Weight Loss

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Friday, October 9, 2009

The Lessons of the Band: 3 1/2 years later

The Click samples have gone out, and hopefully all the winners have received them by now. I was surprised by how hard it was to mail them. We used to have a post office outlet about 3 blocks from our house, but it has closed. We had to pick up a package at the postal hub last weekend, so we thought I could mail the packages from there...but no, the postal hub doesn't accept outgoing packages! WTH?? I finally found a post office that was open at reasonable hours, but it was surprisingly difficult in the age of Google. Anyway, I am glad that they have gone out, and hopefully others like the stuff as much as I do.

I am happy to report that my latest fill seems to be a good one, and seems to be staying put. If I follow my own rules and don't eat unless I am actually physically hungry, I can eat very reasonable portions (small end of normal) and stay satisfied for a long time. And I've lost about 4 pounds. But it still definitely requires me to be mindful of what and when I eat. I have impulses to eat for reasons other than hunger several times a day, and I have to consciously stop and determine if I am physically hungry and if there is something else that would satisfy me more, like doing something fun, talking to someone, or just getting out of the house. In other words, the band still isn't magic, even though I am at probably the best level of "restriction" I've had in 2 years.

I haven't had anything get stuck, or had any reflux, vomiting, or sliming. In other words, still none of the most common problems that people with the band complain of. I still haven't found a food that I physically can't eat because of the band. Some people like to use those things to help with their behavior modification. I can't really speak to that, because I've never experienced it. What I can speak to is my own experience, and that is that at the end of the day, most of this is the same mental work and energy that I experienced when trying to lose weight without the band. Only now I'm not physically hungry, which is exactly what the band is supposed to accomplish.

I knew in my brain that like a lot of other people, I ate for reasons other than hunger. But until my surgery, I didn't really get how significant that was, and you know what? I don't know that I ever would have, without surgery. I used to have a terrible hunger, and I was scared of feeling it. I was terrified that I would be suddenly hungry in a place where I couldn't eat, so I would eat "pre-emptively." Hunger truly was a significant factor in my difficulty losing weight and maintaining weight loss.

But it definitely wasn't all of the battle, or even close. I can see that now, as every evening I come home from a stressful day in the OR and start scavanging for something to eat. If I can get myself to stop and evaluate, usually I find that I'm not hungry, just looking for stress relief or comfort. Sometimes I am actually hungry, and in that case, I go ahead and eat something, but try to make it some sort of protein. If I don't stop and do a self-check first, I can often find myself in the midst of eating quite a bit of food (for a bandster) before I realize what I'm doing. And sometimes, not infrequently, I am conscious of the fact that I crave something specific--usually sweet--without being the least bit hungry. Sometimes I can talk myself out of it or distract myself. Other times, if I've tried for a long time but am still obsessed with it, I will just have it--a small portion--and be done with it. At least then it is a conscious decision, not soothing an impulse.

I hope to get to goal, but even if I get back to where I was at the beginning of the year (11 more pounds) and without the incredible stress that brought me to that point, I will be happy. It is certainly a lot easier to keep my eye on my goal when my hunger is tamped down with a good fill. And it's good to know that even after being "off the wagon" for several months, I can get back to a good fill level and lose again.


Anonymous said...

I did receive the Click samples and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Thanks so much for all the trouble (and it sure sounded like trouble, alright!)

Get so excited everytime I visit and find a new post. Keep up the great work and hopefully we'll both get to where we want to be!

Diz said...

So true. I too had the never-ending hunger, but once that was eliminated (Thank you God..and band) it forced me to really look at why and when. I had to figure out my triggers and know when they were kicking in. That is the hardest part for me...being honest with myself as to why I want to shove triple fudge ice cream down my throat and stop myself from doing it. Taking back my control. I'm glad you posted this, because it affirms that this is a lifelong journey, not a destination.

Dinnerland said...

What a great post!! Wow, you must be proud of yourself-- you have many terrific insights, and you are very realistic about the band and what it can and cannot do.
You sound empowered in this post, and you will be successful, I can just tell from reading. Please keep posting when you can. I am glad your band is working as a great tool...