It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canadia which is always a challenging time for this luscious lapband patient. It’s a weekend of alcohol overindulgence and too much turkey.
For the past 3+ years since I had my surgery, any kind of turkey day has always been the source of some dismay. I can never quite get through a Thanksgiving (or Christmas) dinner featuring the famous foul without finding myself sharing half my harvest-celebration dinner with the porcelain gods.
Well, I’m happy to report that not one bite of my fancy feast with fabulous friends yesterday, or my family today, was sacrificed in the satisfying of this appetite. What was the source of my success in holding down the dinner I hold so dear? Chewing. Lots of chewing. Very, very slowly. I was also very conservative in the quantity of turkey that was piled on my plate.
The secret for me this year really is that I kept my limits in mind and stopped when I felt even slightly full. Granted, I’m a touch on the hungry side right now but I’d much rather be hungry before bed than suffering from the dreaded gastric reflux! Score one PB-Free feast for this lapbandster!
Well, it’s been a very long time since the last time I posted an update on my Slimband journey. I’m afraid this one’s not a good one.
I’ve almost reached the 2 year mark since I had my surgery and I honestly couldn’t regret it more. I’d like to think it does work for some people but what it doesn’t do is anything other than cost me money and sometimes make me barf. I shell out a whopping $389 per month to Slimband and all I’ve lost since the day I started solids is 10lbs. That’s right, 15 lbs in 2 years. How’s that for a disappointment? But I made a choice. It just happens to have been a bad one. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Some people may be wondering how I went from being a total band evangelist to a cautiously optimistic Slimband story-teller. It’s simple, really. I truly believe (today) that the only reason I lost any weight at all was because I’ve chosen to eat less and I’ve consciously made better food choices. The Slimband nurses would say that’s a good thing. But if I could always make the best food choices I probably wouldn’t need a Slimband in the first place, would I?
I tried though. I tried really hard for a while. Recently, I even went to the trouble of trying to photograph every meal I ate so I could see where I was eating poorly.
But, like I always do, I got bored of the whole thing. I got bored of researching band-friendly recipes, tips on how to get all the nutrients I need and looking forward to next year when I’ll fit into THAT dress again. It’s infuriating, devastating and humiliating. I literally have to consider the impacts of every morsel I put into my mouth. And every time I eat something unhealthy, I’ve made a choice to do so. Sadly, giving a tasty temptation some seriously thought does nothing to stop me from scarfing it down because disappointing myself has never been something I’ve shied away from.
I’ve barfed because I didn’t chew properly and I’ve barfed because I ate something I shouldn’t have but even when I eat a lot of the good stuff like most fruit and vegetables, I barf that up too. Aside from mixed salad, I can really only eat over-cooked vegetables which can be pretty dismal after a while. On top of that, I’m having some teeth trouble which is make it quite difficult to chew to my food. Thus, further limiting the items on the list of foods that will stop me from getting fatter.
The truth is, it’s never really been entirely about food for me when it comes to losing weight. It’s most certainly the source of consolation, celebration and joy for me but it’s not the only reason I am where I am. I’ve certainly gone through periods of time where I’ve eaten poorly but the fact of the matter is, the key to my weight loss success is physical activity AND diet. My Slimband handles the food consumption but I don’t actually move around a heck of a lot. I’ve always known this. Whenever I decide to be more physically active, I always slim down in a jiffy. Then I get bored of that too and every single sweaty pound I’ve lost goes right back on.
Sadly, I know this post might deter some people from getting a Slimband. I honestly hope it does because a Slimband is not the easy way out that people think it is. Whether it’s working or not, it’s very difficult to live with and you only get out of it what you put into it:
It all happens, it’s all real. I don’t owe a lot of success to my Slimband alone. It’s all down to me and my mental efforts. The Slimband doesn’t solve your weight problems. You have to do it for yourself. And I failed. For nearly two years, I failed.
So, now it’s time for me to create my own fat-loss Kickstart despite the limitations that come with having a Slimband. On Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 I went to Crossfit O-Town for my first WOD.
Watch this space for the rest of the story.
Well after a fairly uneventful few months, I’ve finally got something to report about my bandster journey. With less than three weeks left until my 1-year anniversary, 5 fills, 8 ccs and 30lbs later, it is with great regret that I report that I am no longer living in a barf-free zone.
That’s right ladies and gentleman, me and my lap-band managed to control my overeating for nearly a year. Although I’m pleased I lasted this long and it does seem to be a pretty clear indication that I may just be at my sweet spot, it does cause me mental (and physical) discomfort to know that what brought me over the edge was some sub-par chicken tikka masala and naan bread. Um hum. India food. And I didn’t even get to digest it before it made me sick!
So, in the interests of science and in education for fellow bandsters, I’m going to describe what it was like to yack as a result of my lap-band. I feel I must include a disclaimer before I proceed with the gory details though… It’s not for the feint of heart – so be warned!!!
Okay, first things first. I did not overeat. I ate too fast. I ate less than a cup of food. I’ve been able to eat far more than that on average even since my 5th fill a little over two weeks ago, so I’m certain it was a matter of distraction.
It started off with a bit of discomfort. I’ve experienced this before when I’m out and about with friends and I eat without thinking. Sometimes I don’t chew my food well enough and I have to stop eating and have a rest. But the discomfort persisted. I felt a bit of tightness in the chest like the feeling you get when you swallow to avoid choking when someone makes you laugh during dinner. It’s painful but with a normal stomach, the pain will subside when the food moves down toward your esophagus. With a lap-band, not so much.
On the rare occassion I’ve eaten a bit quickly, I tend to stop, take a break and sometimes get up and walk around. I tried that approach and it didn’t work. The food was still stuck. It felt like it was getting worse instead of better…
I then found myself standing in my bathroom taking deep breaths waiting to be sick. The next thing that happened is what I understand to be called ‘sliming’ (not to be confused with slimming!). It’s where your body pushes out the excess saliva you produce to try to push food down your esophagus but it doesn’t go down. Since the food is actually blocking the passage way, you’re esophagus fills with the liquid and overflows. It’s not quite barfing, but you do have to spit it out quickly.
Then came the vomiting. LOOK AWAY NOW if you’re of a weak disposition!!!! What a strange sensation! It didn’t hurt one bit, it was very easy. Just a slight urge which is nothing like what vomiting was like before. The strangest part is what it looked like. I can only liken it to one thing: a lava lamp. It didn’t come up in tiny pieces with liquid. It came out in one weird slimy glop. It almost oozed. I know, I can here your revulsion now. Well, imagine mine!!
Anyway, the important thing is I’m totally fine. I survived and so will you if you find yourself in a similar position. I get a lot of questions about my progress since my updates have slowed significantly and most of them involve this part of the process. Nobody wants to hear that they might be sick if they eat too much. But it’s a fact of life after lap-band surgery. So, do keep that in mind. You CAN avoid it, but you’ve got to chew your food and make good choices. Let’s be honest: the last thing I should be eating is an Indian curry. But next time I do, I’ll definitely chew, chew, chew!!