Love My Lap Band!

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

Archive for the ‘Weight Loss Surgery’ 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 »

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.’


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.

Posted in Lap Band Studies, Weight Loss Surgery | 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 »

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 »

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 »

Fab Lap Band Blog With Awesome Before and After Pics!

Posted by Lori on July 23, 2009

:: {she shrinks} :: – I can’t believe I’ve never found this Lap Band blog before. She has a series of side by side pics taken month by month. It’s so easy to see what she looks like as she loses weight. In her last post, she’s laying on her side in a bikini and she looks good. How many of us can do that?As to the beginning of the journey, she has her surgery in September of 2005, so you can go back in her archives to trace the whole process.

Here’s a link to the picture page: “a visual companion to She Shrinks, a weight loss surgery journal”. I’d post one of the pics here, but I can’t upload photos for whatever reason without crashing my browser. Bummer. So you’re going to have to conquer your link-o-phobia and just go to the blog.

You’re going to love this.

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

Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield Covers Lap Bands Surgery II

Posted by Lori on July 15, 2009

I just spoke with the wonderfully informative Eloise Bray at Centennial Center For The Treatment of Obesity in Nashville, Tennessee and they have a current list of insurance companies that cover bariatric surgery available on their site.  Three pages worth. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and they offer a PDF on each of the companies they have listed. In the next few days, I’ll do a post that links all the companies they cover for the link-a-phobics amongst my readers.

This group has a really good site with a lot of great information available. They’ve recently revamped and have been very conscientious to include a lot of the information that prospective patients are looking for. Whether you live in the Nashville area or not, I’d encourage you to spend some time looking around. They answer a tremendous number of relevant questions.

At the bottom of their home page, they have a calculator that allows you to determine your BMI. If you haven’t done so yet, that’s the first step in your journey.

Now, real life calls. I’m going to look around their site some more, but in the meantime, I’d encourage you to spend some time there as well.

Posted in Insurance Industry Surgery Standards, Lap Band, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What You Can Eat With A Lap Band And How Much

Posted by Lori on July 10, 2009

If you’re considering having Lap Band surgery, you are probably very curious about what types of food you can easily and how much you can eat. This post from last year covers everything I’ve learned about eating with a Lap Band from the Band patients I’ve talked to.

I realized I’ve never done a post on what Lap Bandees are most comfortable eating. I have Lorraine Kay’s YouTube clip where she talks about what she can eat, but perhaps I should expand on this a bit more.

Let’s begin by addressing how one loses weight with a Lap Band. Lap Bands make your stomach much, much, much smaller. Typically, your stomach holds about one liter of food though it can be distended to hold up to four liters – close to a gallon! At the top of your stomach are stretch receptors and when they are stretched, they signal your brain that you’re full. With the Lap Band, you’ll be eating about six to eight ounces of food per meal. Because your stomach is so tiny now, those stretch receptors will be activated quickly, and you’ll feel satisfied with a far smaller amount of food than you would have before the Lap Band.

What makes Lap Bands so much more effective than diet and exercise is the capability to keep weight off once you lose it. Ninety eight percent of people who lose weight through diet and exercise put it right back on in under two years. That doesn’t usually happen with Lap Bands. Those stretch receptors being stretched after each meal tell your body that food is plentiful and because of that, your body doesn’t crank down your metabolism the way it does on a diet. And because your body doesn’t crank down your metabolism, you keep the weight off that you lose. Brilliant, eh? I should add that you’ll be consuming about 1100 to 1200 calories per day. Your body’s new set point will be established when the amount of energy you are burning at your new size equals the amount of calories you are consuming – same as for everyone else.

For the sake of a visual comparison, you’ll be eating the equivalent of McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger and a small order of French Fries per meal. Now, needless to say, your surgeon doesn’t want you eating those two things, but McDonalds’ food is internationally available and the same size everywhere.

Anyway, the first week, you just don’t feel any hunger by and large, and you only consume clear liquids. The point of this is to not stretch your stomach in anyway in the first days. Be of good cheer – I have yet to hear anyone complain about being hungry that week. After that, you begin a journey that will lead to your first fill and the adjustment process.

