Abusing the band

on 7/8/11 10:07 pm, edited 7/8/11 10:14 pm - NY
I have a friend at work that has been banded about 4 years.  She was successful in losing a lot of weight, got down to 140 from 290 and then had to go back up to 150.  Right now she is up about 30 pounds, close to 180 she says.  She had a total unfill because of illness around Thanksgiving, 2010 and stayed unfilled until March, 2011, right around the time I had my surgery.  From the time I have been working with her which is about 6 months now, she has basically eaten what she wanted.  Candy bars, subs, cake, chips, cookies, etc.  She was the one that at one point told me that chicken salad was getting stuck but the snickers bar was going down fine. I asked her, gently, if that wasn't because it was a slider food and she looked at me like I had 4 heads.  Far be it from me to tell a veteran how to eat.

So this past week she goes to the doctor and tells him "I can eat a chicken parm sub, I can eat candy bars, I can eat whatever I want....FILL ME UP."  So she says he fills her.  I asked how much she says "I dont know." I asked how she was feeling.  She said, "I am so full I can barely drink water."  I say to her "is that safe, are you afraid of your band slipping?"  She said "no, it won't slip because I am not eating anything.  I will be on shakes for a while and that's it, the weight will come off."  ~sighs~

I am not going to apologize and say I'm new anymore like I have in the past.  I am over 3 months out and I follow all the band rules.  Perhaps I am even a bit more overzealous in following my rules because I am very aware that one day it's going to be harder then it is now for me.  I just really hate even talking to her because she is really abusing her band, and it frustrates me.  Is this my issue?  No, it's not.  But it just frustrates me!!!

Thanks for listening to a Saturday morning rant.

"Accountability first to yourself, then nobody else matters"

on 7/8/11 10:27 pm
The sad part is Donna that probably wont be the last person you meet that way .  There are several in my support group that way .

They think the more restriction the weight will come off faster which it does for awhile.

People need to understand that you still need will power and self control with this surgery and you cant rely on the band to do all the work and you cant rely on fills to do all the work either .  I have a friend if she eats over a cup of food she runs and gets a fill she wont use no self control no will power nothing and it frustrates me also  .  Just because you can eat over a cup of food dont mean you need to run and get a fill all the time and I tried to explain that to her and it went in one ear and out the other. I dont even discuss it with her anymore.  If her band slips its slips nothing I can do about it . That might sound mean but I'm tired of talking to her about it she is a grown adult its her decision healthy or not healthy .

Me personally, I dont see how anybody would want to live that way .  I want to be as normal as possible with this band and I do live that way , that is the way you are suppose to  live *sigh*

I dont even mess talking to people like that anymore Donna,  I have found out they are not going to listen to you, they have it i their head its okay and nothing you can say is going to change their minds it just ****** you off and them it's not worth it no more .

It's people like that and the people I know that makes the band stats look so bad because they are just plain dumb !!!

Quit Smoking
Starting BMI  52.9  BMI now  44.4        updated  6/6/11

Phyllis C.
on 7/8/11 10:33 pm, edited 7/8/11 11:15 pm
She is a the epitome of why the band is a really bad idea.

Most people who were overweight enough to get WLS have some kind of a food addiction or eating disorder, whatever you want to call it.

Not only is it possible to eat around the band, it is more comfortable and quite the natural thing for some food addicts to slip back into.  The band doesn't take away the drive to eat.  It may take away the ability to eat the healthy things one needs to eat to lose weight and stay healthy.

At one point she may get the incentive to go back to following band rules and the ability to do so because she lost a lot of weight in the beginning.  Some setbacks put her back on the wrong course and she went with the path of least resistance.  Now she has resorted to the only way she can comply at all by making her band so tight she can only drink liquids.

I hope she will get an unfill and try to work with the band and not fight it.  It isn't easy.  Her band may not slip, but she is still setting her self up for damage to her stomach and poor nutrition.

Try to step back and keep focusing on your own experience.  She  may be "abusing her band" as you put it, but the band can also be very abusive.  It is very sad what people will put themselves through to lose weight.

Good luck to you and hopefully your friend can be inspired by your example, but maybe not.

"Me agreeing with you doesn't preclude you from being a deviant."

Bette B.
on 7/8/11 11:06 pm
FYI - 3 months out, you are still "new." As someone who has been out a lot of years, I can tell you that once you've lost a lot of your weight and are more in maintenance mode, it's not as "fun" anymore. People don't notice that you're losing weight anymore, and that excitement is gone. When you get on the scale, the numbers aren't going down anymore, so you lose that bit of excitement. It's very easy to lose focus. And yes, when *I* was three months out, I was totally dedicated to following the rules to the letter. I did everything right. Never snacked, exercised 3 times a week, blah blah blah. After a couple of years, things change. Your day-to-day life gets in the way. Or, in my current case, you lose your job, your husband loses his job, the stress is everywhere and you're home all day with nothing to do and a kitchen full of food staring at you. Food: our "drug of choice." Our "go-to guy" when things get tough.

Don't get me wrong - it's still great to have lost the weight, but "the thrill is gone" and, for me, it got boring and much, much harder. You actually need to be eating more food, because you now need to maintain and the focus is not so much on losing. You have to go from eating 800-1000 calories a day to eating 1500-2000, depending on your height, activity level, etc. And it is a VERY fine line between eating enough to maintain and eating too much. With an UNFILL, it gets even worse because a lot of times you can feel like you don't have a band at all -- you're back to "bandster hell.".

