Christin Jobst Overton posted this
Lessons Learned On My 8 ½ Year (And Counting) Band Journey
Lessons Learned On My 8 ½ Year (And Counting) Band Journey Christin Overton – June 2011 1) Don’t drink during meals, even water, it washes the food through faster and you eat more than you should.
2) Worry about what is on your own plate n...ot someone else’s. Focus on eating as slow as you need to to do what you have to do even. Don't let someone else who eats fast push you to eat faster or make you feel like you should take another helping if they do.
3) Protein first, then complex carbs, if you have room for anything after that it won’t be much!
4) Get smaller and pretty plates, so that even if you are only eating a little of something, the presentation is wonderful to look at! (And the smaller plate makes the portion look “larger”. J )
5) No liquid calories it is SO easy to lose count of them! Focus on real food and you will be amazed at how much more you lose.
6) Plateaus happen. Your body will need phases where it has to take downtime from losing and get itself organized; often you do not lose pounds but lose inches (some call it “compacting”) and contrary to popular belief eventually the really do end.
7) Gurgling and whacky noises happen especially the first 2 years or so – your body has to get used to a new way of digesting and getting rid of extra air in your stomach. Your stomach went from a straight tube to an hourglass; it needs time to sort it out. But it will!
8) Stay away from sodas and fizzy things for most of he first year, even lattes can cause extra pain due to air built up below where the food is.
9) GasX is your friend but take it BEFORE you eat to be most effective if you have problems with air build-up.
10) Chew, chew, chew and chew some more.
11) If you chew for a while and it does not seem to be getting smaller, if you swallow it will hurt and come back up. So just spit it out to save yourself the problem.
12) Eat the good stuff – don’t waste the limited space on junk food or low quality stuff. If you can only eat a little make it delicious!
13) If you cannot eat much for a few days don’t stress it too much, it happens. If you cannot drink for a few days, get yourself to your doctor immediately!
14) Every fill is a new learning experience and is often VERY different from the last. Go into your fill thinking this is a new learning experience and I need to figure out how this one might be a bit different from the last and give yourself time to figure it out.
15) Get regular fills and smaller ones instead of one massive one. I have heard of too many folks going for large fills to “save money” but in the end the unfill and the pain caused is far more costly.
16) If you get a cold know that the coughing can cause your band to get irritated and can even cause a slip if it is severe enough. Take cough medicine! If over the counter stuff does not work, talk to your primary care doctor, they have great solutions.
17) Warm liquids relax the band so if it is really tight a cup of warm tea (no milk products as they can cause phlegm) can really help.
18) Take gel cap pills one at a time with warm liquids, it helps them melt faster! Wait a little bit between each one to prevent the “gel” from causing them to stick together.
19) Don’t forget the exercise, even if it is just walking around the block once or twice a day. You need to get moving to get losing!
20) You will have set backs! Often the best learned lesson is the one you have to experience a few times so live it, learn it and move on.
21) The band fixes nothing about the issues that made you heavy. It is a tool; you are the wielder, work to master it and you will succeed.
22) If you get down about how much you have lost and start thinking “I have ONLY lost 10 pounds”. The next time you are in the grocery store, grab 2 5 pounds bags of sugar and walk up and down an aisle with them. It will give you a little perspective on your progress.
23) Weight loss with the band does not JUST happen to most; you have to do the work. Commit to it and the changes needed and you will make progress.
24) The first year or two will be ALL the band’s affect on your life and learning what that means, after a while it will get back to you living life with the band. Give it time.
25) Work with the cycles the band dictates not against it. If you cannot eat in the morning, have a protein shake then have your meals a bit later in the day. No one ever said breakfast had to be at 8AM or else!
26) Things get stuck. It hurts but it is part of the learning process. Figure out what types of food cause it more often, how much to chew so it does not, or if you were eating too fast, then change that behavior.
27) Slow down how fast you eat. You will be amazed at how much this reduces what gets stuck, how much air you swallow while you eat and how much faster you will learn when your band says “You ARE full!”
28) Don’t eat 2-3 hours before bedtime; you will reduce issues with acid reflux and food coming back up while you are lying down.
29) Some months you will lose nothing, some months you will lose a bunch, it is your body’s way of learning the process and this process is new. No baby learned to walk in a day, don’t expect your body to learn these new tricks in a day, a month or even a year. Keep practicing!
30) DON’T compare your band journey to anyone else’s. Learn from their lessons, share the experiences, but do not compare pounds to pounds how much and how fast for a measure of success, each pound you lose is a success. Each pound you keep off a triumph! 31) Give yourself permission to NOT finish food and to throw it away if needed.
32) It is called the ADJUSTABLE gastric band - one size does NOT fit all! It is about the process of getting it adjusted to fit you and your weight loss needs no one else’s
33) Get smaller utensils, plates, cups, bowls, it will make it seem less like you are “missing out” as they will be more full with your new portion size and the smaller utensils make it harder to put more in your mouth!
34) Don’t snack and drive. Stop and eat real meals.
35) Listen for full signals – sigh, burp, hiccups, tightness, pain, feeling the need to vomit, pressure often at the back of your throat. Often a deep sigh is actually the first sign of fullness and can happen a while before any of the other signs above. Stop eating at the first hint of fullness.
