Love My Lap Band!

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

Archive for the ‘Lap Band Basics’ Category

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Weight Loss Surgery Reduces The Risk of Cancer

Posted by Lori on July 23, 2009

I frequently link to a  study by Dr. Paul O’Brien at Monash University that found that the instance of mortality is lower among weight loss surgery patients than among obese people who don’t have a Lap Band.

Severely obese people who received the LAP-BAND Adjustable Gastric Banding System to lose weight had a 72 percent reduction in their risk of dying compared to obese people who were not offered any specific weight-loss treatment, according to findings published in the December issue of the Annals of Surgery (1).

And here is the math:

The study involved two groups of people who were between 37 and 70 years of age with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater: A LAP-BAND System group, which included 966 patients (average age 47, average BMI 45 ) and a previously established population-based cohort of 2119 people who were not offered any specific weight-loss treatment (average age 55, average BMI). There were four deaths (heart disease, cancer(2) and suicide) in the LAP-BAND System group after a median follow-up of four years, vs. 225 deaths after a median follow-up of 12 years in the non-treated group. After statistically controlling for the differences in follow up time, sex, age and BMI, the hazard for death was 72 percent lower for LAP-BAND System patients compared to the non-treated group (hazard ratio for death: 0.28, 95% confidence interval: 0.10-0.85). LAP-BAND System patients lost an average of approximately 63 pounds 2 years after installation.

So, now we have this new study out that finds that weight loss surgery cuts the risk of cancer.

Weight-loss surgery significantly reduces cancer risk, says Dr. Nicolas Christou, Director of Bariatric Surgery at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada.

“There is no question whatsoever that weight-loss surgery reduces your relative risk of developing a cancer,” says Christou.

He and his colleagues compared more than 1,000 morbidly obese people who had weight-loss surgery to thousands of people with the same weight profile who did not have the surgery.

He found that the surgery patients’ overall risk of cancer was 78-percent lower over the five years of the study. For breast cancer the risk was reduced by 83-percent.

An 83% reduction in the risk of breast cancer is huge.

I know that so many of my readers are guilt tripped by their family and friends when they announce that they are considering weight loss surgery. But there is no evidence that diet and exercise is an effective way to lose weight. Until weight loss surgery came along, it was the only way, but that’s now changed. We have the studies that prove that people who have weight loss surgery live happier lives, healthier lives and longer lives. So go for the happy! Get the surgery and have a real shot at living a longer, healthier life. What could be better than that?

Posted in Bariatric Surgeons, Lap Band Basics, Lap Band Studies, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fabulous Lap Band Blog With Great Before And After Pictures

Posted by Lori on July 21, 2009

I’ve just found one of the best Lap Band Blogs ever – Chronicles From Lap Band Land! Catherine, the proprietress, is a smart, pretty, 38 year old attorney living in NYC and she can write. One of her blogs posts is a question and answer session with a friend of hers about food. Her answers are wonderfully informative.

My very good friend, Christina, just sent me an e-mail with some great questions about eating with the band. I thought I’d post them here, along with my responses. . .

What do you eat when you go out?
It varies a lot. If my band is feeling tight, I try to order something like soup or something mushy that will be easy to get down. Fish also is a great option, since most varieties are relatively soft in texture and easy to chew.

When you posted about sushi, you said that you didn’t eat the rice — why is that?
I was thinking of the rice as empty calories, and I wanted to be able to eat more fish, so I saved room by not eating the rice as well. I did eat a bite or two of it though, and it went down just fine.

What would you order in an Italian restaurant?
I went to a very nice Italian restaurant on Sunday night . . . Babbo (it’s one of Mario Battali’s places). I split an arugula salad with Erika (I just had a few bites) and ordered a small plate of gnocci with braised oxtail. It was DELICIOUS!

What would you order in a French restaurant?
Hmm. . I haven’t been out for French food recently, but fish is always good and is generally very easy to eat, so that would be one good option. I can actually eat most things, so there is never a problem finding something good on the menu.