If you haven't conquered your eating issues - and I will be the first to admit that I still haven't - you can run into the same problems you had prior to your surgery. If your reaction to stress is still to eat, you can easily eat too much in general, eat the wrong foods or simply fall back into the habit of grazing. Remember that this can happen to ANY of us, regardless of what surgery we've had.

You may want to cut your friend some slack and give her some support, because it is certainly possible that you may find yourself in a similar situation in a couple of years. It's possible. We all say "I will never go back there" again when we're fairly new to the process. Never say never.

Remind her of how far she's come and how well she's done. If she's got one, she needs to get to a support group.

Tell her that her surgeon is an asshole for letting HER decide how much fill she wants, and that she may be doing herself and her band actual harm by keeping it to tight.

That's all you can do. After than, she'll either sink or swim on her on behavior.


Banded 10 years & maintaining my weight loss!! Any questions, message me.

on 7/8/11 11:42 pm - Clearwater, FL
So true! when the "thrill is gone" we go back... is that what not what has happened after every diet or weight loss in the past... Lord help me re-band my brain when I get my lapband... IT needs re-wiring! My surgeon, Dr Aguila, wrote a book, why can't I lose weight and he talks about all the emotional thinking that needs fixing to make this all work.
on 7/10/11 2:39 am - Rio Rancho, NM
VSG on 04/03/12
Love this post, Bette!!!  I can SO relate!!

  LapBand Surgery 01/10/08, Revison to Sleeve 04/03/12

Lisa O.
on 7/9/11 12:15 am - Snoqualmie, WA
Bette speaks the truth!  There's not much left for me to add except that I have been your friend and on occasion still participate in that kind of destructive behavior.  I don't keep my band so tight becuase I've learned that it's only a short term solution to a long term problem, (and it can be dangerous!)

For me, I knew that therapy would have to be part of my WL journey at some point along the way because I need to work on the the emotional eating that is the core of my obesity.  I started a year after being banded and it has helped.  I still turn to food on occasion for emotional comfort, but not nearly as often as I have in the past and my band helps me control the amount of food, (and damage) I can do during these times.

Recapturing the motivation that we have during the first year post op is really hard, in fact, it's impossible.  Today I've found new ways to get motivation and one of them was to become a support group leader myself.  At some point you have to find something new to give that same "high" that you get when the scale is dropping rapidly and people are praising your efforts daily.  Some turn to exercise and running marathons, others pick up new hobbies. 

I totally relate to your friend.  I guarentee you, she's probably disgusted with herself, so try to be supportive and understanding.  In the end only she can make the decision to save herself and seek the help she needs.

I don't mean to sound grim, but I think many of us on this forum can relate to your friend.  It's not impossible to overcome but it requires constant vigilence and hard work.

I still have absolutely no regrets!  I'm willing to do the work to keep my new life!!

Lisa O.

Lap Band surgery Nov. 2008, SW 335. Lost 116 lbs.  LB removal May 2013 gained 53 lbs. Revisied to RNY October 14, 2013, new SW 275.



on 7/9/11 1:17 am - West Hartford, CT
Okay.  Been there.  Done that.  Not entirely, but I did begin to eat around the band a little over a year out when I began to have problems and Barnes and Nobles sugar shortbread cookies (so yumjmy) went down, but not much of anything else did.  I spent months having a little taken  out, a little taken out and a little taken out.  One weekend I could only get ice cream down, no****er.  Finally, I had a total unfill for a couple of months.  I didn't recover my momentum for over two years after that.  I tried to get a fill back up to the point I had originally gotten to and couldn't.  I had a number of injuries and a bunch of surgeries and couldn't exercise.  Now, finally I'm at 5 cc.  I have to eat differently.  The band doesn't keep me from eating more than three bites of a dessert.  I have to do that.  Actually, I've only had dessert once at our 4th of July get together when I got my once yearly piece of my mother's strawberry rhubarb pie. The enxt night I had a Greek yogurt for supper to help make up for it.  I don't have to eat pea-sized bites and chew, chew, chew.  I can eat slightly larger bites and I do chew more than the average bear, but not as much as the average bandster.  But I'm noticing that I'm satisfied, rather than that I'm stuffed full. And that is ultimately safer.
So I'm working away at all the pounds that I gained back and hoping and praying that I can keep putting one foot in front of the other, rather than falling off into bad habits.

on 7/9/11 5:22 am - RI
VSG on 07/10/12
Sadly, you just have to ignore people like that. Talking to them does no good. I have a close relative who does almost the same things, except she lives her life on shakes and protein bars. Then eats junk and throws up. Says she has a "nervous stomach".
As has been stated in other posts, there's nothing to be done except save your breath.
The bottom line is that without going on a real diet under supervision, people will get into trouble.
I went to see my doc recently who said he has many patients that have these behaviors and they are unhealthy for the band. Maybe these patients needed better counseling before being banded. Maybe another WLS would have worked better.
Whatever the case, the band is a fickle witch as another poster put it and can change on you at any time for any reason. We need to live with it as best we can, and try to ignore those who aren't dealing with it the same way we are.
It's hard, I know, but for your own good, you are better off.
Good luck!
on 7/9/11 7:51 am - FL
Thanks for all the posts! Sometimes I feel a little down and it helps to know I'm not alone with my band!

CHERISH Yesterday, DREAM Tomorrow, LIVE Today!
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