I was looking around the Lap Band blogs tonight and found a new blog with a edifying new post. Meet Sarah of Losing Weight, Gaining Tons. She had a very good 6 weeks with her Lap Band:

Is this the sweet spot???

So I’m not sure what’s been happening lately, but I have a lot more restriction than I did 3 weeks ago without a fill.  It is perfect.  I can only eat about 1/2 a cup, maybe 3/4 if it is mushier food.  Sometimes a whole lot less if it is meat… I’m not hungry at all, and I’m down almost 4 pounds this week…  I went to the doc on Friday and she said that in the last 6 weeks since I’ve been there, I’ve lost 15.5… I’ll take it!  And then she said – “well, I think we’ve found your sweet spot”!  I hope so!  I’ve really been enjoying myself this week… not in a bad way mind you.  But just KNOWING that I can’t eat anymore has finally clicked in my head if that makes sense.  The physical fullness definitely helps to keep me in line.  And, no PBing or getting stuck either which is great.  7cc’s in a 10cc band.  Go 7 cc’s!

It’s a good blog. She’s a smart  cookie that writes well. I’m amazed at the quality of the Lap Band blogs that we’re seeing now. For a long time, with only a handful of exceptions, most of the blogs were fairly casual without a lot of thought put into the writing or the substance of the writing. That’s definitely changed.

I know that my blog has been accused of being a mindless cheerleader for weight loss surgery, but considering how obesity impacts life, and how difficult it is to permanently lose weight without weight loss surgery, I think there is a moral significance to the procedures. And when I consider the fact that families will have loved ones longer because of the surgery, I’m proud of what I do here.

Anyway, read the blogs. It’ll help you on your journey. Oh, and Sarah has a “before and after” series of pics on her front page, though she has only completed a part of her journey. Still, I know a lot of you love the pics. Enjoy.

Posted in Lap Band Bloggers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Wonderful Lap Band Blog

Posted by Lori on August 1, 2009

As you may have noticed, the blogroll just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’ve got a couple I have to take out, but most of them are current. If they aren’t current, but they have really good info, I hang on to them as well.

So, today I was looking through the blogs and took the time to really read In The Land Of  Cheese and Sunkist. Amy has wonderful tips  for new bandees. I’m only going to post the first three, because she has done such a good job of assembling her ideas and she’s a wonderful writer. It’s more than worth your while you go check her site out.

1. before get very far into your journey, take some measurements. I forgot to do this and now I wish I had my beginning measurements. This is good, bc sometimes when the scale is not moving…you are still losing inches! SO MEASURE YOURSELF!

2. Take some before pictures. I take pictures all the time, but I know some people hate the way they look presurg. But you will wish you had some before pictures after you start losing🙂 It’s only going to get better afterall!

3. This is really important. And I didnt have a clear grasp on it before surgery. After surgery, and after you heal…you will still be hungry. AND most likely, you will still be able to eat whatever whenever you want. The period after banding and before you first fill is referred to as BANDSTER HELL. It’s hell because you have to rely on willpower. What’s that you say? I know I know…if we were good at “dieting” then we wouldnt need the band. But for a few weeks at least, prepare yourself to practice restraint. Just bc you can eat it…don’t.

That last one is a biggy. Dr. Ortiz keeps his patients on liquids for three weeks, but says that most of them lose about 50% of their excess weight in the first two months because of it. That would be a really nice thing to experience, so I’m going to gather up all my courage and find the sticking place.🙂

Oh, and Amy’s Before and After pictures are right here. I think you’ll agree, she looks fabulous!

Posted in Bariatric Surgeons, Lap Band Basics, Lap Band Bloggers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Weight Loss Surgery Even Safer Than Previously Thought

Posted by Lori on July 29, 2009

Oh, here’s a weight loss surgery study with great news for bariatric patients in general, and Lap Band patients specifically. The risks of death or complications from weight loss surgery is much lower than expected – particularly for Lap Band patients.

