I got my band November 21, 2009. Pretty quickly I lost 30 pounds, and then it slowed down to where I had “only” lost 75 pounds by last spring, more than a year and-a-half later. Over the summer and fall, I regained 32 pounds of that. I was nearly to “onederland,” and poof, here I was with tighter pants and underwear again.
What went wrong?
Well, one of the realities of having a Lap-Band (and other bariatric surgeries, though I am not familiar with them) is that yes, you CAN re-gain weight. It’s one of those little secrets that few (if any) surgeons tell you. It is not only possible, if you’re not careful, it is also likely.
My weight gain came from stressors that hit during a very hard, hectic semester. I take full responsibility.
I went from exercising five to six days a week to zero, and I made horrible choices and radiated towards sliders (foods that are typically horrible for you that, ironically, slide the easiest through your band). I spent about 16 hours a day either at school, driving to and from school, or doing homework for school, so the most exercise I got on an average day was walking to my bathroom or kitchen. Granted, there was walking across campus, which started getting harder and harder as my body went back to sedentary mode and I gained that weight back.
You see, your band is a tool. I’ve met too many people online who were shocked to realize that they didn’t lose 100 pounds in six months. Not only does that rarely happen, but if you don’t eat right and exercise, you will lose slowly or not at all.
Additionally, the band isn’t meant to do all the work FOR you — it’s there to help you do what you still should be doing: eating well and exercising. The band is not a free-for-all which allows you to eat pizza and McDonalds every night (even in smaller portions) and lose all the weight you want.
I think that information gets lost in the excitement of doing something so drastic and permanent which we believe will be successful. Sometimes it is simply not relayed by your doctors.
And sometimes you may not want to hear it because you focus on the promise some doctors make that you can still eat whatever you want (barring things that WILL get stuck and give you problems). You CAN — but you may not be happy with your results, which leads you to not being happy with your band.
I have a friend who was on a wait list and was then bumped three days before surgery who was mentored by a lot of us who had been banded. She wanted her band, and I KNOW she listened to what we had to share; but it didn’t really hit until she had her band for six months and started experiencing the very things we warned her about. She said she went in with her eyes wide open but STILL felt as if she wasn’t prepared. She didn’t really “get” what we were saying until she experienced it herself.
I hate to alarm any of you, but there are a number of us who have become a tight-knit group of Lap-Band friends, and most of us are struggling in some form or fashion. Many have lost and are still less than they were pre-op, but then their progress stopped — though not at a number they are happy with. We chat every single day, have food and exercise logs to make ourselves accountable to each other, and recipe threads, and still I see everybody struggle.
The fact is, the problem was never IN our stomachs — it was somewhere else within us: Our heads, our hearts, our self-esteem maybe. The band only helps us accomplish the PHYSICAL part of whatever our problem is that got us fat in the first place. It can ONLY control how much food you put in your body; it does NOT choose WHAT you put in your body.
If I were to offer one bit of advice after everything I had to say here, it is to do whatever you need to take care of your head, your heart, or your self-esteem. Whatever got you fat did not get taken out when they put your band in. That issue is still there, and it WILL rear its ugly head somewhere during your journey if you’re not careful.
See a food counselor, see a psychiatrist, make sure you eat well, journal your feelings, journal your food, ensure you get some exercise in your routine, drink plenty of water, find a friend to buddy up with to share how you feel or to be your accountability partner — whatever you need to utilize your tool to its fullest extent.
You may even find that you might have to dump some friends. But that is another story. 🙂