Weigh-Ins are on MONDAYS - Updated July 3, 2017

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Yes, it has been exactly a year since my surgery.  Time has flown by!

This post is for all the pre-ops and newbies looking into gastric banding surgery.

I hope that I can provide some insight into what life has been like for the past year.  Please keep in mind that each bandster's journey is unique.  I don't think that there are any words of wisdom below...but rather what I did along my journey to make the band work for me.  Keep in mind, everybody's journey is different.

Looking back on my mindset back on my day of surgery, Tuesday October 20, 2009, I remember how I was so determined to make this final weight loss attempt a complete success.  I had tried everything...Weight Watchers many, many times...Atkins...South Beach...you name it, I had tried it.
I have almost lost all of my excess body weight...Wow...a strange concept...I am still trying to wrap my head around that

Why do I think that I have been successful with my band? Sure, I try to keep doing all the things that I shared in THIS POST back in January, however I'm not anywhere close to perfect, so there are days when I don't do any of those things.

Here are some other reasons why I think that I've been successful with my band:
  • I tell everyone and anyone that has asked "how are you losing weight?" about the band.  For me, this is a way to keep myself accountable.  It is also a chance to share info with others that may benefit from learning about different options of weight loss surgery that are out there.  My response to that question usually goes like this "Well, I eat about 1200 calories a day of high-protein foods, exercise about 4 times a week, and I had lapband surgery in October"  My hope is that they realize that it's about more than just the band.
  • I have a very "black and white" mentality about a lot of things in life...in my brain things are either "right" or "wrong".... and "on" or "off".  Therefore, I really threw myself into this journey of being a compliant lapband patient.  Don't worry, I am trying to find those "gray" areas in life and on this journey...it's still a learning experience each day.
  • My slight obsession with personal finance and budgetingSuze Orman is my BFF....catch my drift?   I don't buy anything over about $500 without researching it thoroughly on Consumer Reports, Cnet.com, and making at least 1 spreadsheet.  OCD? Structured?  Absolutely.   Since my insurance coverage through work is CRAP, I was/am a self pay patient.  I was (and still am) focused on the THOUSANDS of dollars that I spent on the pre-op appts, surgery, and aftercare.  Can you say E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E.?  But totally worth each and every penny.  From my calculations, that's about $161 per pound lost.  I would probably be driving a new-to-me (used) Honda if I hadn't had the surgery.  Therefore, I sometimes remind myself of the analogy that I wouldn't put sand in a new car's gas tank, then why would I shove junk food in my mouth.
  • A FABULOUS surgeon's practice that is very aggressive with fills (Hi Reeger! NP Extraordinaire!).  The aftercare is SO IMPORTANT.  Sure, I could have found a cheaper surgeon farther away, but I personally wanted to be close to my surgeon's practice in case of any problems and for fills.  My surgeon's office is about 4 miles from my house and work.  I can get fills/unfills pretty much as often as I want (within reason, of course).  I have heard horror stories from my support group where patients had to wait 6 months post-op for their first fill at other practices. yikes!  I had 4+ ccs in my band at surgery and even passed up my first fill at 4 weeks post-op because I didn't need it.  Check out how fast I dropped the weight back then.  I love my Lap Band.  The Realize band is empty until the first fill in the office.  I have learned from others in my support group who have the Realize band that there are sometimes hunger issues early on - before any fills. 
I my opinion, the band is not a cure all or a quick fix for weight loss.  Here's my take on it:
  • The band does about a 30% of the weight loss "task."  Keeps me full longer and keeps my portions small.
  • 70% is MENTAL.  Yep, in my opinion, it's mostly up to me and my mind.  There's a lot more mental work involved than I originally thought at the beginning of this journey.  I have to make correct food choices, whether to exercise or not, take my vitamins...etc.
  • Am I still tempted by foods that I shouldn't eat?  ABSOLUTELY...every day...isn't everyone? Would I rather sit on the couch after work and watch TV instead of going to Zumba or for a power walk?  YES.  Therefore, one of my biggest fears is that my old behaviors will creep back in to my life and I'll gain all the weight back...
What have I GAINED from this experience?
  • An incredible network of support and friendship that I never expected to find in all my fellow bandsters and weight loss bloggers.
  • An understanding that for me, the band is for appetite suppression and not extreme restriction to the point of only being able to get liquids down.  If I eat a sensible small protein-based meal (1/2 a cup to 1 cup), I will not get hungry for 4-5 hours after.  That's what the band is for me.
  • A huge amount of respect for those who can make exercise a daily part of their lives.  No days off, just "gotta do it" attitude.  I still struggle with exercise, but I know that it is the key for me to keep the weight off.
  • The concept that there is no "done" on this journey.  There are goals to achieve and check off my list, but I will never be "done"....there is only "now"
  • And of course, a whole new wardrobe of size 8 bottoms and medium tops! YAY!
What have I LOST from this experience?
  • 102 lbs!  Another YAY!
  • The need fo prescription blood pressure meds
  • Knee pain after walking or up just one flight of stairs
  • Waking up in the morning with back pain
  • Swollen ankles and feet at the end of the day
  • The need to sleep all of the time...I was so tired.
  • My size 22/24 clothes
  • My size 44DD bras (yikes!)
What do I wish that I had done differently on this journey?
  • Taken my measurements (waist, hips, thighs, neck, wrist, etc) pre-op.  When the scale was unkind to me at a weigh-in, it would have been nice to see the measurements shrinking.
  • Better understood that each bandster's experiences are their own and we're all unique in our journey with this band.  I wish I hadn't compared my self to other bandsters. 
My recommendations for pre-op bandsters:
  • Ask your surgeon to take pics of your band when they're inside you on the OR table.  My band photos that I keep on my fridge is a daily reminder of this lifestyle that I chose. It might be a little gross/graphic, but it's a good reminder for me.
  • Find a chewable multi-vitamin you can tolerate the taste/size of...I still haven't found the one I like.  I keep bouncing back and forth between Bariatric Advantage, Bariatric Fusion, and the Unjury brands.
  • Find a way to make yourself accountable.  I do this with my Friday weigh-in posts.  I weigh in and post it every friday here on my blog...good or bad...I post it.  I will continue to do this when I enter maintenance.  Find your method of accountability.  Maybe a good friend? I have even heard of people who tweet their weight loss/gain for the week.  Whatever works for you.  I have a friend that will occasionally ask for me to text her a photo of me from the Gym/Zumba Class/etc to keep me accountable to exercise.
I am sending out BIG thank-you's and hugs to everyone that have been a part of my journey so far, in the blogging world and in my real live day-to-day.  I have appreciated your support and continued encouragement...I love my cheering section!