Now, a word to the wise for people looking at the safety rate. Weight loss surgery is frequently performed on severely obese and critically ill patients in a last ditch attempt to save their life, as happened for Lorraine Kay. Lorraine’s primary care physician wanted a gastric bypass because she was so ill that he didn’t think that she would lose weight fast enough with a Lap Band for it to save her life, but her surgeon didn’t think she would survive the surgery and wanted to perform a Lap Band instead. Her surgeon won out and Lorraine now weighs 125, her diabetes is in remission and her blood pressure back to normal – this from a woman in her late fifties, who weighed over 300 pounds, used 120 units of insulin a day and was weeks away from dying.  So, these patients are frequently in real trouble when they go into surgery in the first place.

That being said, the numbers for weight loss surgery in general, are no higher than they are for other types of surgery:

Weight-loss surgery isn’t risk-free, but a new study suggests that in the hands of a skilled surgeon, it may be safer than previously thought. However, some people — including those with sleep apnea or a history of blood clots — are more likely to have problems with surgery than others, according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Weight-loss surgery is safer, but could cause complications for people with sleep apnea or a history of blood clots.

Weight-loss surgery is safer, but could cause complications for people with sleep apnea or a history of blood clots.

“The overall conclusion that we reached is that bariatric-surgery safety is actually quite good,” said Dr. Bruce Wolfe, a professor of surgery at the Oregon Health and Science University.

In the past, bariatric procedures have been associated with death rates of 2 to 3 percent and complication rates of up to 24 percent. However, the obesity epidemic is fueling a rise in such surgeries, prompting concerns about their safety. In 2005, 171,000 people underwent bariatric surgery, more than 10 times the number that had the procedure in 1994.

To assess the safety of such operations, Wolfe and his colleagues looked at 4,776 patients in the first month after having a bariatric procedure. They found that 4.3 percent of patients had a serious problem, such as a blood clot or needing another operation, and 0.3 percent, or 15 patients, died within a month after surgery — a complication rate similar to other types of surgery.

Ahhh, but the news is even better for Lap Band patients – from another article on the same study:

“Nobody died within 30 days of the banding technique…”

As for the major complications:

The overall likelihood of major complications, including death, blood clots or the need for follow-up surgery, showed a similar pattern. It was 1 percent for banding, 4.8 percent for laparoscopic bypass and 7.8 percent for open bypass.

Wolfe said the pattern is not surprising because surgeons will not try laparoscopic bypass on patients with many risk factors. When they adjusted for risk factors, the chance of major complications was much more comparable between both types of Roux-en-Y bypass.

Dr. Malcolm Robinson of Harvard Medical School said in a commentary the complication rates ‘are similar to those seen in other major operations’ but since the study involved 33 U.S. surgeons certified as highly skilled, the results ‘may not be widely reproducible.’

Lastly:

Both Robinson and Wolfe recommend that any person considering bariatric surgery should choose a facility that’s been designated as a “Center of Excellence” because that means that the surgeon and the whole health-care team are qualified and experienced.

Here is Dr. Wolfe talking about how weight loss surgery allows people to live longer:

“[Research suggests that] surgery increases survival and makes people live longer, even taking into account mortalities,” said Wolfe.

That’s what it all comes down to – you have family and friends who love you and want you to live a long life. Think about your own sadness about the people who have left before you. If you kids or a spouse, you want them to feel that for as few years as possible. Weight loss surgery allows you to live longer and live happier – and that’s worth it.