What so many Lap Bandees love about their Lap Band is that they can eat almost anything within reason – at holidays, you’ll eat what everyone else does, just less of it. Bread is the most consistently problematic because it mushes up into a gloopy little ball and doesn’t pass through the clip very well. Lots of bandees find that fish quickly becomes one of their favorite dishes – even the people who hated it before. Red meat needs to be cut into tiny pieces and chewed slowly. Crunchy stuff goes down well. As, Lorraine Kay says – tacos with crispy shells, good. Tacos with soft shells, not so good. Nachos, first rate. Some bandees do very well with rice and pasta, others less so. I think it may largely be a matter of being content with just a few bites and moving on. White meats tend to be easy though some people have to be very careful with chicken. You can have ice cream, of course, but it’s calorie dense and goes through the band quickly – thereby defeating the entire purpose.

That’s the short version of it all. I’ll be doing a couple more interviews this weekend, I think. I’ll be sure to talk to the bandees about it, and I’ll let you know what they have to say. In the meantime, if you haven’t watched Lorraine Kay’s interviews on this site, I’d encourage you to do so. She’s someone who thinks and speaks for succinctly. She covers a lot of territory in her interview and you’ll have a much better idea of the road ahead by listening to what she has to say.

I’ve covered caffeine a lot on this site. In fact, there is a whole category about it. The surgeons are split on the subject. Some don’t want you drinking any caffeine whatsoever, and some don’t mind. What I’ve noted in the past is that caffeine causes the blood sugar levels to spike in Type II Diabetics. Spiking blood sugar produces insulin and tells your body to store the energy you’re eating rather than to burn it. Atkins had long noted that people on his diet didn’t lose weight if they drank caffeine. Keep that in mind, and decide how much you value your morning Joe. Atkins now allows people to have one cup a day. If you’re a determined coffee or tea drinker, experiment to find out if there is a reasonable amount you can consume.

Some surgeons object to Lap Bandees having any alcohol at all – the feeling being that you are so restricted in the amount of calories than there are none available to waste on an alcoholic beverage. Dr. Paul O’Brien, of Monash University’s Centre for Obesity Research and Education, says that a glass of wine per day seems to do well by his patients. He’d encourage to check out Australia’s wines, as well. :)

Posted in Weight Loss Surgery, What You Can Eat With A Lap Band | 1 Comment »

Band Banter with Coach Cher today at 4pm CDT.

Posted by Lori on October 27, 2008

Coach Cher is on Blog Talk Radio tonight with Iris Stratton. The blurb for today’s show is:

Join me as I discuss Lapband 101 with Iris Stratton co-founder of Fill Centers USA. Iris currently serves as the company’s CEO. She wrote the fitness, supplementation and nutrition portions of the Fill Centers USA Lifestyle Guide. Iris’s dream is to “work hand in hand with the participating surgeons to make this surgery revolutionary to the world by making aftercare more advanced and geographically adequate for each and every patient.

Particularly, if you are going out of country for weight loss surgery, you should check out Fill Centers USA– it’s a good deal. The first order of business is to provide fills in a professional atmosphere for Lap Band patients. But they also provide post-surgical support groups, and this is important, because bariatric patients who attend support groups do better than those who don’t attend support groups.

I will give you one line from a study on the subject:

Gastric bypass patients in the ASGM (Attend Support Group Meetings) group had a statistically significantly higher percent decrease in BMI than the patients in the NASGM (Not Attend Support Group meetings) group (42% vs. 32%; p < 0.03).

Hopefully, that 10% will get your attention and get you out to some support groups. Listen to Coach Cher today. Should be good.

Posted in Lap Band Podcasts and Radio, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Much Are Lap Band Surgeries in Portland II?

Posted by Lori on October 16, 2008

I just spoke with Chelsea at the Oregon Weight Loss Surgery Center in Portland. They have three different plans to chose from and perform surgery in three separate hospitals – so you have options. They work with Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, Southwest Washington Medical Center, or The Pearl Women’s Center. Their prices for self-pays range between $19,500 and $26,000. With that fee, you get one year of post-surgical care – meaning, you don’t have to pay for any of your fills for the first year. Also, I know some women are more comfortable with female physicians and they have several female surgeons on staff. They offer BLISS Insurance, so any complications will be handled by insurance in the first 90 days post op.

This link has a short video about the practice and you meet some of the surgeons. I think it’s worth a look. And their number, in case you’re itching to call, is 503-227-5050.

