I thought I would take today to address some common MYTHS about LapBand surgery.
MYTH #1: The LapBand works by creating a 'pouch' in your stomach, reducing stomach size, and restricting the amount of food you eat.
TRUTH: The LapBand does not create a pouch. It slightly restricts the top portion of your stomach, thereby sending signals to your brain that you are 'full' (this is called satiety). Each bite of food you take is squeezed across the band, which sends more signals that you are full, and further reducing appetite. It does not reduce the size of your stomach, and does not limit the amount of food you can eat. I can still eat a pan of brownies if I wanted to.
MYTH #2: The LapBand restricts your stomach, so you can only eat soups, protein shakes and yogurts.
TRUTH: Actually we (LapBand patients) are taught to AVOID soups and 'liquid calories' because they 'slip' past the Band quickly and don't promote satiety like solid foods. So we are taught to avoid soups, alcohol, sodas, ice cream, etc. We are taught to eat solid foods, albeit in small bites (dice-sized) and wait one minute between bites. The solid food takes longer to squeeze throught the Band, sending stronger signals to our brains that we are full. However, after surgery and after we get fluid put into the Band, we are on temporary (24 - 48hr) liquid diets until swelling settles and we can tolerate full foods.
MYTH #3: LapBand patients cannot eat out at a restaurant.
TRUTH: Yes we can and yes I do! I simply order a high-protein appetizer (think grilled shrimp or lettuce wraps) and that is my meal! I probably spend 1/3 at a restaurant compared with what I used to spend. Sometimes I'll order an entree and take most of it home... I usually get at least 3 meals out of one entree.
MYTH #4: Getting the LapBand (or any weight loss surgery) is 'taking the easy way out'.
TRUTH: Let me make this perfectly clear: I have endured kidney stones, sexual abuse, been through labor, watched my parents die, and lost my best friend/my child's father to cancer. THE LAPBAND IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I HAVE DONE. Losing weight with the LapBand is in no way "easy". It is a constant struggle to eat right, exercise more, drink fluids, avoid carbs, and remember to take vitamins. I still think about food at least every hour. (Usually more!) The LapBand helps me because it helps to suppress my monster of an appetite. I have bad habits that formed from 30 years of overeating and being overweight. Three months post-surgery, I still struggle constantly with those demons. And let's be honest, there are many, many weight loss surgery patients who initially lose weight, only to gain it back. Weight loss surgery is not easy. It's hard on your wallet, your mind, your body, and your family. But I'm determined to use this as a tool to succeed in my war on fat!