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Lap Band Blog About Men

Posted by Lori on July 28, 2009

Most of the Lap Band blogs I find are written by women. Today, I found the Lap Band King – imagine that! This is from his “about” page:

I am Marcus. I am Male. I am 36. I have a wife. I have 2 girls and 2 boys. I have a big family. I have been over-weight for nearly 3/4’s of my life. I am not your normal guy. I run several companies including one multi-million dollar operation. I started in this venture in life a son a preacher man. I was raised in a small back woods town in East Texas called Votaw. Yeah thats right back woods. I was home- schooled for most of that growing up time. Thus my lack of knowledge in spelling. I was married at the age of 21. With no money in the bank. I never went to college yet, tried my luck in the pipeline oil and gas industry. I have had great success in this field. I have lots of friends that I love dearly. I am a giver. I believe that is how I am in this position in life. I have lived the American dream from driving a 74 ford to driving whatever I want to drive. THE ONLY THING I HAVE NOT OVER COME IS MY WEIGHT. In the start of my obsession to loosing and becoming the KING of my life my highest weight was 445lb. Thats a big SOB, If you know what I mean. So this site is dedicated to me and my quest to become who I see myself in the mirror – the person I really see. My day to day journey loosing weight with the help of the Lapband – I hopefully shall become the LAP-BAND KING. My surgery date was February 5, 2009.

Okay, that’s more than I can say for myself.  Anyway, here is his archive of video posts. He just seems like a fundamentally decent guy on a journey. Here is the episode from his birthday:

Also, if you’re new to the site, I want to encourage you to read Robert Morgan’s 250 pound weight loss story linked on the lower right column. It’s quite a long story, but he is a journalist and a wonderful writer. Here’s a sample:

I felt doomed to die of a heart attack by the age of 32, but I didn’t know what to do. I don’t overeat so I figured eventually it would all go away. I was certain that putting on a few extra pounds was something that happens to everyone when they hit their 30s.

It hit me like a ton of bricks this year, and I have one immature, rude, disrespectful Decatur High School student to thank for it. I was at my first volleyball game of the season in late August when I walked by the student body section. I noticed in my peripheral vision as I approached the group that one boy in particular kept staring at me. Just as my family and I passed, he quickly turned to two of his buddies and said, “Did you see how fat that dude was? What a freak!”

This definitely was not the first time I was stared at because of my weight. It happens all the time. When I see others in my same position, I notice they all get the same kind of looks I get.

Those words that boy spoke back in August are still ringing in my ears. I didn’t sign up for this, nor did I ask to be overweight.

To say I didn’t cry that night as my wife slept would be a lie. What I heard come out of that boy’s mouth cut like a knife. Of all the great kids I work with at Decatur, it took one inconsiderate teenager to shake my world.

I thought about it all night, the next day, and for the next week. I wanted to change overnight before the next person made fun of me. I see it almost every day now that my eyes were opened by this one person. People look at me differently every day, it’s just I can’t read thought bubbles as they stare when I slowly pass by.

Posted in Lap Band Bloggers, Lap Band Weight Loss Stories, Video Blogs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Do I Have To Exercise To Lose Weight With A Lap Band?

Posted by Lori on July 27, 2009

No one admits that they wonder about this, but I know from the searches that bring readers to this site, that it is a popular question.

The answer to that is, in short, you probably don’t have to exercise to lose weight with a Lap Band. I talk to lots of people who lose weight with a Lap Band who don’t exercise. Lorraine Kay, whose Lap Band videos are linked on this site, was in her late fifties and weighed over 300 pounds when she had her Lap Band procedure done at Cedars Sinai. She now weighs 125 and she’s not exercised a day. And there are lots and lots of people out there who have that same experience.

However, Dr. William Lee of Blue Earth, Minnesota, has this to say about exercise and his patients:

Lee said his patients can be divided into two groups, those who shed 6 to 8 pounds a month and patients who lose 10 to 15 pounds a month. “The difference between these two groups,” he said, “is exercise.:

So, he is saying that his patients lose weight without exercise. Good to know. Still, that’s a pretty big gap and I’m sure a lot of us would rather be in the 10 to 15 pound weight loss per month group than the 6 to 8 pound weight loss per month.

Speaking as someone who has both been very successful with exercise programs and an utter failure, I have a few tips for being successful. One of the things that people who aren’t used to exercising do  is that they assume that they should exercise in a certain fashion at a certain time of day. So they sign up at local gym and either plan on working out before they go to work, or after they go to work. And then they get there, discover they hate the gym and after a few weeks, never go back. In point of fact, with the exception of the YMCA, most modern gyms are designed to make you hate them because the corporations who own them make their money because most people who have membership don’t use their facilities. And that is why they don’t offer 3 month memberships. So, unless you know that you love working out at gyms, don’t do that.

If you’re not naturally inclined towards exercise, start off by looking at where you have time open in your schedule and how much time you have. You’re going to fit working exercise into your life rather than re-arranging your life around exercise – at least for now – because if you don’t have to worry about hiring sitters or getting dad to stay home with the kids, or carving out huge chunks of time in your schedule, you’re just more likely to stick with it.  A 20 minute burst of exercise two or three times a day burns more calories than one 40 or 60 minute burst of exercise once a day. Even if you’re at home with tiny kids, you can carve out several minutes here and several minutes there. Can you take 15 minutes while they’re watching Sesame Street, 15 minutes while they nap and 15 minutes after they go to bed? Probably. Boost that up to twenty minutes, and you’re exercising an hour a day. If you work, same thing – do 15 minutes before you leave, 15 minutes on your lunch break, and 15 minutes when you get home. And if you hate exercising in the morning, as I do, skip the morning work out and add one on before you go to bed.

So, what can you do in 10 – 20 minutes that helps burn calories? Lots of things.

  • Dance. Get an MP3 player with several of your favorite dance songs and just dance. If you’re feeling shy, do it behind carefully closed doors.
  • Nordic Walking. I have to do a whole ‘nother post on this because Nordic walking is great for people who are wrestling with their weight. You know those ski poles that cross country skiers use to propel themselves? People use slightly modified versions for walking and it burns 40% more calories, protects joints from wear and tear, improves stability (four legs good), and helps build upper body strength. It’s a real exercise bargain. Here’s YouTube video if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
  • Plain old walking. However much time you have, walk half of it in one direction, and then turn around and come back. When you start picking up speed (and you will pick up speed faster than you can imagine), just do the same thing. It will be fun to see that you consistently travel farther in the same amount of time as your cardiovascular health improves.
  • Calisthenics – remember those? They require nothing except that you have a body. There are lots of routines online and lots of books available.
  • Work Out DVDS – there are tons of these available. This one, from  Gaiam, offers ten minute work outs that you do in front of your tv. And as you get more fit, you can do more than one. This is perfect for people who just don’t have much time to exercise, and the work outs look pretty simple.
  • Resistance Bands – I’ve never worked out with them and I don’t know the first thing about them other than what I have read. Still, it seems like it should work out pretty well. It’s resistance that builds muscles and so I’ll be giving this a shot.
  • Free Weights. You don’t need a lot of equipment to have a good strength programming at home. You need a bench,  a few dumbells to start and a little bit of space. As you gain strength, you’ll want to expand what you own, but that’ll come naturally to you. In the meantime, Strength For Dummies pretty much gives you the basics. And no matter your age or health, there is a strength training program that will make your life better. If you’re shy about going into a store to purchase equipment, order it online.
  • Exercise machines. Well, there are lot of bad ones out there and a lot of expensive ones out there. You some how or the other have to walk the fine line. My suggestion, if you’re interested in buying an exercise machine, is that you go try it out first and make sure you like it. Lots of machines are sized for people over 5’10” and will be tough to use if you’re much under that height. I love working out on the Concept II rower and can get a real zone thing going on where I row and think about what I’m working on and the time just flies.

