Weight Loss Surgery: A Lifestyle, Not Another Diet

Question Below Submitted By:  

Lap BAND GROUPIE (a patient from The Sweet Spot)

Going to a holiday party

Going to a holiday party

Yes, you can still enjoy food… even holiday food, after WLS (Weight Loss Surgery). I still LOVE food… yes, if it’s possible, even more now, then before WLS.

I remember just three years ago I was at the beginning of my pre-op program during the holidays and I was truly already mourning the loss of food… foods I thought I might never get to eat again. At each holiday event, I was having another “last supper” and secretly saying my fond farewells to all my favorites.

This year? Well, I’m still eating those same foods. Gooey stuffing (that everyone told me I’d never be able to eat with the Band – did you know that how tight you want to keep your Band is also a matter of choice?) is my favorite! I ate it on Thanksgiving and… Every – Single – Day after that, until it was gone.

Now before you scold me and tell me all the horrors of rich stuffing and all the useless carbohydrate-laden calories I wasted, let me tell you a few things. First, I’m not the perfect Bander… never aspired to be.

I only ate a few Tbs. – 1/4 C at a time (Only a mere shadow of my pre-op ‘stuff the stuffing in as fast as possible’ routine) and let me tell you, I savored every bite and was completely satisfied with that amount (no longer having that unquenchable hunger still amazes me!). But I also closely watched whatever else I was eating/drinking those days.

I’m in maintenance, not WL (Weight Loss) mode (I would have still eaten it, but not every day). And key here… it’s been my chosen approach to the Band since the day I got it – I’M NOT ON A DIET!

Lest you start yelling at me that you’ve got the Band and you’re doing well following a Low Carb Diet, or Weight Watchers, or Counting Every Calorie, etc., I’ll tell you ‘Good for you!’, ‘Do whatever works for you, I’m here to cheer you on!’ (and I have many LB friends that follow diets).

I’ve followed all those diets, and more, as well, successfully. Diets ALWAYS worked for me – for awhile – then, well, diets got me obese. The weight ALWAYS came back… with friends.

Deprivation is a recipe for disaster for me. I got the Band for maintenance. I got the Band to KEEP the weight off. I’M NOT ON A DIET! NO food is off-limits, and from the beginning, there is nothing that I can’t/don’t eat (well, maybe liver, and milky coleslaw with raisins, but I don’t like those anyway *shudder*).

NOT dieting means that yes, I lost the weight slower. This method requires more patience, but after an exhausting lifetime of dieting, I was up for it. Yes, I may have had more/longer plateaus than some, but I wasn’t going to do ANYTHING from the beginning that I couldn’t do for the rest of my life… it had to be a lifestyle I could live with forever.

Now, before you take this as your liberty to sit down and eat that whole bag of chips, don’t think that I’ve been eating nothing but junk food and binging on sliders (like ice cream, and your chips, that move quickly through the Band). Let me assure you that I eat healthy most of the time (and lest you think you’re reading between the lines, ‘most’ does NOT mean that every weekend is Thanksgiving).

You HAVE to do your part. I get in enough protein and water, but I still eat whatever my family is eating for dinner (the menu hasn’t changed), I just eat a LOT less of it – about 1C (i.e., ‘taco night’ is now one taco heavy-on-the-meat, instead of my old fiesta of five tacos with 3 helpings of Spanish rice).

This isn’t a license to continue the bad eating habits that got you fat to begin with. The thinner you get, the more those little ‘indulgences’ will impact your WL. That bag of cookies I could eat pre-op and only gain ½ lb. would now make my weight skyrocket.

I had to find ways to not feel deprived without going hog-wild. For example, I’ve had at least one sugar-free chocolate (or a small amount of regular chocolate, sometimes more) every day since I was Banded.

So back to my holiday eating/stuffing… amazingly, I haven’t gained any weight. I was totally prepared to gain a few pounds (that I’d have to then lose) over the holidays. And it’s still a week until Christmas and I have lots of cookies to start making, so place your bets now (have I mentioned I’m a Chocoholic? I’m sure I still have a pound or two in my future, but I’m not worried).

You see, even skinny people indulge a little from time to time, especially over the holidays, that’s life. But, they never gain more than a pound or two (not 10 or 20) without having a plan to get it back off and stay in check. I still use some old tricks (except they actually work now), like making sure I have several good eating days before and after a party one, eating before I go to a party so I won’t be too tempted to over-indulge, or eating only a bite of each thing I want to try. I used to have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality when dieting, now, it’s all about finding a balance.

This totally amazes me. As a former champion yo-yo dieter, I never gained or lost ‘a FEW pounds’. I’ve never been relatively the same weight for more than a few days before WLS.

Now, well, instead of rolling my eyes, I can actually relate when my skinny girlfriends complain about ‘gaining a few pounds over the holidays’… WOW. It can actually be a completely normal thing to gain a few pounds and then lose them (no, not dieting, but just by not indulging). Now, three pounds is enough to make me take notice and get back on track, whereas before, because I felt like I was starving and deprived all the time, it would have been at least 20-30 lbs, or sadly, 100.

Now that the Band does it’s part in taking the hunger away, I can finally do my part. As is the theme of my writing, this journey is ALL about the choices we can make along the way. You have to know what the choices are before you can figure out what works best for you.

As my kids all know, my favorite ‘Momism’ is “Life is about choices and results or consequences”. Every. Single. Day. I make those choices. For me, it’s NOT dieting, but choosing small amounts, of healthy foods… most of the time. It’s a lifestyle I can live with.

You CAN do this!

Related Pages:
Bariatric Diet (What you eat)
Bariatric Eating (How you eat)
Bariatric Vitamins
Life After Weight Loss Surgery
Weight Loss Surgery Support
Life after bariatric surgery – experiences from other patients

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Patient Responses to the Question Above

Whew!!

by: Dannice

This has made me feel so much better!! I just had surgery 1 week ago today but it has been a breeze! But I was worried about the future eating. I had gastric-bypass and am so looking to a life again! Thank you for sharing!

Realistic

by: Charlene

This is the best post to put anyone at ease about WLS. After reading this post I'm no longer afraid of being locked into a bland and unhappy way of eating for the rest of my life. I'm not terribly huge but I can't seem to stop the pounds from coming on as I age. I'm now 63 years old and want a permanent way to control the portion size I eat to feel satisfied. I hope to be approved by Medicare to have the surgery.

100% agree!

by: Diane

Well spoken...that sums it up for me too...no more diets just portion control...I LOVE my Lap Band!

Well said!!

by: julie

I agree with everything you said. I also lost weight slowly while I had my band because I saw it as a lifestyle, not ANOTHER diet. You look great!!!

Lifestyle

by: Yvonne McCarthy

Great post and let me say that you are so beautiful and I'm so pleased for you that your outside matches the inside. You can see a glow in your eyes and there's no doubt you are well on your way on your chosen path. Congrats!! Yvonne

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