36) Learn when you are really physically hungry – distinguish between head, mouth, stomach hunger but it sometimes seems like the same thing. Often there are different things that trigger each type. Learn what they are.
37) Learn to listen to your body’s new signals, signs and rhythms. Full will be different, hungry may be different, even thirsty can feel different. Listen and learn them for better transitions during fills.
38) It is not about what time you stop eating it is often about how long before you lie down after eating. Because the band slows down how fast things go through and it is different for all of us you need to figure out how long food stays on the upper side of the band before you can lie down to prevent reflux.
39) Keep a journal as you are learning to live with your band. What you ate, how much, how it felt, how you reacted, all will help you learn what your unique needs are and what to do or avoid.
40) The band is about helping you make good choices not taking all of the joy out of food. Once you are at goal being smart about those choices helps you stay there.
41) Many things will affect how your band behaves, body cycles, medications, surgery, allergies, flying, heat, cold, being sick, mornings, nights, summer, winter, sometimes you will eat a lot less and others you will eat more the most important thing is to identify which ones affect you!
42) Do this for you and no one else. Someone else might inspire you, encourage you, but do it because you want to not because they want you too.
43) Enjoy every victory – it is never a “JUST!” Everything you can do again or even for the first time in your life is a victory so own it!
44) Educate your primary care doctor about your band and your challenges with taking medications, they can help will alternatives!
45) You do not have much if any stomach acid above your band, it is why you need to chew, chew, chew to help the food along. If you remember that it makes it a lot easier to remember that you have to do a bit of extra work with chewing to help things along.
46) Your band journey is a great opportunity to try new foods, just because you lose a few old favorites does not mean you cannot discover some new ones!
47) Read food labels. You do not get to eat much these days so read the labels and you will quickly find foods with the protein and other good things your body needs and deserves.
48) It never tastes as good as being thin and healthy feels.
49) Learn what it means to be banded even if you thought you KNEW it before. Knowing about this tool, how it works, how to make it work and its limitations will give you the power and control to use it!
50) The band bands your stomach not your brain, your attitudes, your fears, your mouth or your bad habits. You have to do work to get through the issues that got you where you are as you work with the band to get to the best you you can be in body, mind and spirit.
51) The foods most likely to get stuck are those that are gummy or when squished in your hand form into a shape rather than “slide right through your fingers”. A few examples, white bread, rice, bananas, some cheeses, potatoes, potato chips, etc.
52) Introduce new foods to your band in small quantities; it is hard to know how your band will react so go slow.
53) Keep something handy in case you get something stuck at an inopportune time – it WILL happen. Travels size packages of plastic shopping bags are great to slip in a glove compartment, carry-on, purse, or backpack. You might not use them often but they sure are nice when you need them!
54) As you lose weight your body is going to take some time to adjust – you are losing both your insulation and your padding. EXPECT to be cold, to get more bruises on muscles that are not so tough, and a sore tush when you sit on hard surfaces!
55) You will go through a lot of clothes on your way to a smaller self. Find other bandsters to swap clothing with and check out your thrift stores, you can get amazing clothes with a little practice and save your money for the awesome new wardrobe you will not have to replace!
56) Don’t forget your shoes! As you lose weight you will also lose weight in your feet so you might find that your shoes get very sloppy and loose, this can cause you to really hurt yourself so keep an eye on them!
57) Drink lots of water. As you lose weight you also release a lot of toxics that have been held in “fat storage” for a long time. Water will help you rid yourself of them as you are losing.
58) See your band doctor regularly and if you do not have a good one, make an effort to find someone else that can help. It might be a challenge but having a doctor who believes in you and the band is one of the keys to your weight loss success.
59) Losing weight can really change how people around you treat you and for some reason knowing that you are “not doing it yourself” causes others to react even stronger (positive and negative). Your success can threaten, scare, please, encourage, those around you. Do not take it personal and don’t let the pressure of another’s issues divert you from your path or convince you you made the wrong choice.
60) This is your journey, your choice, your success. It is not a race, it is not a contest, it is about you and how you get to where you want to want to be, each step is an opportunity to lose weight and old baggage as you move in that direction.
61) Get help from where ever it comes if it helps to keep you on the right path, whether it be personal, professional, individual, group, in-person or virtual, find the support you need and lean on it when things get tough!
62) Anything can get stuck or cause PBing if you do not chew enough or eat too much of a soft food, even things like ice cream!
63) Watch out for leafy greens especially when they are cooked. Life leaves in the fall they usually do not cause much issue but in the wrong situation, ow! They can act much like a leaf over a drain and really cause things to hold and hurt until it corrects itself.
64) One of the worst times of the day can be the morning because a bunch of mucus, spit, etc. that drains to your stomach while you sleep can get thick and cause issues in the morning. I call it “morning sludge.” Does not happen to everyone but that is one of the reasons a hot beverage in the morning really helps to break it up.
65) The “dangerous” foods are the ones you do not think will get stuck… softer foods but experience has shown that it is actually harder to tell if you did a good job chewing them up because they are softer. No getting lazy on the chewing just because it seems like a soft food!