How about Mexican?
I go to a Mexican restaurant for brunch most weekends. No problems there. I can have guacamole with a chip or two (not more because I get too full, plus, it’s fattening) and usually get either a quesadilla or carnitas (tacos with grilled pork — I only eat the pork and leave the tortilla).

Do you think you have already changed your eating habits?
Yes. Working with the band is not hard for me at this point — it has just become what I do.

You wrote what you do for breakfast, but what about other meals?
For lunch at work, I either bring a soup or I order food for delivery. I usually wind up getting soup, but sometimes I do sushi (would do it more, but it’s expensive), and I even get a salad once in a while. A few times, when I needed to get in more protein, I’ve ordered a tuna salad wrap and just ate the tuna. I keep my office door closed during lunch — that way if I get stuck, no one else has to know about it. (I kept my door closed during lunch before the surgery as well — that’s pretty common in my office.

Dinner varies a lot. If I’m home, I might make a scrambled egg (one egg. . a bit of cheese and some spices) or even have a low-calorie microwaveable dinner. If I’m feeling more festive, I might poach a piece of fish or cook some scallops.

Babbo’s gnocci with braised oxtail. I am drooling.

Do you ever fight against hunger?
No. I still get hungry when it’s time to eat, but I get satisfied pretty quickly. I eat whenever I am hungry, which is usually 3 times a day. Also, unlike before I was banded, I can’t really overeat anymore. I mean, I could, if I wanted to spend an hour or two trying to get down more food than I should have, but that’s a big time investment! 🙂 Before the band, I would often eat whatever was on my plate without stopping until I felt full (and by that point, I surely was overly full). Or I’d finish something because it was delicious, even though my hunger was totally satisfied. So, I was frequently overeating.

Do you think you really need the band to eat and live like that or is it mostly a mental help?
I do think that I need it to keep me on the straight and narrow. I think that if I did not have it, it would be very easy to slip into my old habits without really thinking about it. In some ways, the band is a mental help, but the biggest help is that it physically limits me from overeating and from eating whatever I want without thinking about it (how it will go down, whether it is what I want — given that I only get to eat a small amount each day, etc.) first.

I thought these were great questions — and hope it made for an interesting post!

Every single post of hers is informative and has substantive information about life with a Lap Band. For those of you who are still contemplating having surgery, and for those of you who are newly banded, this is a goldmine of comfort and information.

Her friend asks her if she “needs” the Lap Band. The answer to that question is that Lap Bands do more than simply limit the amount of food that you can eat. When you diet, your ancient body, fearing that you’re in a famine situation, turns down your metabolism so that more of the food that you eat is stored as fat. That’s why so many dieters find it necessary to cut back further and further on the food they eat to lose weight. In addition, your body will flood you with hormones that make you want to eat. You know that moment when you’ve been losing weight and feeling great about it, but now find yourself in front of the refrigerator stuffing down the left over chicken parmagiane that you were planning on having for lunch tomorrow? Pop psychologists will tell you that’s a moment of emotional weakness – that you’re sabotaging your weight loss because you’re afraid of success and need to get to the bottom of why you want to be fat. Bullshit. It’s hormonal and it’s normal. Inconvenient. Frustating. Infuriating. But normal. It’s a hormonal tsunami designed to get a starving cave man out of the cave to hunt down some fattened prey and it is almost as powerful as the need to drink water. It has nothing to do with your last lover or how your parents treated you.

BTW, Catherine had her Lap Band surgery in Mexico. For those of you who are contemplating the trip to Mexico, and for those of you whose family is discouraging you from making the trip, this is an incredibly valuable blog. Being able to afford a cash payment for surgery here in the US is very difficult for most people. And why spend $20k, when you can spend $8k and have surgery performed by someone who has literally done thousands of surgeries? There are lots of first rate medical facilities in Mexico, as Catherine demonstrates, and they have modeled themselves to attract American consumers.

