Most of you are probably familiar with the Lap Band. Maybe you’ve seen the “roaring hungry lion” commercial or have read about this weight loss surgery in a magazine. Maybe you’ve even undergone surgery and have a band yourself! Either way, I thought I’d share my thoughts about some discoveries along my journey.
I was Banded in July 2010. I’m small framed, 4’10”. I made the decision to be Banded not only because I have a history of losing and gaining weight multiple times in my years, but also because of hormone, spinal health, and ultimately insuring a better future (not to mention I was hovering over the ____lb mark). Surgery and healing was a breeze, and to be honest, I didn’t notice much of a change in how eating felt for quite a while.
Lap Band 101: It’s a hollow band that’s wrapped around the top of your stomach opening. The hollow band can be filled with saline to become tighter (making the opening of your stomach smaller, limiting the amount of food intake) or loosened (to open up the stomach entrance, allowing more food to go through faster). Imagine a deflated balloon (your stomach); put a rubber band about an inch under the opening. Stuff the balloon with several bites and all the sudden, that upper area near the top is full! Food takes quite a while to pass through the opening.
Now that you’ve got an idea, understand that I didn’t particularly feel the effects of the Lap Band until about 6 months after surgery. I had to work my way up to getting a tight lap band (monthly or weekly saline injections to tighten the band to the most beneficial amount). So it’s been almost 2 years, I’ve dropped about 80 pounds (all 80 within the first 12 months, these last few pounds are hard to move!) just through healthy eating and light exercise.
There’s a big debate as to whether the Lap Band is even necessary. I lost weight on the Band the same way other people do without it: exercise and healthy choices. So why did I get it? Think long term. This Lap Band is a tool not the answer to a healthy weight. I could abuse it and still gain my weight back believe it or not. Being a weight loss tool, the Band has helped to constantly remind me not to over eat, or to watch the quality of the food I intake. Sure, there have been ups and downs in regards to adjusting to the Band itself. It is known to be “tighter” in the morning and “looser” in the evening. So, I’ve simply adjusted my food choices to accommodate. I originally was going to post my daily typical meal plan, but decided not to because I didn’t want to trigger anyone.
It’s true you physically can’t stuff your face on the Band. I’ve had to cut out a lot of choices like bread, some chicken and pork, some pasta, and most fast food. These things rarely move through the band resulting in not so fun regurgitation.
With healthy choices I can eat until my Band feels full and know that food will digest slowly in my Band for about an hour after eating (so I’m constantly getting nutrition on a slow basis instead of all at once).
I hate exercising, by the way. I try to walk a couple miles every few days or more. Or at least do some rigorous yard work to amp my muscles.
Would I ever get the Band taken out? Fat chance! Not only is it a pricey decision, but the Band also ensures a steady weight instead of yo-yo weight. I could not be happier! Remember that the Band is a tool, not the answer. You still have to work at healthy choices and exercising if not more. Whenever I’m at a restaurant, it takes me a little longer to decide on my choice due to how it may “flow” through the Band.
If you think you’ll get the Band and never have to worry about food or exercising you’re misinformed. If anything, it puts you in the driving seat to make mandatory healthy choices from here on out. Just thought I’d share in case you or someone you knew were interested in the process! And as always, consult your medical professional.
Before & After
Author~Sarah A. Miller, MA