Posted in How Much Does Lap Band Surgery Cost?, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 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 »

Becca’s Lap Band Story Episode 4

Posted by Lori on May 28, 2008

Becca has now lost 60 pounds since February, and she looks fantastic. This clip is about how much her life as changed as a result of having Lap Band surgery. She rides bikes without worrying about the tires deflating, she plays the piano without problems and she can even cross her legs now and yes, there are some before and after pictures.

Anyway, good work, Becca! Congratulations on your triumphs.

Posted in Lap Band Weight Loss Stories, Video Blogs, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Interesting Post on Fills

Posted by Lori on May 27, 2008

Hmmmm, here’s something I’ve never read before. Dr. Rachael Keilin is talking about how fills impact a bandee’s hunger, and how the impact of the fill isn’t necessarily immediate.

There is also a phenomenon we see fairly often, but really can’t explain well. Some people will have a delay in the “tightness” of a fill by as much as two weeks. This is why we won’t fill one day and then fill again three days later. Because there is sometimes a lag in the perception of hunger after a fill (and remember: it’s hunger control we’re aiming for, not bulimia!), we don’t want to end up over-filling patients, especially if they live out of town. Spitting into a cup is just not fun. You’re meant to have gradual weight loss with the Lap Band from eating less. You’re not meant to be on a liquid diet or pureed food diet. We want to eat more or less a regular diet, just eat a smaller amount of food so that you can lose weight.

Interesting. Now, that I’ve checked out Dr. Keilin’s site, I have to go find out what “Smart Lipo” is. Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted in Bariatric Surgeons, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Medicare May Expand Lap Band Coverage

Posted by Lori on May 19, 2008

Well, this is good news. Maybe it will help knock down a few more insurance walls for Lap Bands here in the US. Maybe it’ll help reduce the cost as well.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Medicare program may expand reimbursement for bariatric surgery for the obese, in light of a study that found the treatment can help reverse diabetes, the agency said on Monday.

Recent research found the surgery can completely reverse type 2 diabetes, a metabolic condition spurred by weight gain and suffered by millions of Americans.

Medicare, the government health plan for the nation’s 44 million elderly, “will assess the nature of the scientific evidence supporting surgery for the treatment of diabetes,” the agency said on its Web site.

The agency will decide whether to set a “national coverage decision,” that would set reimbursement policy for all Medicare recipients. It could also decide to not cover the weight-loss surgery for diabetes alone.

The government already pays for the surgery in certain patients, generally those classified as “morbidly obese.”

Both my mother, and my grandfather had diabetes and died at the age of 64 from heart attacks. Neither of them were obese and both of them were quite active. My grandfather was a rodeo photograher – not a job for the unfit. He was taking down storm windows from his home when he died. My mother was digging a ditch and I’m guessing the combination of the diabetes, the smoking and the Arkansas summer heat took her. Still, 64 is awfully young. Here’s hoping that we help keep parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles around longer.

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Lap Band Patients Continue to Lose Weight Over Years

Posted by Lori on May 4, 2008

I just checked in with Dr. Chris Oliver, my favorite Lap Band blogger. He’s 16 months post-banding and has lost 55% of his excess weight. He’s riding in bicycle tournaments, competing in triathalons and he looks great. If you haven’t read his Lap Band blog, by all means, check in. Being a physician, he writes with a level of detail and precision we don’t get with most Lap Band bloggers.

Anyway, he’s blogging about Dr. Jean Biagini and Dr. Lamissa Karam’s Lap Band study out of Lebanon that followed 591 patients with an average BMI of 41.95 (that’s our 5’4″ woman at 235 and our 5’11” man at 290) that had a Lap Band procedure. Fifty-one of the patients wound up having their Lap Bands removed. The researchers followed their weight loss for up to ten years. After the first year, the patients had lost, on average, 66% of their excess weight. At the end of the second year, they had lost, on average, 72% of their excess weight. At the end of four years, 75.9%. And, most delightfully, at the end of six years they had lost, on average, 82.8% of their excess weight! How exciting to learn that people continue to lose as time goes on.

If you want to check your BMI, you may do so here. For the newbies, most insurance standards require that you have a BMI of 35 with at least two co-morbidities – meaning high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea or high cholesterol before they will cover it. If you have a BMI over 40, usually you don’t need the co-morbidities. I have a link to a list of the standards for several dozen insurance companies here.

Posted in Insurance Industry Surgery Standards, Lap Band Bloggers, Lap Band Studies, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »