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Working with my band

Posted Jan 07 2010 12:00am
Here is the essence of what I replied to an anonymous comment - you may find it useful:

Stretching your pouch: If you eat very slowly, which is what we are advised to do, then food will gradually pass from the upper pouch into the lower, main stomach. However, if you eat too quickly, or eat too much in one go, there is a small danger of stretching the pouch. This is usually temporary but if serious this can lead to band slippage. However, long before you get to the point of stretching your pouch it is likely that you would experience pain (often referred to by bandits as 'iron fist') behind the breastbone - this is your body's way of warning you that you should slow down when eating!

Anti-hunger pills: The whole point of the band is that by retaining food in the upper pouch, you 'trick' your brain into thinking that you are full, and so don't feel hungry. Therefore, if you work with the band, you shouldn't feel hungry and there should be no need to use additional drugs or supplements to reduce hunger. Personally, I would never use Reducteel or anything similar - I have paid a lot of money to have gastric band surgery and am determined to work with it.

The band and liquids: The band does not restrict liquids at all and we are always encouraged to drink plenty - therefore you should never experience thirst with the band - you can drink as much as you want (however, try to drink calorie-free drinks).

Dealing with hunger: I can honestly say that I have rarely experienced real hunger in my entire life. However, the biggest difficulty that many obese people experience is not real hunger, but what we often refer to as 'head hunger'. In other words - emotional hunger. This is something that the band cannot deal with. As a result of my emotional craving for food, yes, I have eaten loads on occasions, including binge-eating of chocolate. However, most of the foods we eat when over-eating and binging are foods that slip through the band easily anyway (e.g. chocolate, cakes, biscuits, crisps, fast food etc). Therefore, these foods generally don't increase the risk of pouch stretching - but of course they increase all sorts of other health risks.

Advice for new bandits: I think the important thing for a newly-banded person is to find out as much as you can about the band and how it is supposed to work - ideally from medically-trained people. The band will only do 30% of the work in weight loss - we have to work with the band to achieve the other 70% of effort necessary. This is far from easy and requires a considerable effort and commitment on our part. I've fallen flat on my face many times in my band journey because of my own weakness and lack of self-control, but at the same time I know that my band is my friend and if I work with it, it is a friend indeed.

As with all of the things I post on this blog, this is all just my opinion, based on my own research and most importantly, my experience. We all have very different bodies, needs, personalities and histories, so my experience may not be the same as yours! Always try to get support and advice from your band provider, dietician or bariatric nurse.
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