My suggestion would be that if you are just starting to work out, keep it simple. That’s part of the reason that so many gym memberships fail. There’s nothing simple about driving to the gym, finding a parking place, changing clothes, waiting for a machine, waiting for the next machine, taking a shower and then finding your car and going home. Start by walking, or dancing, or using work out dvds. Then look at incorporating some resistance bands, or nordic walking poles into your routine. At that point, you’ll have aerobic activity and some muscle development going on – and that’s a good thing. Once you’ve adjusted to those changes, then think about adding a weight bench and dumb bells, or an exercise machine to the mix. Keep it simple.

Oh, and if you can, show yourself some love and buy some comfy, high quality work out clothes. They’ll fit better, be more comfortable and last longer.🙂

Posted in Lap Band Basics, Lap Bands And Exercise, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lap Band Surgery Patients Lose More Weight

Posted by Lori on July 25, 2009

than people who use diet and exercise. Even when the diet and exercise group are under a doctor’s supervision.

I was looking around for new and interesting studies and I found this one, which is two years old, from Paul O’Brien, JB Dixon and C. Laurie entitled Lap-Band or Medical Therapy for Metabolic Syndrome. Now here is how the American Heart Association defines Metabolic Syndrome:

The metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include:

  • Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen)
  • Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar)
  • Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood)
  • Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)

People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes. The metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States. It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it.

So, of course, we are studying how best to treat Metabolic Syndrome and this study finds that Lap Bands are far more effective.

Aims: The primary aim of this study was to conduct a randomized, controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of standard, nonsurgical therapy for weight loss with LAP-BAND in mild to moderate obese adults (body mass index [BMI] 30–35 kg/m2).

A BMI of 30-35 is our 5’4″ woman weighing between 169 and 197. It’s our 5’10” guy weighing between 209 and 243. Not huge. Not morbidly obese, by any means. But certainly quite a bit heavier than most people can carry and be comfortable. Check your BMI here.

Methods: Participants were eligible for inclusion if they were between 20 and 50 years of age, had a BMI of 30 to 35 kg/m2, and had an obesity-related comorbid condition (including severe physical limitations or clinically significant psychosocial problems related to their obesity). Participants were excluded if they had had previous bariatric surgery or medical problems that contraindicated treatment in either study group (ie, impaired mental status or drug or alcohol addiction). In addition, participants who had undergone an intensive, physician-supervised program that used very low caloric diets or pharmaco-therapy for weight loss were also excluded.

And what happened with that group of people? Well…

The percentage of initial weight loss (~ 13.8%) was the same for both groups at 6 months. However, the surgical group continued to lose weight at the 12-, 18-, and 24- month evaluations. At the end of the 2-year study period, the surgical group had lost 87.2% of their excess weight. The nonsurgical group showed progressive weight gain after the initial weight loss described above. All of the patients who had surgery and eight of the 33 patients who were treated without surgery achieved satisfactory weight loss, defined as a loss of 25% of excess weight.

Basically, the people who had Lap Bands lost close to 90% of their excess weight. The people who were treated non-surgically, gained most of their weight back. At the end of the two year period, only 8 of the 33 non-surgical patients had lost 25% of their excess weight.

Those non-surgical patients had a pretty optimal experience for losing weight. It’s not like they were handed a 28 page pamphlet and told to knock a few pounds off. They were aggressively treated with drugs, exercise and had appointments with a physician every six weeks. From the study:

The nonsurgical program was centered on behavioral modification and included a very low caloric diet, increasing physical activity, and pharmacotherapy. After an initial intensive 6-month period of very low calorie diet (500–550 kcal/d), patients were started on 120 mg
of orlistat once a day, which was then increased to 120 mg of orlistat before all meals. All participants were seen at least every 6 weeks by a physician. All participants were instructed in appropriate lifestyle behaviors, including healthy eating habits and regular exercise for at least 200 minutes per week regardless of the study group to which they were randomized.

Even under those ideal circumstances, most people couldn’t lose the majority of their excess weight in two years, unless they had the Lap Band surgery. And that is certainly experience that I have had in my life and if you’re reading this blog, I bet you have as well.

Good to know.

Posted in Lap Band Studies, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »