Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: Should She Go Lap-Band?

Q&A Wednesday: Should She Go Lap-Band?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Q: My mother is well over 300lbs.  She’s a diabetic with hypertension and high cholesterol.  She’s considering lap band surgery, but I really think she should try to change her diet first.  Unfortunately, my dad is VERY stubborn and won’t try new foods or anything outside his comfort zone.  He offers no support to my mom and insists that if she makes a separate, healthy meal for herself that she still make him what he wants for dinner.  Now that my mom has lost her job and can’t contribute to household funds like before, she is limited in her purchasing capacity because “it’s not her money.”  I really worry about my mom’s health, but I don’t want to cause her more stress.  Should I just help her find a good surgeon to perform the lap-band?

I feel like…. I shouldn’t be answering this question. Obviously, people are going to do what works best for them and oooooobviously people only ask me questions just to get my opinion on things, but wow, here.

Although I’m rolling my eyes – hard – at your Dad… I sort of understand. It’s hard for someone who doesn’t see the immediate need to change their life to accept changes that “don’t benefit them.” Not saying that that’s the right (or selfless) way to look at it, but I do believe that’s how he looks at it. It’s a really rough situation, but there are a few hard truths that have to be realized, here.

For starters, I don’t understand why weight loss procedures are considered some great, grand solution to every obesity-related illness, especially when the only thing the surgery immediately solves is the “obese” issue – you lose the weight. You’ll still have the hypertension, you’ll still have the high cholesterol and you’ll still have the diabetes to contend with. It is not a cure all.

In fact, I can recall a conversation I had with an MD a while back regarding surgeries… because I feel some kinda way about how they are peddled as being The End All Be All To Curing The Real Health Woes In America. Her words to me were, “Surgeries aren’t intended to be a cure-all, they’re meant to aid the people who are genuinely unable to function because of the weight they’ve put on, or the people who actually need to quickly lose weight so that we can go in and perform other procedures. If there’s too much fat for us to go in and do what we need to do, then a procedure will be recommended for weight loss first… then the other procedures come afterwards.”

So, let’s be realistic – even if she does have the lap-band (and only y’all can decide whether or not that’s for you), she will still have to adjust her eating lifestyle. Why? Because that eating lifestyle not only allowed her to develop that weight gain and those health problems… but it also allowed her to maintain those problems. Her losing the weight and continuing on the lifestyle only ensures that her health problems will be furthered… and she might even gain the weight back.

Having said all of that, I can’t tell whether or not 300lbs is killing your mother (because 300lbs at six feet tall looks and feels wayyy different from 300lbs at five feet tall) and I certainly wouldn’t weigh in on whether or not she should have the surgery. What I will say, is this…

The reality of all of this is the following: Dad thinks that healthy food consists of rice cakes and dry chicken breasts, and outright refuses to go that route, right? I’m almost positive that’s what this is. Like, without a doubt that’s what this is.

The biggest problem with the idea of “healthy living” is that all us healthy eaters eat all day is nuts and berries.

Sorry – while I get in my fair share of cashews and cranberries, I can assure you: I’m not the one. I love my fruits, my leafy greens and my rices the same way I love my dark chocolate truffles. I also understand how to balance the two so that I can preserve my health.

I find it hard to believe that both Mom and Dad are eating the same foods, but only one is experiencing the problems… that being said, if the food that’s served for the meals each day is cleaned up, both will definitely enjoy the benefits.I don’t think it’s ideal – at all – for her to cook one meal for herself and another meal (one consisting of food she loves) for everyone else. The goal, really, has to be cleaning up all the food within the house. Having it in the house pretty much ensures she’s going to eat it regardless of what healthy meals she cooks for herself.

She’s going to have to do some digging. She’s going to have to find some absolutely delicious recipes that don’t use processed ingredients, don’t use much sugar per meal and keep the animal by-products to a minimum. This is not hard. It means that she’s going to have to sneak and collect some good herbs (the basics – oregano, terragon, basil, rosemary and thyme are great common starters), start sneaking and switching for more quality ingredients (getting better-grown meats will help cut the unnecessary fat and more proper portion sizes will help with cholesterol), and cooking more often… much more often.

She’ll have to sneak and add more veggies to recipes and scale back on the meat. She’ll have to get more creative with the recipes (or be very resourceful and find a website that shares lots of healthy recipes) and be sure to cook every day so that he never has the chance to complain. If the food’s already done, all he’s going to want to do is sit down and enjoy it. Keep it simple, but keep it delicious.

I find that once people realize that there is such a thing as delicious healthy food, they’re willing to convert. You just have to get them over that “healthy food is dry, bland, miserly and disgusting” hump, first. I think that’s the best way to get Dad to invest in the healthy conversion of the household.

In the end… the reality is that no matter whether or not she has the procedure, she’s still going to have to address how she deals with food and how she nourishes herself… and once she does that, her weight will begin to fall off. If she really believes in and resolves to support her own life changes, then she might realize that she can lose the weight without the procedure, and deem it too invasive especially when she’ll still have to do the heavy lifting after the procedure. It’s all up to personal preference, but the lap-band won’t deal with the big issues. She’ll still have to deal with those on her own. Talk to her, let her know your thoughts, and then be her support system and help her make the proper plans to get where she needs to go… just let her know that it’s a long and hard road ahead, and you’ll be there to help her with your map. 🙂

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Evelyn November 24, 2010 - 1:32 PM

PREACH girl! I loved your response, it was dead on. My question is – how is it that it would be ok to use limited funds to pay for expensive surgery, but not to buy healthy food? This is what constantly baffles me when people say they can’t afford to eat healthy. I can get a bag of frozen veggies for $1. What processed food costs that little?

Erika November 24, 2010 - 1:41 PM

I presumed they might have the ill supreme awesome amazing insurance plan. LOLOL

Abstruse_Fangrl November 24, 2010 - 2:19 PM

You know, what I’ve never understood is the people who act like getting some sort of weight loss surgery is the cure for obesity. You can have someone open you up, put on a band, lose massive amounts of weight…and still gain it back.

Like you said, it’s the way a person eats and their attitude towards food which has to change. Until they make that change, they’ll never achieve the health (or body shape) that they want.

Erika November 24, 2010 - 5:08 PM

Not only that, but you absolutely CAN re-stretch your stomach out to the size it was BEFORE the surgery. It’s bananas.

christine October 15, 2013 - 12:53 PM

maybe its safer but back in the day i know some folks who got it..shudders..you think Alli is bad lol

Madame: The Journey November 24, 2010 - 4:14 PM

It’s so true, if your diet doesn’t change and you don’t address your issues with food – any form of bariatric surgery is merely a temporary fix. My mother was 650lbs when she decided to have her procedure (roux-en-y gastric bypass). 400lbs lost later, she still relays the message to others, that it is not the be-all end-all. You’ll drop weight quickly in the beginning, as most do … but keeping it off … requires work and a genuine shift in behavior and nutritional understanding. People can and DO gain weight after these procedures, if they don’t adhere.

Erika November 24, 2010 - 6:40 PM

Wowwww… kudos to your mother for doing what she needs to do AND for spreading the message! I’m almost positive that she’s got an awesome daughter helping her along the way, though. 🙂

beverly November 24, 2010 - 5:58 PM

I think that bypass is not the answer — gastric bypass is! I have 4 friends whohave had the bypass. The last was 5 years ago and not 1 has gained any back. All 4 no longer require meds for diabetes hypertension or cholesterol. Your mom is not in a environment condusive to weightloss and so by any means necessary. And everyone, if you are on this page you are also a bulge warrior – for shame on the judgementalness

Erika November 24, 2010 - 6:23 PM

Now… if you can tell me how gastric bypass cleans out your arteries, changes the way your body handles sugar and lowers blood pressure… that’d be great. The reality is… they do NOT. LIFESTYLE changes do that.

Another reality – your friends, plain and simple, are not you. You’re not with them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We’re women.. we know the reality of womanhood – we lie to our friends. We lie to make things seem simpler than they are. We lie to make things seem easier than they are. How many of our friends wound up with “foreclosure” signs or eviction notices on their front doors, to our surprise? We didn’t know they were struggling. We don’t know about the struggles of our peers because we don’t live with ’em. I say all that to say… you don’t know WHAT your “friends” are doing or dealing with. I’d never hope that they ARE struggling, but if they were, I wouldn’t expect YOU to know it.

Where do you see judgment? Where do you see anyone judging those who choose surgery? This isn’t about judgment. This is about the hard facts, and the hard facts are that you CANNOT avoid weight and health issues if you don’t change your life.. no matter HOW you lose the weight. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not a person chooses surgery – I even conceded in my post that there are situations where surgery is downright demanded, Madame above shared her story regarding her mother – what matters is the fact that that person WILL have to address their lifestyle and habits.

And gastric bypass, for the record – which is the process of getting the stomach cut and surgically made smaller so that you eat less – can ABSOLUTELY FAIL, because if you’re someone who binge eats and stuffs themselves, you CAN restretch your stomach out and your surgery would’ve been a waste.

I’m not trying to be forceful or rude, but it is absolutely vital that we stop fooling ourselves into thinking we don’t have to change or be realistic about weight loss and any adjoining health concerns. Just because someone was successful doesn’t mean we know, for sure, what brought on their successes or how they maintain them (as evidenced by the eating disorder post from the other day)… but if you failed at this weight thing, I can absolutely tell you why. Flat out. I want realistic perceptions of weight and wellness in our community, because all we’ve got thus far is doctors pushing procedures on us and leaving us with less information than what we had when we began. So… c’mon. I can’t let that go without making it very clear.

JoAnna November 24, 2010 - 7:01 PM

I have a friend who is 5’10” tall and weighs around 425lbs. She gained the last 30lbs whole wearing a lapband that she just had removed in August. Somehow she ate the same amount of food in teeny tiny meals, ALL DAY! Since vegetables caused her indigestion, she didn’t eat them. So lots of meat and potatoes, and starches. Because she gained that extra weight, the lapband was rubbing against her liver causing pain and internal bleeding..

We get along as as long as the topic of food doesn’t come up. Now she’s on a mostly liquid diet of 1000 calories/day to lose weight in preparation of gastric bypass surgery in January. She said she doesn’t want to develop Type 2 Diabetes like me, so she going to get herself cut up. I understand her fear, but I cringe whenever I think of what she puts in her mouth. Since she’s limited to 1000 calories, she stocked up on fat-free puddings, and diet pop. I asked her to just do herbal teas, and a few squares of dark chocolate but she complained that that little bit wouldn’t fill her up. And she HATES water!

I love the idea of getting a tummy tuck: cosmetic surgery to tighten up loose skin. Like gardening: you do the work of clearing the ground, making the beds, wedding, watering, and eventually harvesting produce. If you have extra time, you make your garden pretty. But if you don’t put in the elbow grease of the stuff you don’t see (conditioning the soil, etc), your harvest will be poor. Same with our bodies. I’d rather have a slightly pudgy healthy, athletic body than one that’s tight and toned, yet weak with high cholesterol, hypertension, and no stamina.

Erika November 24, 2010 - 7:05 PM

See, that’s what I’m not getting.

If type 2 diabetes comes from what you’re putting in your mouth… you avoid it by… addressing what you put in your mouth. Not by surgery.

What is going ON out there? My gosh!

Lynn November 24, 2010 - 7:40 PM

Now I do know several people who were diabetic and hypertensive that had either the bypass surgery or lap band and have totally changed their lives. They no longer take hypertension meds and have also either greatly decreased their insulin needs or no longer have problems with their diabetes. I have one women who came into the office and she had surgery about 5 years ago and she no longer takes any diabetic meds at all and she was able to stop her blood pressure meds about 5 months after she had surgery. While I do know that obesity surgeries are a great help to individuals that need help especially immediately with health issues I do agree that if a person has an obesity surgery just to lose weight but never deals with their issues with food the surgery is sure to fail. I would say to this young lady to make sure her mother does all the research as far as these surgeries are concerned and then make the right choice for her. Like you said there are a lot of ways she can change her eating style to please herself and her husband she just has to really get down to business about it. Now if she has a medical emergency or is on the highest dosage of insulin that she can get and her diabetes is still not controllable or her pressure is out of control and they are telling her if she doesn’t lose weight soon it will be detrimental then I definitely understand her want to use the surgery to her advantage. Also I know that lap band surgery is not for everyone. You have to worry about throwing up and being to tight and if you throw up a lot you will have to have it removed. If you have not dealt with your eating issues YOU WILL throw up because you will continue to try and eat as you used to. Also I know that as far as bypass surgery is concerned if you don’t deal with eating issues you may lose the weight but after your sweet time of the surgery expires which is usually a year most start to regain the weight because they began to eat sugar and sweets again and not watch their diet which is the problem they had before they had the surgery. I would say see a nutritionist and learn all you can about surgery and then make the decision that you feel that is right. I think that if she can find some good recipes and maybe add some workouts even just walking it will help her to improve her weight and health without surgery. Try helping your mother first and maybe with you helping her to make the right choices then she will make that best decision that everyone can live with.

Erika November 24, 2010 - 8:20 PM

The surgery “expires?”

monica November 24, 2010 - 9:33 PM

i know SO many people who have had either the band or the bypass and seem to do well with it and have lost tons of weight, but for me i just can’t do it. i also know of a past friend who has had the band and has to keep going back to get it tightened because the weight’s not coming off “fast enough”. in my mind, that means she’s not making the right food choices nor is she doing any exercise in order to lose weight. in other words, she’s not doing her part, she expects the band to magically fix her weight, and that’s not realistic. but hey its not my stomach so oh well….

i really do think for certain people it works because they’re physically not able to eat the types/quantities of food as they did before or they’ll get those unpleasant side effects from it. which leads to better food choices….and weight loss. which is something that can be done without surgical intervention and is why, even though i struggle like hell on the daily, i’m in the process of teaching myself to put the right things in my body.

i mean don’t get me wrong i’ve definitely thought about it, but i just can’t go under the knife and try to fix something that i feel won’t be fixed by a band or bypass. i’d be that fool in the hospital who ate too much and busted her band or something because, like i mentioned earlier, my problem with food is something that i feel a band or bypass won’t fix. but i guess i’m in the minority though, seems like everyone’s looking to have gastric bypass or the band instead of doing it “the old fashioned way”.

and i was about to disagree with you on the point u made regarding preexisting conditions (such as htn, diabetes, etc) not being cured by the surgery but i see what you meant by that. the elimination of these conditions are thru the change in diet, not the surgery itself.

good post!

Kimberly November 24, 2010 - 11:35 PM

I wrote the post lap gastric bypass/calorie restriction post yesterday and I feel that there are some necessary clarifications to be made about bariatric surgery.

1) Whether lap band or bypass, you will regain the weight if you don’t change your behaviors. Period. Limiting calories to1,800/day, exercising, eating healthy food…that’s the only way to go to have long-lasting results.

2) The gastric bypass surgery functions quite differently from the lap band. The bypass removes approximately 95% of the stomach (although not following directions can cause it to stretch back to its original size) and affects the hormones released by the digestive system. These hormones affect how the body processes food, burns it, and can absolutely change your palate. Pre-surgery, my problems were with sugar (thankfully I didn’t have high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other co-morbid condition). Now, I can’t eat some natural sugars because I’m so sensitive to it. A slice of pineapple almost had me updating my will. I’m an outlier; all folks don’t have this experience. However, since sugar was my main problem, my surgeon and I are very confident of my success as I can no longer tolerate (nor do I crave it). I also work out 3x week with a trainer. This, in addition to the surgery, accounts for how I’ve lost more than 60% of my excess weight in less than 11 months.

3) The lap band physically reduces, though not permanently, the size of the stomach which limits intake. There is no cutting. It does NOT affect hunger hormones and there is no “dumping” syndrome, where the body rids itself of everything (it seems) if the patient eats too much fat or sugar in one sitting. Lap band folks can eat sugar, fat, anything they want, just in smaller quantities. This is why a significant proportion of lap band patients eventually have the bypass surgery.

No matter what you do (surgical or non-surgical intervention), your eating habits and exercise regimen will ultimately determine your weight and thus, your health. I had years of therapy before I had the surgery, which is partly why I’ve been successful. And for the record, I lost nearly 50 pounds BEFORE the surgery (30 pounds MORE than my surgeon required) because I was able to address many of my psychological issues around food and “practice” my post-surgery habits for a full 11 months before the surgery.

Bariatric surgery is not for everyone. No matter how good your intentions, how great your support system, you should not have the surgery until you’ve addressed emotional/psychological reasons for eating.

I’m a doctor and can address more specificities of the surgeries. However, I’m not here to give medical advice; that’s for your primary care physician.

One more thing: one can be too obese for the surgery. At my highest weight, 400+ pounds, there are surgeons who would not have accepted me as a patient. My surgeon, PCP, and therapist all knew that I was in it for the long haul and that I would comply with all requirements. No surgeon wants an extremely obese patient who can’t follow directions. It sounds callous, but it destroys their surgery statistics…and that matters quite a bit for reputational and malpractice purposes. I’m shocked that someone above stated that their 650 pound mother had a bypass. NO way surgeons at my Top 10-ranked hospital would have accepted her as a patient. She got very lucky.

Erika November 25, 2010 - 6:34 AM

I think this is a stone cold reality of weight and health:

“One more thing: one can be too obese for the surgery. At my highest weight, 400+ pounds, there are surgeons who would not have accepted me as a patient. My surgeon, PCP, and therapist all knew that I was in it for the long haul and that I would comply with all requirements. No surgeon wants an extremely obese patient who can’t follow directions. It sounds callous, but it destroys their surgery statistics…and that matters quite a bit for reputational and malpractice purposes. I’m shocked that someone above stated that their 650 pound mother had a bypass. NO way surgeons at my Top 10-ranked hospital would have accepted her as a patient. She got very lucky.”

I mean, that says a LOT.

To me, the bottom line in ALL of this is that there is NO way around the reality of weight loss… and that no matter HOW you lose the weight, there’s only one way to keep it off. My word, my word. Thank you SO much for contributing. I’m sure I’m not the only person who values your input. 🙂

Kelekona October 17, 2011 - 12:36 PM

Wow, your gastric bypass surgery matches some symptoms that I have.

I followed the “vending machine diet” back in the late 90’s which is the name I made up for something that would later imitate “the twinkee diet” except that I did get real food on occassion and I continued the madness until I decided that starving was preferable 3/4 of the time. (4 out of 7 days with the occasional cave-in.)

It’s never been officially addressed, but I like to believe that I scarred my stomach in ways that result in most desserts causing me to curl fetal on the floor, and it’s very rare that I eat enough of a restaurant meal to not want a box.

The difference is that I can eat gassy or expansive food with only mild discomfort if it is bland or lacking in grease and sugars.

Notorious Spinks November 25, 2010 - 4:52 AM

I found some great recipes over at Eat Better America and I also subscribe to Weight Watchers magazine. Those recipes are so good and you can barely notice the calorie difference.

Erika November 25, 2010 - 6:35 AM

I can’t co-sign either of those because I know they push less-than-healthy products, but if someone can find value in ’em, so be it.

Lucy November 25, 2010 - 12:58 PM

This is so true. One prime example I remember is on a show showing one woman’s decision to get surgery. When she lost a lot of weight and was preparing for a skin lift, she had to have the ban loosened a little. The minute the band was loosened, she went home, made 12 cookies, and ate 9 of them. It was especially sad, because the parents, who paid for all the surgeries, were obviously kind of skeptical that anything had changed regarding her attitude towards health. It was just really sad to see her eating 9 cookies as soon as she had the stomach capacity for it. She was really young too, no older than 26/27 I believe. Now I think surgery can be good and may be the best for some people in some situations, but if it is accompanied by a change in habits then….. I think that is especially true when people have less than a 100 pounds to lose and are relatively young and for the most part physical able-bodied to lose weight. At some point, for some people, it may just be a way to skirt around the issue of why you eat 9 cookies in one sitting, or why even your own family sees that your relationship to food is off and doesn’t think your attitude has change to a healthy one.

Nikita November 29, 2010 - 11:00 AM

If you look at it seriously, gastric bypass surgeries request that you do the very same things that you would have to do anyway to lose the weight and to get healthy – exercise 5 times a wk for 30+ minutes and adjust your diet. This is something that you must do for the rest of your life in order to keep the weight off. When I read that and was told that by my doctor, that did it for me. Why don’t I simply learn to get into this habit in the first place myself? So that is what I decided to do instead of having lap band. It is a person by person thing.

As to suggestions for the mother, I would recommend that she look at the everyday meals and figure out how to make them healthier for her. For instance, if she is going to make mac and cheese get the wheat noodles, buy some real cheddar cheese and make him his version full of the processed stuff and then make some with just the cheddar cheese for herself. If you are cooking burgers buy a small pack of ground turkey and mix it in with the regular chuck and make dinner with it. He will not know the difference and it will be better for her. Starting small will not get big results but it will get results. Instead of cooking her greens in pork try smoked turkey, veggie brother or chicken broth and season with onions, red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of butter. That is a lot healthier and there should not be such a noticeable change in the food bill. Suggest, go with her, encourage her to begin taking a walk for 15 minutes for 3 times a week to get started and that too should boost her weight loss.

Good luck!

Eliza08 June 8, 2011 - 9:49 PM

I’ve been reading this blog but I’ve never commented. But, I wanted to share my experience here because I had the lap-band surgery two years ago. When I initially signed on for it, I thought that I’d have the surgery, lose weight, and never think about losing weight again. It’s just really not like that. It was the single best decision I ever made. And, I haven’t lost all the weight that I’d want to (about 20 pounds to go).

But, it’s certainly not easy. It’s really not. It was (and still is) expensive because I paid out-of-pocket. I have struggled, especially the first year, and I have had some complications (two slips and some serious ‘spitting up.’) I spent the first year denying the fact that I’d have to change my diet and just thought I could go on as I did before the surgery–but with smaller portions. I was soooo wrong. Finally, I grew up and realized that the surgery wasn’t to be the quick fix. I had change my life and my diet. I guess, it’s like the saying goes, “Sometimes you have to get married to get divorced.” I had to have the surgery to know that the surgery wasn’t the easy fix.

Still, it was the best decision I ever made. I’ve completely changed my life and my diet. My son and boyfriend have even lost weight (my 13 year-old son has lost 30, my boyfriend has lost 45). And, my mom was inspired and had gastric bypass and lost 100 pounds. (Now my dad is down 20 pounds, too.)

Contrary to popular opinion, I can’t just eat whatever I want in smaller portions. I work harder at losing weight now than I ever have. I *thought* I was working hard to lose weight before the surgery. I had no idea what hard work was. I have to eat healthy because foods without water don’t go down through the band well–bread, junk food, cookies, cake (really doesn’t go down), meat. Big foods don’t go down–hamburgers, pizza, large pieces of food. Pasta. Donuts. Donuts have no water or fiber. They don’t go anywhere but right back up. (I miss donuts…)

Watery foods–fruits, veggies–go down well. So, I eat a lot of fruits and veggies now and I’m a vegetarian (almost a vegan). It really forced me to get on board with veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs, tofu, water, protein shakes. I probably ate 1 or 2 veggies a week before the surgery, but I eat them every single meal now. Every meal.

And, now that I’ve been faithfully reading (and loving) your blog, I’ve cut out all extra sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods (which didn’t go down that well anyways). I would’ve never had the confidence, resources, or strength to be able to make these changes prior to the surgery.

I’m aware every single day that I can and will gain this weight back. So, I go to the gym and do cardio 5x week. Weight training, 2x week. Yoga, 5x week. The surgery is no quick fix. It’s work.

Thanks so much for your blog. I can’t tell you how inspiring and wonderful it has been. The surgery, going vegetarian, practicing yoga, and now this blog has changed my life.

Lisa Hickman April 25, 2012 - 4:21 PM

Believe me, I know what it’s like to be over 300lbs as well as I know what its like to have a husband who loves to eat EVERYTHING. I am very active and would encourage your mom to do so as well. And begin to incorporate fresh veggies and fruit in her diet. She might can’t buy all the healthy stuff but she can definitely buy some of the ingridients for herself without dad even realizing it. I would also encourage you to do more for your mom if you can, helping her by saying things like “mom” how about only 1/2 of that fried chicken, and only a cup of that rice or macroni and cheese. In the beginning of my weight loss journey I use to think that it was very expensive to eat healthy but now that i’m buying the ingredients my hubby is putting them to use in the dinner more and more.She still has control or buying power because she’s going to the store. And if dad wants fried chicken that’s fine, she can put her two pieces in the oven.

Fe June 20, 2012 - 12:17 PM

To each their own, do the research and know the risk, short and long term, as there are just as many success stories as horror stories. That being said, I personally would not do it. I don’t need a band to do any work that I can do on my own. I choose to eat right and I exercise on my own and have pride in knowing that I did it on my own. For me, the best tool for my weight loss has been my head, my hard work and my self discpline; no banded need for that.

Gwin Orr June 20, 2012 - 5:38 PM

I have not had a chance to read all the comments, and I am not sure how many will read mine, but I have to say this. First it is true WLS is not a cure all. I do have to disagree with you in part, because I had WLS (Gastric Sleeve) 1.5 years ago. I have lost a total of 125lbs. My two fold response is this. I have stopped losing weight because I have started back some of my bad habits. That is the truth to the point that it is not a cure all. You must change your thinking about food, before you have surgery. However, the co-morbid conditions that I had with the obesity have been helped as well. I no longer take medication for diabetes, but I do still watch my glucose levels and they are normal. My HBP has come down tremedously, however because it being in my family history it probably will never go away. It is true that exercise and diet helps these things but my BP got better before I even left the hospital after surgery. I would recommend the Gastric Sleeve over the LapBand. There is not foreign apparatus inserted into your body with the sleeve. The bottom line is you must change the way you think about food. Just because you cannot eat as much of the wrong thing, doesn’t make it any less wrong. I had the advantage of not having to prepare meals for anyone but myself. I cannot imagine how it would have been had I had a husband and children, but she still will have to change how she thinks about food. It will no longer be for pleasure but simply for nourishment.

bisdelish March 27, 2013 - 8:03 AM

Thank you so much for this post, as my weight goes up and up and by self confidence is at a record low. I have been considering (20 year old just under 300Ibs) but I follow alot of stories and realises that it would not be my quick fix. It takes just as much control, dedication and hard work to get that weight off. Plus alot of my problem with weight and food is mental which I have recently discovered. This is due to as soon as I lose some weight and I start to notice I put it all back on plus more. I just dont know who to talk to as no one seems to understand.

Natasha April 24, 2013 - 12:02 PM

I think weight loss surgery (WLS) is almost a trend or fad. It seems like a lot of people sort of jump on board and don’t take the process seriously. Obviously, this is not representative of everyone, but I have seen quite a few people who intentionally put on weight to qualify, have multiple revisions, will settle with losing only half the weight they were expected to lose because they refuse to exercise, lose enough to meet some objective (like have a baby) then start regaining, etc.

Of course the doctors are going to do all they can to push surgery…it’s a business. I’m a bit surprised at insurance companies that will approve people for Lapband, a revision to gastric bypass and a revision to duodenal switch. A lot of people can’t get basic health care, and some have insurance that gives them the runaround for an initial surgery or treatment for other conditions. But, others can run in and out the operating room every other year because they still think their tool is a fix. I don’t get it.

Losing weight and keeping it off is hard no matter how people do it. Personally, I can lose and regain weight for free and without having my insides rearranged. But, that’s just me.

NB May 29, 2013 - 11:42 PM

I had the band about 5 years ago and I am happy with it. Its true that you can issues with it and you will gain weight if you don’t do the basics. I am going through a stage now where I have gained weight (not a lot but enough to notice) but I am aware of that and what I have to do to control it. I am concerned that the people that are getting it done now think that it is a magic bullet and that is all they will need to do. Its only a tool to hep for extreme situations and if your not careful you can make your situation a lot worse.

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