Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: gastric band

Confessions of a Food Addict!

Have you ever sneaked a tasty morsel, especially when your partner was not looking?

Do you typically put eating a meal as a very high priority?

Do you feel guilty after eating?

Do you have occasional binges where no amount of food will satisfy your cravings?

Does eating become an obsession?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be a food addict!

Research is beginning to shed light on the plight of us mega munchers. To be clear, I am not referring to those amongst us who have the odd “naughty” treat, I mean those who are out of control and paying for it;  financially and with obesity! For those of us who suffer this syndrome, food is our nightmare! Most of us say we love food, and we probably do.

Interestingly, I started to write this months ago. I just saw the following article and felt like yelling Hallelujah! Article: Junkies and Food Addicts Share Craving Mechanism.

Can a Lap Band help?

For me, I still get the mega cravings. I need a hit! I can’t eat enough but if I use lots of willpower I can struggle along. I asked a friend on the weekend about his experience – he was banded a few months ago. I asked if the cravings went (as the lap-band promoters suggest) – he answered “bullshit!” – I’m with him.

The band helps a lot, but it does not take away the food addiction!

I dream of being free of this! The monkey off my back! I just can’t handle my dopamine! Perhaps they will work out a control for it – in the mean time – grind on!

Lap Band deviations – attack of the fat demons!

I’m sitting in Sydney airport, a common pastime for me! The smell of raisin toast permeates the peaceful ambience of the Qantas Club lounge.

I suddenly feel I need to eat!!!

Am I hungry? No! Do I need to eat? No! Am I going to eat? Not this time!!!

My Lap Band was tightened further last week. It has been five months since the operation to fit the band and I have never really felt it was in the “sweet spot”. My weight has been hanging around the same figure for most of that time. I feel like it is working when I come home from the Lap Band “fill”, but that wears off after a day or so.

So, is the Lap Band working?

My doctor says he wants to be cautious, he does not want me getting food stuck or to begin vomiting… I’m with him on this. However, I am getting impatient. I want to move on.

After the last adjustment I can eat a lot less. Good! I have to retrain myself on food portions and “the rules” – don’t drink any fluid 30 minutes before and after a meal, eat very slowly and limit portions to about half a glass – is that half full or half empty?!

Six days now after the last Lap Band adjustment, I suspect we are very close or in the zone. I fill up very easily and I am not as interested in food. At last!!! However, demons still haunt my fears of food addiction – stress, boredom and habit.

I find myself picking between meals lately. Even now that the Lap Band seems to be right, I have picked… a little!

The fight now seems to be defeating these demons. After all, the Lap Band is a tool to help me change my eating habits – and my assult on my food addiction.

1) No fluids around meals!

2) Eat slowly!

3) Half a glass of food per meal – which is, as ever, half full!!!

Begone you dreaded demons!!! Roll on slimdom!

The mile high club!

OK, I know what you are thinking – and you are right! I have now joined “mile high club”, those who have taken to the skies with a Lap Band fitted!!!

The pressure in an aircraft at cruising altitude can cause your Lap Band to tighten. This means you should be careful about eating as the narrow opening may cause you an uncomfortable trip. 

We were flying from Sydney, Australia to Regina, Canada. This involves a flight across the Pacific for 15 hours. It is hard not to eat over that time so I had the meals and was careful to choose soft food and chew very well. I did notice the tighter feeling but no discomfort. Yay!!!

Looks like my band is flight tested! I’m relieved as I love to travel!

Scars and a very serious muffin top!

G’Day Lap Band Fans and other Voyeurs!

Here is another update on my laproscopic scars from my Lap Band operation. The photos (below) of my stomach are not pretty but what else do you expect for someone who requires this procedure 🙂 The procedure requires four small  incisions (less than a centimeter). These are in an arc across the top of the belly. It also requires one larger incision, about three centimeters long.

The wounds are covered after the operation with a clear plastic dressing that is water proof (see my previous blog). The dressings come off after 12 days and are easy and painless to remove. The only stitches seems to be on the three centimeter incision (and then only two or three stitches). There is no bleeding or seepage after the removal of the dressings after 12 days (not in my case anyway).

The wounds have healed very well. You can only just see some of the small ones and the large one is looking good. The photos below were taken five weeks after the surgery.

I have lost about 25 kg (55 lb) now, and I feel so great! I am walking faster, riding my pushbike even my motorbike has more ‘grunt’. I am not quite half way but feel very confident of getting to a healthy weight. No problems with eating the ‘tricky’ foods (e.g. red meat, corn, bread) and I am glad to see the end of Optifast. Optifast was great but you get sick of the same old thing. I did love the Chicken Soup while I had to be on it.

My partner, Judy, is very supportive and is very innovative with meals, I cook on the weekends which can be a point of risk 🙂 My sons live with me and are very supportive also. Friends and family are wonderful to make you feel good. The strong ‘cheer squad’ is a huge plus!  The right team with your Bariatric Surgeon is also an important success factor.

Al's Scars after five weeks

Al's Scars after five weeks

Al's scars after five weeks

Al's scars after five weeks

Thanks to Stefan for the photos – see his web site, great photographer – especially the wild outdoor stuff – makes your head spin – Stefan’s Photographic Web Site

Share your Lap Band experience with me!

I am writing about my Lap Band and obesity journey. I would love to hear any experiences that you may have. It does not matter if you are thinking about a band, have one or would not have one. If you are a friend of partner of an obese person, I would love to hear you story also. Please make comments here or email me at bigaloz@gmail.com. Everybody has a story and I would love to hear it!!!

A small prick and I’m good to go!

OK, that was easy! I went in for my first service on my Lap Band. I had a “fill” – they jabbed me with a needle into the port on my abdomen – and I am now in full “restricted” mode.

It was only the slightest pin prick, less painful than a flu needle in the arm. You lie on your back with a pillow under your middle back. Do a bit of a crunch and in goes the needle… too easy!

My doctor wants me to restrict intake for a week – one Optifast meal a day, spread over 2 or 3 meals! Yikes! He says I won’t feel hungry.

One weird thing, the port is on my abdomen and just under the skin. I thought it would be under a bunch of fat. Turns out my fat is on the inside, surrounding the organs – the worst kind of fat (dangerous) and well suited to the Lap Band!

One more week and back on solids… with caution! One more check up before winging off to visit family and friends in Canada in July! I hope I can drink again by then…

Jabbed and tightened… the next step for “the band”!

Hey there “band” enthusiasts! Just a quick note to say things are still going great! Next Thursday I go in to have my first service on the Lap Band. They plunge a needle into my tummy and pump saline into the band adjustment port. Not as scary as it sounds (apparently). They say people are often more concerned about this part than they are about the surgery.

I flew to Brissy this week and what a pleasure it is to fit into aircraft seats a lot better… jumped into the seat (cattle class of course), wraped the seat belt around me with gay abandon (I used to need an extension some times – try asking a sexy “trolley dolly” for a belt extension and then check your self esteem meter… ugggghhhh). The snack came along and with a deft flick of the fingers, I released the level on the dreaded table, no contact with the slimmed belly (before I used to have to pull the old gut in to get the tray down to near level).

Next mission is being able to curl up sideways without dislodging the passenger next to me. I can try this on our visit to Canada, at worst I’ll only send Kitty Kat (my beautiful partner) sprawling into the isle!

Stay tuned for Thursdays needle into the abdomen…

Decreasing Al (formerly Big Al)!

Lap Band Surgery aftermath… prepare for an ugly sight…

…not the operation incisions, I mean the ugly belly!!!

It has been 2 weeks since I “went under the knife”. Dr Caska did a great job and was glowing in his praise for my preparation. He says obese men are the hardest to operate on for Lap Band placement. He requires a very strict Optifast regime to make my liver “manageable” for the procedure.  I had a BMI >50 so he laid down the law. Two weeks of 3 Optifast meals per day, followed by two weeks of 2 Optifast meals a day. I was allowed a cup of steamed vegies from a list each night. No booze!!! Surely this treatment is banned under the Geneva Convention? I guess the loophole is, the Geneva Convention only pertains to the treatment of prisoners of war 🙂

I did such a great job that Dr Caska put 3 mls of saline in my Lap Band during the operation. I had lost >20kg (45 lbs) on the Optifast in 4 weeks so my stomach had shrunk. My BMI was <45 after that month, my heart, pulse and blood pressure perfect and my Cholesterol was down to 4.4. I guess the Optifast does the trick! Their Chicken Soup was my saviour!

I am now healing very well. The first week I had some nasty times with gas, gout and constipation. All is well now, especially with some help from flax seed and metamusil. I am amazed how quick he scars heal up. 

I suspect the band needs adjustment already (2 week mark) as I have much of my hunger back. I am restricted in how much I eat in a meal, but with the hunger, you tend to pick in between. I have an appointment for a Lap Band adjustment in 2 weeks so I will just have to behave. The adjustment means they jab a respectably large needle into my abdomen. It does not hurt any more than giving blood.

I am on solid foods… no problem so far. I had a glass of red last night and was swinging off the chandeliers – and we only have down lights!

So, here is the picture you have been waiting for, feel free to adopt it as your computer screen background and for your family Christmas card!

 

Al's belly showing the 5 incisions for Lap Band Surgery!

Al's belly showing the 5 incisions for Lap Band Surgery!

 

Note: The plastic is the waterproof “bandages” – they came off after 12 days – piece of cake! Only the big cut had a couple of stitches. Try to control yourselves over that hairy chest 🙂

 

Out of Hospital!

I was operated on for the Lap Band yesterday. I am home the next day and it all went very well. I am very sore (with a nice dollop of gout to keep me off my toes) but feel glad to have that part over. Kitty is being wonderful as are Tim and Ben. I am feeling tired so more to follow later.

Lap Band Day!

A quickie… it is 6:20 on Tuesday May 19, Lap Band operation day! I am off to the hospital in 15 minutes. I weighed in for the last time before surgery, I have lost 39.6 lbs or exactly 18 kgs!!! That loss is from 4 weeks and 2 days on Optifast, I dropped from 3 Optifast meals per day to 2 per day 2 weeks ago.

I have been amazed how well I have handled the tough diet. We have had dinner parties, attended dinner parties, museum openings, fine restaurants and generally been around delicious food for the whole time. Torture!!! I have endured gout and a cold for the past 10 days.

My partner Kitty, and my boys, Tim and Ben, have been a power of strength and support! My friends, family and work-mates (including my bosses) have been wonderful! Kitty particularly had to endure my grumpy moods that came in the last 2 days (exacerbated by the gout especially).

Onwards and downwards!
Stay tuned!