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Friday, July 9, 2010

Lap-band basics

I have some new followers and it seems there are a bunch of newbies in Bandland so I thought I would invite the rest of us (the "old-bies") to share some wisdom. I have found myself making comments on some posts of late and saying essentially the same things. Which is probably more of a reflection on me than on others, but here we go anyway, in no particular order:

1) I believe that the lap-band works because it encourages behavior that mimics so-called "normal" eating behavior. Specifically the lap-band requires one to BE MINDFUL while eating, TAKE SMALL BITES, CHEW THOROUGHLY and EAT SLOWLY.

2) Diets don't work, at least not for me. I have heard that somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% of all diets FAIL. I bet that figure is higher for the obese. Most people assume that it is the dieter that fails, but I don't believe that. I think the entire system is flawed to begin with. Naturally thin people don't diet. They eat what they want, in moderation. They eat when they are hungry. They stop when they are full. Some of them exercise and some do not.

3) Diets make people gain weight in the long-term. We have all experienced this. Statistically most people who diet and lose weight eventually re-gain that weight. And then some. One could even make the argument that if your ultimate goal is to make someone obese, you should put them on a diet.

4) There are no such things as "good" foods and "bad" foods. Yes, some foods carry greater nutrition than others. But food just is. We are the ones who identify it as "good" or "bad" and think, "I shouldn't be eating this." or "Man, I should ONLY be eating this." The funny thing about humans is that we have a tendency to covet that which is forbidden. From Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to me on my last diet longing for a bowl of Cherry Garcia Ben & Jerry's (and every illicit love affair, corrupt politician and heist both big and small in between), mankind has wanted what it could not have.

Which is not to suggest that we should eat whatever we want all the time. No one can do that except maybe teenage boys, but the best, most healthful diet, is one of moderation.

5) Satisfaction is really important. I ate food for 20 years of my life and NEVER allowed myself to truly enjoy it. I ate as much as I could until my brain started shouting at me that I was a pig and then I stopped. I was never satisfied, never had "enough", because food and eating were about shame and frustration and defiance, not about nourishing my body.

6) We have to reclaim the innate ability to recognize hunger and satiety. Every baby is born knowing when they are hungry and when they are full. Very quickly the rest of the world becomes involved in attempting to change how those things are perceived. Parents want the baby on a feeding schedule for their convenience. Children that cling to their innate sense are labeled "picky eaters". We don't celebrate that they recognize that their hunger is satisfied by a tablespoon or two of food. Instead we lament that they are hungry every hour and try to get them to eat more at mealtimes. We teach our children to eat in a certain way. This happens to every child, thin or fat. But to those who eventually grow up to have a weight problem, something else occurs. At some point, either external or internal forces cause that person to believe that they need a diet to tell them what and when and how much to eat. But what we really needed was to learn how to eat according to the needs of our body. The diet actually makes it worse because it teaches us that we require some external force (the diet) to tell us these things. We become further alienated from our internal sense of hunger and satiety. Eventually eating becomes about everything but hunger and satiety. It is about soothing jagged emotions or entertaining ourselves when bored, but not about nourishing our bodies. And the thing is that if you are eating for any reason other than nourishing your body, it is nearly impossible to become satisfied. So we keep eating.

As you can probably tell, I am really passionate about these issues. I hate that we live in a world that says that if you aren't thin, you are a second-class citizen. I hate that my own self-esteem is wrapped up in these same ideals. I hate that I walk into a room and size myself up against the other fatties and that I read posts from Bandsters who started smaller than I was at the beginning and I judge them for it. But I don't regret that it took the lap-band for me to begin coming to grips with all of this stuff. Much of it I knew before I was banded, but I couldn't figure out how to implement it in my life. To me the idea of quitting dieting was an excuse to binge. I believed all foods were equally valid, were "good", but I couldn't get the hang of the moderation part of it. I needed the lap-band to teach me to mimic the naturally thin behaviors that I listed in #1.

So please, for the newbies and the old-bies, share your wisdom. You don't have to have a lap-band to participate. An opinion and a brain will suffice.

25 comments:

tessierose said...

Amanda, you are wise beyond your years. I am always amazed by your ability to articulate the struggles that so many of us endure. I so identify with all of these points, especially the "good" food, "bad" food. I have spent so much of my life feeling guilty and ashamed of my relationship with food. The band really has been such a gift. I can't say that I have the kind of relationship with food that I aspire to have, but it is getting much better. Everyday, I feel like I have regained a bit of dignity, I know that sounds odd, but I don't know how else to put it. Thank you Amanda!

-Grace- said...

I love this post, Amanda! Thanks for sharing!

CHRISTINE said...

Thank you so much for your wisdom. I am 8 weeks banded and I learn something new everyday about this band journy.

kagead said...

Amazing post. Just brilliant. One that needs to be repeated and shared on a regular basis.

I know I'll be bookmarking this page...

Jen from Oregon said...

Amazing Post!

Amy said...

Gold star for me on this one! Great info, and it should be required reading for anyone even thinking about getting a lap-band!

Miss Vickie "The Queen Bee" said...

Very nice post. Thank you!

Barbara said...

Great insight Amanda.. I particularly liked #3.. if you want to make someone obese .. put them on a diet.. how true!

Island Bandit said...

thanks for this post Amanda. I'm a newbie and am like a sponge soaking it all in. I can totally relate to scarfing down food to the point of being sick and really not taking the time to actually enjoy it and the feeling it can bring of satisfaction.

Drazil said...

Good post - you're so sweet to help everyone.

karen said...

I'm a newbie and I heart you. Thank you - for everything you said is absolute truth. Thanks for passing on your wisdom - I'm gonna need it.

Cindylew said...

Awesome post...loved every word.

Kristin said...

I was just thinking today that I feel so free from the mental torment of, "I shouldn't be eating this," or, "I need to start dieting. Tomorrow."

Great post.

Tina said...

way to write it Amanda--I agree with everything you said.

Tina

Carmen said...

GREAT post amanda!! i'm going to save it and refer back to it time to time...right now i really need to revist the mindful eating, slow chewing issue :-(

Sherry said...

Yep. Great post.

Bonnie said...

Great post. Makes me even happier that I had my surgery yesterday and can start the journey of working this band.

Amaris said...

GREAT post! I'm looking forward to a last August band date, so I'm soaking myself in information. This post sums up, so well, many things I already believe (but as you say, have trouble implementing into my life). I'll be referring to it again and again!

Jenny said...

It's a nice posting ,I like it ,
thank you for this kind of posting on Lap Band Mexico

ChristineKingery said...

This is a wonderful post. I can relate to all the items you listed! They are so true! I would also add this:

Don't be afraid of eating "real food," even if it means being higher in calories. Before WLS, I would eat "diet this" and "low-fat that" and "low-calorie this" and "fat-free that." NEVER AGAIN! One major change after WLS is that I eat foods that are high in fat. Almonds and cheese (the real kind) are my favorites, and they are things that I would never have eaten before. However, I don't eat a lot of them. Just 10 almonds, or one slice of cheese. My advice is to eat the real stuff, and don't shy away from fats. I honestly believe that they have contributed to my weight loss, increased feeling of satiety, and prevents me from wanting to binge.

Christine
www.phoenixrevolution.net

Jenny said...

I love the honesty in this post. We all know these things we just need to be reminded sometimes.

TnT said...

Thanks for sharing. As a newbie, it means a lot.

CeeJay said...

Sing it sister! You are wise beyond your years! Great post and congrats on the 66 lbs. too! Glad you found my blog and I am excited to read yours.

dede said...

So glad to be following you...I'll be bookmarking this page too! I love your camping pictures...it reminds me of camping years ago with my two sons...such great times. I'm not cool enough to go camping with anymore...even though we have a travel trailer now and my husband is the ultimate outdoorsman...so we just enjoy each other! Thanks for following me and the words of encouragement!
dede

The Medical Traveler said...

Great post! congratulations on your weight loss, you look so beautiful and happy in your pictures!