Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Most Important Rules

I have been thinking for a couple days about what I think are the most important things I do with the band for success. So, this is my list. Some may agree or disagree, but when I think about what I do consistently, this is it:
  • Measuring my food. My eyes are unreliable. I need to measure. Some people may say that sounds like a diet, but not sure how that is. It doesn't matter if the food is healthy or not so healthy, I still measure it. 1 cup of whatever total. Most times I finish it, sometimes I don't. If I get hungry later, I have a snack. (And no, I am really not as anal as this sounds, but I can't stress enough how key this is.)
  • Eating slowly and consciously. Food needs to have a chance to move out of the pouch. But yet a meal should not last more than 30 minutes (well unless you are at a social event). There is also a Part B to this one - no drinking while eating. I drink all the way up to when I'm eating. Then not while I'm eating and then I try to wait until at least 30 minutes after I finish.
  • Eating well most of the time. Essentially the 80/20 rule. If 80% of what I am eating is quality healthy food and 20% isn't, then I'm on track. I really might be more at 90/10 though.
  • Moving. Exercise is my friend. Most of us weren't or maybe haven't ever exercised. Muscle (lean body) mass is important. Having more muscle burns more calories and there are other great benefits such as strength, looking more toned, etc. The only way to get more muscle is by exercising and doing strength training. Try lots of stuff. Find something you like!
I fear that the rest of this might be controversial here in blogland, but here goes anyway...

The band shouldn't be "telling me" how much to eat. That's on me. I have to eat the right amount of food. The potential problem with allowing the band to "tell me" is at that point I may actually have eaten too much (or if I have only eaten a few bites and this occurs frequently, my band is not adjusted correctly). I am guessing that I am more sensitive to this because of my own experiences. There was a time that I thought that the band should "tell me". I ended up with a dilated pouch.

It seems that most bandsters now get a fill without fluro. This was not the case for me (the protocol has also changed at the office where I used to get adjustments). So every single time I was adjusted, they saw the "health" of my pouch. My symptoms were not that pronounced and I had a "slight" dilation. I think it would have had to become much worse without the fluoro.

I have pondered why there has been a change in the protocol and the theory I keep coming back to is that when my pouch was dilated that this is technically a complication. It's been diagnosed and I wonder - do they have to report it? Let's be real, this is a business. Statistics are important. If they are having to report it and then "their" patients are having this complication it effects their numbers.

So now they relying on us, the patient, to be open and honest about everything that is going on. Then because of what is said, they might do fluro. But for me, my symptom (mild heartburn---heartburn is not normal) was sporadic, I didn't even think to tell them because from my perspective it was isolated and infrequent. I'm convinced that my dilation would not have been found as quickly as it was without the fluro. I'd encourage anyone that has heartburn to discuss with their doctor/provider and even to consider asking specifically about dilation. Hell, if there's a fluro machine in the office like there is at mine, I'd encourage you to even consider pressing them for a swallow to check it out.

I had my best success when I was adjusted correctly. I was able to eat the "bandster portions" and eat a variety of foods (not necessarily all, but most). I had energy and I was losing weight. It's not a race, but a journey. Enjoy the journey, eat food, learn stuff along the way, make changes, and move more to develop the foundation to make maintenance easier...

And even if you set your mind to "enjoy the journey", it is going to suck at times. It;s just life, so I try to do the best I can and always remember: Change is hard...But oh so worth it!!


Justawallflower said...

I love that several of you are posting things like this right now (tips and experiences so far) as I am having my band on Tuesday, and I am soaking up all that everyone is putting out there. It is perfect timing for me. Not that I will live and die by your experiences, but it will at least get me off started in the right direction! Thanks!

Libby said...

I concur with Justawallflower! Thanks for this post. I was banded Oct. 4th and have just started this journey (and I have to constantly remind myself it is that and not just another diet.) Your advice is so valuable to us "newbies". Keep it coming!

Libby -

julie said...

I really appreciate your tips and keys to your success. I dislike the thought of measuring my food, but I think I may start. I definitely let my band tell me how much to eat and I really really really don't want to get a dilated pouch. So far, I haven't had any heartburn, but I don't want to risk it. I need to recommit to eating the correct portions. Thanks again for everything!

Band Groupie said...

Great post! Just curious about the 'reflux'...did they tell you this was related to the dialation?

Fluffy said...

Band Groupie - they beat into my head (almost literally - I'm stubborn) that reflux/heartburn (whatever you want to call it) is a sign of being too tight and/or dilation. I was actually a bit tight - which then led to dilation. Once I was adjusted correctly, the reflux/heartburn went away completely. I had some flare ups after that of reflux/heartburn, but realized (when I was honest with myself) that I was eating more than I should. At those times, I went on liquids (self imposed) for a couple days and then started eating again bandster amounts. My pouch was healthy size (which I found exciting every time!) since the minor dilation. Great question, hopefully I've answered it. If not, let me know!

Island Bandit said...

there can never be enough of these kinds of posts... and i think newbies like many of us who've commented.... as well as those who've been banded for a while.... could do well to often be reminded of the best practices.


Silverhairedgoddess said...

I agree with your 4 important rules -
if we all follow them, we will be successful - thank you for posting them!

Sam said...

These posts are great for those of us who are not so new to this as well :-)

They always remind me of little things that I know, bt may not be thinking about 100%. It is great little reminder that I can't let the band be the one to tell me I have had enough.


Dinnerland said...

Loved this post, thank you. It was encouraging and motivating.

Jody V said...

Thank you so much for these posts!!

I need them....badly!!