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: Lap 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 Cheating!

OK, I’ll fess up, I’ll go quietly… I cheated… bigtime!

After the pain, risk and cost of having a prosthetic clamped around the top of my stomach, I set off on a course of beating it! MAN! What a goose! My only defense is very bad habits!

Rule #1 Don’t drink any liquid before, during or after a meal — Broken

Rule #2 Don’t drink too much alcohol — Broken

Rule #3 Use a small plate and small portions — Broken

Rule #4 Don’t eat between meals — Broken

What a fool I have been – bad habits! I cannot believe how hard it is not to drink even water with a meal. I look down and the glass in my hand and on the way to my lips… I need a good spanking.

Well, my doctor, who has a definite evil streak, has me sticking to the rules and eating/drinking 600 calories a day for six weeks. Lets see how that goes! Fat sucks! It is such an addiction!

I will win though!!! If it kills me and the doctor 🙂

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!

Lap Band Vacation!

Two weeks into visiting family and friends in Canada and I am down 1 pound! Not a big loss but I reckon there are a couple of factors here:

1. The Lap Band is still not fully in the sweet spot (so I eat a bit more), that should be changed next visit to get a needle in my abdomen.

2. More beer than my doctor would like, and lots of very fresh crab.

After country bars in Regina, Bushwacker’s pub and fabulous Dungarvan red beer, I am surprised things are not worse. Then I went to BC.. you know, salmon leaping, black bears dozing in the sun, impossibly beautiful forest…

… well I was out with my partner’s son, Jason, this morning. Way north on Vancouver Island, gliding across the glassy waters of the inside passage to empty the crab traps. We tracked a bald eagle just above our boat as a seal popped his head out of the water to see what the noise was. As I glanced to the horizon, huge mountains loomed above us, still covered with snow in mid summer.

Back to the dock, clean the crab and take it home to cook it. Jason insists his process for cooking crab is the only way and I have sampled enough batches to attest to the method. Perfect, fresh and tender crab every time.

So, if I can survive partying with my mates in Vancouver, golf on beautiful British Columbia courses and a little more of that sensational Canadian West Coast salmon, I might walk in the door at home in Sydney a pound down still 🙂

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 Everybody has a story and I would love to hear it!!!

The “Big Guy” is mine!

Living with an obese person has many challenges. The first and biggest challenge I faced early in the relationship was “do I want to get involved with someone who might not be around for very long?” I really had to think long and hard about this because I knew that Al was very obese. I know what his chances are of having a heart attack, stroke or any of the other medical problems that come along with obesity. Am I prepared for a potential “short term” relationship? When you really think about it, do we ever know how long the relationship will last or how healthy either of us will be next year or next week? One of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow and gone in the blink of an eye.

Then there are the challenges of friends and family. It was funny because this wasn’t something I really expected from friends, but it is where I heard it the most. “Isn’t he quite fat?” “Do you really want to be with an overweight person?” “Does it turn you off?” It made me realize that for some people, love doesn’t have much to do with it. Vanity really does come into play!

In the beginning I got caught up in this by feeling that I had to explain “he is a wonderful person, he has such an amazing soul to him, he’s so smart and successful, he loves me and appreciates my love in return. He is funny, witty and very very wise”. Would I have to say all of this or explain if he was of “normal” weight? I wonder! Then comes the big question “He must be rich then?” No, he’s not and would it make a difference if he was? The only thing that I have come to learn from all of this is that there are far too many shallow people in the world. I feel for them because they may be missing out on having a very deep meaningful relationship because they let their vanity and shallowness get in the way.

Another of the challenges of living with and loving an obese person, is when total strangers make comments. Al and I were out walking one day along a highway when a group of youths driving by in a car, slowed down just enough to shout “fat ass” and profanities at Al. It made me realize how sad the human race really is. I was much more angry than he was. He takes it all in stride, probably because he is used to it. I wanted to take him in my arms and shield him from these small people forever which is quite silly because Al is a “big boy” and is more than capable of looking after himself.

After living with Al for awhile the next challenge was not to say something when he was overeating. This is not something I have done very well at. I tend to make comments like “aren’t you full?” “Have you not had enough?” Silly me, because obviously he is not full and has not had enough. I find it so hard to sit back and watch a person that I love so much continue to destroy themselves. But, overeating (which is Al’s problem) is an addiction. He can’t just turn it off, nor can I. All I can do is support him in whatever effort he makes.

Which is what he is doing right now. Making an effort and then some. Yes, he had lap band surgery, but that doesn’t mean that you are just going to lose weight without effort. In fact, I have followed a few blogs where people are trying to figure out how to get a hamburger down post lap band! Why do it then???

One of the things I love about Al (and there are many) is his commitment when he makes a decision. From the moment he decided to have the surgery ( I was awestruck), he has been committed. He has put 110% into making it work which is why I know it will work. He will not give up or start to circumnavigate the advantages the lap band offers as long as you stick to the plan.

The bottom line is that I will support Al. It does not matter what the outcome is, he is my partner, my spouse, my love. It doesn’t matter if he weighs 350 pounds or 180 pounds, he is still the same Al (maybe more energetic), he is funny, witty, caring, loving, very very wise and he is mine!

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)!