Here’s the link to her first month of blogging and covers her pre-op routine as well as her surgery. I’d encourage you to read all the way through. You’re going to know a lot more about life with a Lap Band when you get through.

Posted in Lap Band Basics, Lap Band Before and After, Lap Band Bloggers, Lap Band Weight Loss Stories | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What To Do If You Insurance Denies Your Lap Band Claim

Posted by Lori on July 9, 2009

The second most frequent search on this blog is what to do if an insurance company denies your claim for weight loss surgery. I know it must be a big problem out there. The studies are now piling up and what we know is that people who have Lap Band surgery live longer and happier lives than people who attempt to lose weight through diet and exercise. We lose around 80% of our excess weight. They gain or lose around 2% of their weight, even with the best medical advice on their side.

One of the things that I would suggest that you do is call Walter Lindstrom with the Obesity Law and Advocacy Center in California. He’s an attorney who has had a gastric bypass and a Lap Band.  He knows his stuff. They have over a 90% success rate in appealing denial of claims.

From his online bio:

Walter brings a unique perspective to his representation of morbidly obese persons. A bariatric surgery patient himself (both gastric bypass and Lap-Band®) and personally having experienced the discrimination, physical and emotional pain of being morbidly obese, and now considering himself an “obese person in remission,” and carries an empathy and passion to his representation that no advocate can share with regard to obese and morbidly obese clients. His personal battle to obtain insurance coverage for his treatment, combined with his extensive experience as an insurance law expert, make him the best qualified and most passionate advocate for those persons suffering from obesity and morbid obesity.

In a PDF on his site, advising doctors how to maximize their opportunities for getting insurance approved, he writes this:

Persons suffering from clinically severe obesity generally come to your offices
filled with a self-loathing or self-doubt inspired by prevalent societal attitudes that their size is ‘their fault’. In other words, your patients still generally believe that if they were ‘better people,’ they wouldn’t be having a surgical consultation to help them with their character flaw. These are people often desperately seeking, from you and the surgeon, success at what has become the single most important or dominant thing in their lives.

In short, no, obesity is not your fault. Yes, I know you eat bad food and you don’t exercise. You know what? The same is true of your neighbor next door who isn’t obese. This is genetics we’re talking about and that’s why, when you go on a diet and lose weight, you put the weight right back on. It’s why Oprah, with all of her resources, cannot keep the weight off. The one thing that changes the genetic equation is weight loss surgery and that’s why you have a right to it under your insurance.

I want to encourage you to fight as hard as you can to get surgery. You can always pay for it yourself if you cannot get your insurance to cover it,  but surgery is expensive enough that if you can get it covered, you should.

Mr. Lindstrom has a FAQ which provides a decent amount of information about what he does. Also, he has a few articles linked. I’d encourage you to look through those as well.

If you’re using insurance, this is a valuable site. Take some time and read what is there. It may make it easier to get your claim approved first time out. If you’re refused coverage, you’re welcome to call the firm and find out if they can help you. If they can’t, there is a tremendous amount of information on this site that will help you in your fight with the insurance company.

Posted in Appealing Insurance Declines, Lap Band Basics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Where Did My Boobs Go?

Posted by Lori on October 30, 2008

Classic real life thread on the Lap Band Talk Forum.

Where did my boobs go?

Just had to share something funny.The great news is that I’ve lost 60 lbs of the 200 lbs I need to lose. The BAD news is that 30 of it seems to have been lost from my boobs!

What the heck is that? I have a large butt, large belly, and thighs that have their own zip codes, but NOOOOO. I lose half of my boobs. Seriously, I can now put my fist in my bra with plenty of room left over.

Cracks me up! Guess I may have to have implants when I’m all done.

I invite you to share something funny about your weight loss that you never thought was going to happen.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Posted in Lap Band Basics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

How Much Does Lap Band Cost in Portland, Oregon?

Posted by Lori on October 16, 2008

One more in my way too random series of inquiries. Today I spoke with Ann at the Oregon Health And Science University’s Surgical Weight Reduction Program in Portland, Oregon. They have a program for self-pays and they are a little pricier than most, but you do get some nice assurances with it. They charge $21,634 for surgery BUT that comes with the ability for the patient to stay in the hospital up to three nights. For those of you who are concerned that you’re very high risk, this is probably a reasonable way for you to go. It also covers all post-op care for 90 days. Fills are $250 and you should plan on five to six the first year. They have a support group that meets twice a month – once in the morning and once in the evening. If you’ve been reading my blog, or doing your own due diligence, you know that patients who attend support groups do a dramatically better job of losing weight than people who don’t. The first half hour of the group, the patients talk to each other, and in the second half an invited guest speaks on issues of concern. They encourage Lap Band patients, whether they have had their weight loss surgery through their clinic or not, to attend the support groups – that’s a good thing. 🙂 Anytime you can put yourself in the good  care of a research facility, it is to your advantage.

Since this is on the upper end of the price spectrum, I’m going to call a few more local facilities and see how much they charge. I’ll get back to you about that later.

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

Obesity Isn’t Your Fault and How To Change It!

Posted by Lori on October 11, 2008

For those of you who are new to this blog and are wrestling with obesity, the first thing I want to say is that it’s time to give up your guilt. I know you’re thinking that if you just wouldn’t have eaten that cheesecake when you were twelve, and if you could cut back on your lunch and not have dessert every night, you could buy oodles of those darling little Stella McCartney frocks and some lighter than air Christian Louboutins, and float around town like the beguiling little waif you really are. But the human body doesn’t work that way – DNA has intervened. Around 75% of your excess weight is caused by genetics – that is what the diet industry doesn’t want you to know. You know those disclaimers that you see in television and magazine ads for various weight loss programs “Results not typical.”? That’s what it’s referring to.

Think about what 75% of excess weight means – if you’re 5’6″ and your ideal weight is 135 but you weigh 195, 45 pounds of that is genetic in origin and your body is going to put it right back on as soon as you take it off. They did a fascinating study in Canada. They put a group of obese women on 500 calorie a day diets and exercise programs. They lived in the hospital so that their food intake could be controlled. No surprise – they all lost weight. Then the scientists upped their calories to 800 per day and kept the exercise going. Guess what? They all gained weight. Your body is more than capable of adjusting your metabolism to keep your weight stable where DNA commands it to be. That’s what you’re up against. Your ancient body has figured out innumerable ways to keep your weight where it thinks you should be.

That’s where weight loss surgery comes in. When you eat food and you’re full, stretch receptors in the top of your tummy are activated and let your brain know that you’ve eaten plenty. If you’re full with every meal, your body will burn the calories and keep your weight stable. But once you go on a diet, those stretch receptors let your brain know that you aren’t full and it starts cranking your metabolism down. Your body will want to conserve calories to keep your weight where it thinks you should be. That’s one of the reasons you can’t keep it off once you lose it. Weight loss surgery though, changes that. Weight loss surgery, because it makes your stomach smaller, tricks your brain into thinking that you’re full – so your metabolism stays steady. You’re eating less food, but you’re burning it just as quickly as you did before so you lose weight, and you keep it off.

I read a heartbreaking post from a young woman a few months ago who had lost 120 pounds and got herself down to 110. Of course, she put it right back on and after a few trips to the psychologist resolved that she was averse to male attention and was thus sabotaging her own efforts. She was determined to own her failure, and no scientific study I pointed her to could set her free. She was totally captivated by her magical thinking. I wonder how many more cycles she’ll need to burn through before she subordinates her ego to double-blind, peer reviewed science?

Of course, you don’t need to have weight loss surgery to lose weight and keep it off. But doing so otherwise requires changing your eating habits, dramatically increasing the amount of exercise, and keeping your calories at diet level for the rest of your life – or until you don’t mind gaining the weight back. that’s a lot of work. A lot of self-discipline. Most people fail.

Also, you can simple decide that obesity isn’t the end of the world and just love yourself as you are. If that’s what you decide to do, you have my full support. Get yourself out there, get your hair done and buy yourself nice clothes – you deserve it. You have children, family and friends who all want you to live a long and happy life. Take care of yourself for their sake, if not your own. Eat right and get out for walk everyday. Buy a dog if you need inspiration for the walk. Or just dance – get a dance tape, find a place you can dance in private if you must, and just move to the beat for a half hour a day. Once you get good at it, do it twice a day.

But if you hate being obese, quit blaming yourself for your genes and move on. If you want to lose the weight, and you’re more than 50 pounds overweight, you owe it to yourself to look into weight loss surgery. Lap Bands are non-invasive, reversible and adjustable. You won’t lose weight as quickly as with a gastric bypass, but you will lose as much and keep it off as long. That’s what really matters.

I’ll be back tomorrow linking some studies to this post and bringing some new stories. I’ve been gone on a project for several months, and I apologize for my absence, but I’m back now and I’m cooking up some good interviews for you. Come back for more!

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Colleen Cook’s Rules For Reaching Goal Weight

Posted by Lori on June 5, 2008

Colleen Cook from Bariatric Support Centers International was on Weight Loss Surgery Radio last week with Cher Ewing and Jeff Cadwell. She had weight loss surgery back in the late nineties and discovered that there was no real support system in place for the patients – so she created one. Anyway, they’ve done a close look at their client’s who successfully reach their goal weights and these are the principles they’ve found in common.

Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients

1. Personal Accountability
I recognize that I alone am responsible for my successes and my failures.

2. Portion Control
I understand the importance of satiety and listen to my body’s signals.

3. Proper Nutrition
I make good healthy food choices each day.

4. Fluid Intake
I drink the right amount of the right beverages at the right time each day.

5. Regular Exercise
I have adopted the habit of exercise as part of my lifestyle.

I take good quality vitamins each day to ensure my good health.
All of the podcasts from Jeff and Cher’s show are available here. And their blog, with plenty to read,  is here.

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Lap Bands and Diving

Posted by Lori on May 25, 2008

Oooooooh, this is sooooo interesting. One of the things I really want to do after I get my Lap Band is go diving. I’ve never been SCUBA diving in my life, and living so close to the beautiful waters of Mexico, I really want to at least once. Just once. Maybe twice. Anyway, I found this fascinating article about bariatric surgery and diving. It covers all of the weight loss surgery techniques and the risks to divers from each.

The news for bandees is good:

Adjustable Banded Gastroplasty or “Lap Band” isanother more restrictive procedure which reduces the size of the stomach. Following the surgery, the patient’s stomach may only hold 1-2 tablespoons in volume. This method drastically reduces the amount of food the patient can consume at any one time; digestion continues normally; and nutritional problems such as anemia and osteoporosisare almost nonexistent. The patient does not require as much ongoing medical supervision or dietary supplements.

Patients choosing this procedure must be very selective about the food they eat: since absorption is not altered, any foods high in calories, sugars and fat will have the same affect on the body as they did before the surgery. If a patient consumes too much food or large pieces of food, vomiting can result.

After surgery, some patients experience chronic acid reflux. Reflux and regurgitation of fluid and gastric liquid can present problems for a diver in the “head down” position, such as during descent. Divers can manage problems of regurgitation or vomiting through proper dietary considerations and possibly medications.

The estimation of “1-2 tablespoons in volume” is pretty extreme. In truth, you’ll be eating 6 to 8 ounces of food per meal – or a “half glass” of food as Dr. Paul O’Brien likes to put it. In the real world, that’s the equivalent of a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger and a small order of McDonald’s Fries. Of course, you won’t be eating at McDonald’s if you want to lose weight, but you can see where a meal of that size would be perfectly satisfying emotionally. And of course, with the Lap Band, you’ll be quite full as well.

So, for me, it’s to Mexico for my Lap Band surgery, and then hopefully, one year later, back for a SCUBA trip. I can’t wait. 🙂 Palancar Gardens – here I come!

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Good, Basic Lap Band Video Clip

Posted by Lori on May 25, 2008

This is a clip from National Health Journal with Dr. David Davtyan of the Beverly Hills Weight Loss Clinic. It has good animations – at least one of which I have seen before – including an animation of how the inner ring fills up to make the band adjustable. Dr. Davtyan is a Lap Band patient as well, and feels like that has really helped him to understand how the adjustability works best.

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The Truth About Lap Bands and Fills

Posted by Lori on May 15, 2008

There’s a blog post that I’m sure a lot of people who are researching Lap Bands right now are seeing in which a young woman is telling her tale of getting Lap Band surgery in Mexico four years ago. At that point in time, surgeons weren’t doing fills for the patients of other surgeons, so she had to fly to Mexico everytime she needed a fill – a situation that has now changed. Anyway, she expresses the idea that had she not needed to fly to Mexico for a fill, she would have had fills several times a month, rather than over the course of several months. This isn’t accurate – you wouldn’t have fills several times a month. According to Dr. Paul O’Brien, who is the Director of The Centre For Obesity Research and Education at Monash University in Australia, you’ll have your first adjustment 4 weeks post op. At that point, you’ll have adjustments every two weeks or so, until you hit what he calls “the green zone”. It takes about a week to determine how the particular fill is affecting you and most physicians prefer to have a little more data before they proceed again. Once you hit the green zone, the time between adjustments stretches out from four weeks, to six weeks to three months, to six months. It just depends. I’ve talked to a few people who have lost all of their weight with four or five adjustments. Some people require more.

For those of you who are new to this – the port is located somewhere just to the side of your belly button. Fills are simple and painless. You lay down a table, put your hands behind your head and life your legs slightly. That causes your tummy muscles to tighten up and the physician feels for the port. Once found, they swab the area to clean it, spray a local anesthetic on it (no shot) and do a quick injection. They withdraw all the saline from your Lap Band so that they are sure how much is already there, and then inject the full new amount. It’s all over in under two minutes.

Here’s a video of a Lap Band fill being done:

Here’s Love My Lap Band Interviewee Lorraine Kay talking about her fill (among a few other things). Now, Lorraine’s experience involves a barrium X-ray so they can check things out a little more thoroughly, and that’s more likely to happen with someone whose procedure is being covered by insurance. Still, she makes the point quite well that it’s quick and simple.

And here is Becca getting a Lap Band fill in her physician’s office:

Fill Centers USA has 30 locations around the nation and has an entire post-operative support program. They handle fills, and provide the post-surgical support helping you learn to use your Lap Band to the most positive end possible. One of the things we know, is that people who have post-surgical support lose more weight, and have an all around happier experience. So, if you’re contemplating surgery in Mexico, this is an option you should consider.

If you’re just investigating Lap Band surgery, I’d encourage to read Dr. Paul O’Brien’s book THE LAP BAND SOLUTION. He covers all of the basic information in a clear, concise, easy-to-read manual. He’s one of the premier experts on Lap Bands in the world, and has been formally researching their efficacy since the early nineties.

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What You Can’t Eat With A Lap Band

Posted by Lori on May 9, 2008

Poking around YouTube today, I found these three videos for Dr. Terry Simpson in Phoenix, Arizona. You may recognize his name from my blog – previously I’ve linked a podcast to a radio show he did with Cher Ewing and Jeff Cadwell for Weight Loss Surgery radio. He’s an interesting guy and I’ve enjoyed listening to him. At his website, he has a lot of podcasts that he links on different aspects of life with a Lap Band.

This first YouTube video covers eating in the weeks following a Lap Band procedure. The first few days, it’s warm liquids. After that, you can have some soft food like mashed potatos. Then you move on to solid food, and he gives a run down of what you should avoid. Lastly, he talks about how much you should eat, and the fact that you should sit down and eat it when you do. There is always plenty of good information with him.

In this video, he talks about how the Lap Band works. He has a animation of a Lap Band when the video first opens that is silent – so nothing has gone wrong with your computer.

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