Saturday, January 9, 2010


I did it. I was a little worried about taking up my 199th post last night to report my daily resolution progress. I figured I was just tempting fate too much to force the 100 pound loss today. I had trouble sleeping last night and got up at 6am to check to see if I had made the additional pound off (yes I was being a tad psychotic about it). At 5am after a pee I had not taken off the extra pound needed to make 100 today. I was bummed so crawled back into bed and slept a little longer until I had to get up at 7am to get ready for the Saturday class (statistics) that my husband and I take together. I know...this was stupid but I got on the scale after another pee and viola!! the scale read 104.4. Yipppeeeeeeeeeeeeee Victory!!!!!!!!!!

So today, just less than one year and 5 months since lapband surgery I have lost 100 pounds. Because I do research for a living I have conducted my own non-scientific research study of lapband success (Someday I plan to do this scientifically). My data comes from blogs, discussion boards, research studies, and discussions with my doctor. Today I am going to write about what I think are the keys to losing weight (with or without the lapband). It took the lapband to get my head and body able to do what I needed but I Know people who manage it on their own.

The key-is getting off the roller coaster. Now the problem is you have to get off while it is moving, and you are strapped in. With a nicely filled lapband you get places where that roller coaster slows down on a dip and gives you a chance to jump off. The problem is--if we don't get off the coaster or we don't get fills when we need them to slow the roller coaster down we are doomed to go around on the ride again and again until we do something to make the slow down happen again or pry ourselves off by sheer will alone.

So what does getting off the roller coaster mean? It means stabilizing what we eat, how much we eat and getting off our butts and getting some exercise. It means being patient and thoughtful even when the monkey on your back screams this is not isn't you that is the problem it is the diet or the surgery or all the other multitude of excuses we use on ourselves to push off the fear that we are really weak and all of this fat is our fault. In the end the actions are all us but the mechanisms that push us into those bad habits are so complicated that no one knows what part is us and what part is some evil trick of metabolism and brain chemistry.

Before I had a lapband I ate. I ate goodies when they came into the house. I ate leftovers. I ate full meals at breakfast lunch and dinner and I ate snacks in between. If I wanted dessert I ate it. Much of this I was unaware of. Either I fooled myself into thinking I really did not eat that much or I had a mental block. I rarely felt full I never felt hungry. I ate foods for the drug effect, for the joy of flavors, to stop myself from feeling depressed, to celebrate, to fill the void...and on and on.

After the lapband, with regular fills, I have drastically reduced the amount of food I eat (probably from quarts a day to 2 cups total). I still eat meals with snacks in between. I still eat dessert when I really want to. The difference is I do it slowly and in drastically reduced quantities. I do not really feel hungry but I do get dizzy and this is my hungry feeling. I feel full every time I eat. Sometimes I still eat for all of the reasons I used to but not as often and not nearly as much.

Now because i have very little room. With this drastically reduced quantity I have to pay attention to what I eat. If I want to stay healthy I have to eat enough protein to keep my muscle mass and I have to eat enough vegetables and fruit to keep my bowels movable :)...This task does not leave much room for carbohydrate laden desserts. If I want to stay healthy I have to have one cookie not 10 because there flat out isn't enough room in my stomach to do otherwise (don't think I have mastered this because I have not!!). This change would be undoable right off the bat (I do not know how the rny people cope)..but the gradual decrease in food has allowed me to adjust my expectations over time. I will be honest that there have been times when I cried over my measly meal because my mind wanted more (5 months ago over spaghetti and this Christmas over home-made mac and cheese). I can also tell you-the weight loss is worth the loss of my food ALWAYS.

Before lapband: Breakfast: two pieces of french bread, 2 oz of cheddar cheese Lunch: Cheese burger, Small french Fry, Snack-another cheese sandwich or a couple of cookies or a bag of popcorn., Dinner: Usually out for a full serving of fish and chips or 3-4 pieces of pizza or a full serving of Chicken Tikka Masala. Snack-A bowl of cereal or ice cream.

Today:Breakfast and snack: 5 cheese its, 3 oz. of cheddar cheese Lunch: 1/4 peanut butter and banana Sandwich, Snack: skim peppermint mocha, Dinner: the other 1/4 of peanut butter and banana sandwich. Snack: 1/2-1 cup of popcorn (not my best protein level day but it is what I have eaten today).

Exercise: As the weight comes off you have to move. The doctor harps on this, the books say this. If we don't start to exercise the weight is going to come back. The good news is that the lapband has helped here too. As I ate less I lost weight. as I lost weight I gained more energy as I moved more with that energy I found more energy. In a sense the energy helped me run further and further away from that damned rollercoaster that was keeping me fat in the first place. Another thing that happened is that instead of my body hurting when I moved it now hurts when I sit still. I get out of bed because my bony knees rub and irritate me. I get off the couch because my bony butt falls asleep and I have to get up.

So my advice for you beginners and those who are frustrated-fills are vital. Get small ones often. There is no such thing as a sweet spot. As you lose weight it comes off from your internal organs as well as you ass. That means that your band gets looser as the fat comes off your stomach.

Really try and listen to your body. Can you feel that food go through your stoma during a meal? then you are too loose...the food should go in and stay there for 20-30 min (doctors lecture). Try and listen to when you are full and stop. Your stoma opening is likely the size of a baby aspirin-think about that when you chew. I have just recently gotten to the point when I know I am stuck, or when I have had enough. I rarely throw up from an over-eat. I still get stuck sometimes because i still try to eat stupid stuff like lettuce and hamburger or forget to chew something when I am talking at dinner (I know you guys can do better than I do on this one!!).

Quit chasing new and better weightloss cures. don't drink while you eat, eat protein, eat vegetables. eat carbs. last. Drink water and exercise. I have not been able to find any scientific support for the 'pouch test' is just a way to get more food past your band and make you hungry. Your band was placed to help you get off the roller-coaster. I am off and I am never going back on again!!

Ok I'm now getting down off my soapbox. I hope something somewhere in this huge ramble helps someone out there. It is just as much a reminder for me the next time I am tempted to give up or go off chasing another get thin quick scheme that it is, I hope, something for you all to ponder.


Jen from Oregon said...

Way to go! 100 lbs, dang!!!! That is great

Nawlinz Lady (Dee) said...

Tina, I am sitting here with tears after reading your post. I am so happy for you! Thank you for sharing tips, as a newbie, I am still so frustrated that I am still hungry all the time. How much fill do you have now?

Lonicera said...

Really well done Tina! I agree with what you say - though perhaps we differ in the definition of sweet spot.

We're lead to believe it's a nirvana, the promised land which rewards you for all that PBing and effort, from here on thou shalt never wish to overeat... etc. Short of having a lobotomy, I know this doesn't exist. The lapband can only ever be a contributory factor in losing weight, it won't work unless you cooperate in avoiding the worst of the dieting pitfalls or use restraint when purchasing food. For you it's effectively stopping you in your tracks, you're eating little AND without needing to PB - surely that's a sweet spot? Heck I'd be over the moon with that!

The other comment is that with bandits at the beginning of their journey possibly other rules apply: chances are you're depressed, despise your physical self, etc, and at this stage the lapband is a blind grab at a life raft. For these people one can only say - follow it as best you can, have faith and be patient. Once the weight comes off your morale lifts and you're better able to help the band because it's now proved that it can help you.

Good post.


Simone said...

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC Tina, well done! That must feel WONDERFUL!!!!

Very inspiring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simone :)

Lonicera said...

...forgot to add that the Point may be Sweet, but it's not absolute. It shifts as we go along, needing constant readjustment, until we reach target weight. Sorry, I know it's obvious, but I was thinking about this as I was having a shower (when all my best thoughts come to me!) and felt I had to add.

Yana said...

Congrats!!! What amazing work!

Linda said...

Awesome Tina! Really great post too. You've accomplished so much with the band and have struggled like the rest of us.

Tina said...

I totally agree with the lack of absoluteness Caroline-and of course in the beginning the band is grabbing at a life raft. My analogy of it helping it slow down the roller coaster or loosening the seat belt was my attempt to address that. For years when I tried to diet. I would be really good for a week then get on the scale, I would not lose and it would send me off on a bender. The next week I would lose (probably pay off from the week before) and then fool myself into thinking that overeating wasn't that bad. Another semi-good week would follow and I would gain weight...I carried on with this cycle for years. With a good fill in my band benders are much more difficult to pull of. gradually the ups and downs how levelled out and my roller coaster ride is now more like a country lane with small hills and the occasional pothole :)

Tina said...

Dee I have about 9cc's. Keep going in for your fills as often as your doctor lets you until you have some. My first really good fill was about a year ago. It took about 6 months before my fills really worked. That was about 5 cc's. Even then my food would go through my band when I was eating meals but it was such a change from before and slowed me down so much that I still lost weight with it.

My first really sweet spot fill was last May after I had my port fixed (lost 35 pounds of one fill) and then the last two have been really good. I dont think you can see my weightloss ticker but my weight really comes off quickly right after a fill and then tapers off. It is really important to stay on top of them to help keep you kicked in the butt so to speak :)

Miss Milo said...

Hi Tina,

Just wanted to pop by and thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog. Congrats on your amazing weight loss - this post is so informative and exactly what a new bandster like me needs to read :)

Wishing you a wonderful week!