Weight Loss

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The sweet spot

I'm a little embarassed to admit this, but I have been reading the ENTIRE archive of Melting Mama's blog lately. (See sidebar for link, or one of the posts below.) Mind you, I have many things I am SUPPOSED to be doing instead, like studying pharmacology and physiology and anesthesia principles. But no, I just get sucked in. I'm totally fascinated. It's funny, almost a year after my surgery, and over a year since I started seriously researching it all (in the fall of 2006), I still read something about WLS every day, be it someone's blog, message boards, or the Yahoo group I subscribed to (Smarter Bandsters--shout out--the only group that really TELLS IT LIKE IT IS and keeps it real and accurate, and won't sugar coat a damn thing, especially when you need your arse kicked a little bit). Anyway, I love Melting Mama, because she is a really funny writer, tells her exact experience without being all navel-gazing about it, and puts in lots of interesting articles and links related to WLS, side effects thereof, other health issues, and whatnot. I came across this interesting link in her blog tonight to the blog of a Texas Lap Band surgeon. He and his partner only do Lap Band surgery, because they feel the safety profile is the best, and because of its adjustability and removability. (Most of us who choose lap band do so for these reasons, and because we don't want to deal with malabsorption issues down the road--that was probably the most important reason for me.)

Here's a great post that I saw in there that perfectly describes my experience:

In the Lap Band what we consider the 'sweet spot' is the ideal fill. If I had to think about a perfect sweet spot I'd have to tell you about a patient. One of our patients was 66 years old when he had his Lap Band surgery. Over the course of the first 9 months he lost over 90 pounds! But he was confused and every time we saw him he would say "Doc my Lap Band must be broken. I don't feel restriction, I can eat what I want, and I never have food come back up."

That is the perfect sweet spot. The Lap Band was adjusted to the point that he felt control of his hunger and was able to control his eating portion size, but he had no significant restriction preventing him from eating any particular food nor did he ever have any regurgitation of food.

Many people who had lap band surgery find the sweet spot elusive and some people end up with a fill greater than they need because they rely on the Lap Band for restriction rather than hunger control.

If you are having a tough time keeping many foods down or having more than a small number of PBs (productive burps) you might be too tight and need some fluid taken it.

To summarize, the Lap Band is meant to help you with hunger control. By limiting the amount of food you eat with smaller portions, you can reduce your caloric intake, and lose weight.

I often worry, sometimes on this very blog, about my possibly less-than-ideal restriction, because so many people can eat a lot less than me and have vomiting/PB/sliming and all the other common lap band experiences. I have not ever had any of these. In fact, I haven't vomited since having surgery, even 1 time. And I can eat a good 2 cups of food if I'm not careful or if I try. But my hunger has been satisfied ever since about my 3rd fill. I do have to be careful about how much I eat--I have to do some of the work too, I can't rely on the band to do it all. And of course this holds true for food choices as well, and grazing, and head hunger/emotional eating...all things the band can't control. But what this doc describes as the "sweet spot" is exactly where I have been, so I feel better about it all. Oh yeah, and I've lost 50 lbs in 11 months--can't complain about that!

The big breakthrough for me this week is that I have started RUNNING on the treadmill. No one was even chasing me. I have traditionally HATED to run, ever since I was a little kid (and not overweight at all). But I have been feeling the need to intensify my cardio workout a bit, and I already walk at a pretty brisk pace when I'm on the treadmill--about 4.1 mph at a 7% incline, which is pretty fast for my stubby little legs. So the other day I walked for about 15 minutes before doing some running (or jogging) intervals. I ran for 5 minutes, then walked for 5, then ran another 2 minutes, and cooled down by walking. It certainly gets my heartrate up. I did it again today, and ran a total of almost 8 minutes, doing cardio for a total of 43 minutes (I usually shoot for 45-55 minutes, and I do it 5-6 days/week). It's not as horrible as I remember it being in the past. And my weight lifting routine is going pretty well, although today for some reason my arms were pitiful--why?? I just don't know. But it's good to always keep changing the routine up, and keep challenging myself. I never would have expected to be exercising at this level even 4 years ago, the last time I was losing weight, on Weight Watchers.

Another interesting thing, speaking of Weight Watchers. I am lower now than the lowest weight I reached in 2004 after my 13 month WW diet. At the time, when I got to that weight, I was pretty satisfied. I did want to keep going to my goal, but felt pretty good where I was at. This time, I'm not satisfied. I do feel good and I no longer think losing any more weight will significantly improve my appearance, but I definitely want to continue to my goal this time. I don't know if it is because I got close and stopped before, or what, but I think my health and well being will be so much improved if I can just get there--and once I do, maybe set another slightly lower goal. I've wondered about that numerous times on this blog, where my real goal should be, so I'll just leave it at that tonight and go do some homework.

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