I came across 2 different blogs yesterday that I had never seen before, just from checking out different blogs lists from people that I already follow. Well I came across several new ones actually, but 2 of them were women who had the lapband. I read where both of these women were regretting and second-guessing their choice.
They talked about how they had done all of the necessary research ahead of time, talked to doctor after doctor, been to classes, fully understood the risks of the surgery, and decided this was the tool they would use to lose their weight. But for some reason, what escaped both of them, is that the band does absolutely nothing to change your mind frame, your thoughts on overeating, or the desire to binge. They mentioned how they still had furious thoughts of overeating that were driving them crazy, almost to the point of being truly depressed over their decision. They could no longer have many of their favorite foods, even in a moderate amount, because the band just won't allow it w/o causing major sickness or internal injury. They also talked about all of the uncomfortable side affects that come with living with the band...not life-threatening, but just not pleasant, like constant gas and digestive issues, etc. One woman mentioned how she had to have hers remove to have a "fill" done (not sure what this means, maybe they loosen up over time?)...and she was absolutely frantic that she would go nuts and eat everything in sight and gain 100 lbs. before she could get her band put back in.
No, the band doesn't change anything on the mental level. It does nothing for self-discipline and it doesn't calm those raging food thoughts that come with overeating. It doesn't cure a food addiciton. The mental work still has to be done on your own, whether you have a band or not. I read on another blog a while back where they said, "The problem is not with your stomach...it's with your brain. And they don't make a lapband for the brain." Amen.
I am one of those people that considered either a lapband or gastric bypass surgery to lose my weight. I read a lot about it...understood the classes you had to take ahead of time, the waiting period involed, the risks of the surgery, etc. I asked friends what they thought....they all said they stand behind whatever decision I made, but that it was a personal one. I asked my roommate at the time, Shane. He said don't do it. I asked my boyfriend Dwayne...he said don't do it...one of the things he mentioned was the MAJOR loose skin issues I'd have if I lost too quickly (but aesthetics weren't a good enough reason to me to not do it). I was feeling helpless and hopeless and like this was the only way out of the fat hell I was living in. I had gotten a lot of opinions but somehow they just didn't seem good enough. I didn't feel settled with the advice I had been given.
I couldn't quite get comfortable with the thought of having this surgery. No matter how much info I had gathered or how many opinions I had solicited...it just didn't feel like the right way. It didn't feel like I'd be putting in the work to get this weight off, and I wouldn't have that sense of satisfaction after losing it, if I didn't do it all by myself w/o the use of a tool like a band. But still...that sense of hopelessness was overpowering and I was scared that maybe I really couldn't do it on my own. I needed one more opinion....the ultimate one...the one that I would value above all others.
I called my one and only hero....my Dad.
I told him my thoughts on using the surgery to lose the weight. I pointed out that I was in my 30's...had a lot of health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) and if I hadn't lost the weight by now, I didn't think I had it in me to get it done on my own. I told him I thought I might need to have the surgery just because of the health problems...the clock was ticking and I didn't want to die early. He told me not to do it. First off, he said that he didn't want to see me have any surgery that wasn't directly related to saving my life..in other words, an unnecessary one. And I wasn't at death's door just yet. But what he told me next is really what sealed the deal. He told me that he believed I could lose it on my own.
He said he believed in me.
Boy. Brings me to tears again now just like it did that day. He explained that he knew what a struggle it was....reminding me that he's battled with it himself through the years, and he KNEW how hard it was to get to and stay at a normal weight. But it wasn't impossible...it wasn't out of my reach. I listened through my tears...telling him it was just. so. hard. He sympathized...he told me he knew....but that I could do it. He knew I would get it done one of these days. And that was that. No surgery for me...I was going to do it on my own.
I didn't start that day, but I did finally get started a few months later...June of '09 as a matter of fact...the day I started my blog. I haven't lost a lot in total since I started over a year ago, but I sure have learned a lot. And through my learning, thanks to Blogland, I have now developed the belief that yes, I can do this. It's still a struggle, no doubt....but it no longer seems like an impossibility. I know that I will get there one day, and I like knowing that I've worked through so much of the mental crap that brought me to morbid obesity in the first place. I can look back over the last year and see real progress. Where I used to eat at fast food restaurants DAILY, I now hardly ever visit them....it's an out of the ordinary situation, not a daily ritual. I've also gone several months now w/o a binge, where a binge used to happen 2-3 times a month. When I first started I walked a 15 minute mile and thought I would fall over dead from exhaustion and possibly a heart attack. Since then I've been on several hikes, one of them 5 miles....and been on 4-6 mile walks around the track at the park multiple times. When I first started, I lasted a total of 30 seconds on the elliptical...no joke. I can now last 30 mins on that beast. I don't like it...but I can do it.
If you're considering the lapband as an option to lose your weight, I'd ask you to consider every aspect....especially the mental one. There's a whole lot more to this weight loss business than just physically shrinking the size of your stomach. I'd say a good 80% of the work has to be done above the shoulders.
Part of my Dad's daily morning ritual is reading my blog. He's seen me struggle here...he's seen me fall off the wagon, roll down the hill and into the ditch. But he's also seen me get back up, each and every time. I get back up because of him...he believes in me...both of my parents do, but more importantly, I now believe in myself. My hope has been restored. Thanks Dad....I love you. :)
3 months ago