  1. You have been, and still are one of the biggest inspirations in my weight loss journey! All i can say is CONGRATS!! I can only hope (and of course work very hard) to have as much success as you did!!

  2. What an absolutely inspirational post! Being fairly new to my journey, this is so helpful and answers lots of the questions that like to careen around in my head.

    I found a pretty decent chewable multi-v - I ordered from Puritan's Pride when I did my vitamin shopping. It's the Adult Chewable, and it's (so they say) pineapple flavored. I don't think I get pineapple, necessarily, but it's not bad. Not too pricey either, and they regularly do buy 1, get 2 free sales.

  3. Happy bandiversary! I am def. writing down some of this for future use. ie. the weekly weigh in for accountablity and measuring. The concept that you are never done with this lifestyle is a hard one to really get in my pre band mind. I also agree about the 70% mental. Thanks for sharing my dear!

  4. HAPPY BANDIVERSARY!!! WOW what an inspiration! I was struck by how much we have in common...except the bra size (training bra here). Your transformation both mentally and physically is amazing!! Thanks!

  5. Happy Bandiversary! What an awesome post too, you really have your thoughts together--so healthy!!

  6. Congrats on the Bandiversary and what a wonderful post.

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I am scheduled for next Tuesday, so I am very grateful for this post to kind of start me off with. And, you look beautiful!

  8. Great post! I go for my surgery in 10 days (yikes) and I find myself asking a lot of questions you just answered. Thank you for that, and for giving me even more reason to start this journey ♥

  9. You are such a major inspiration to me, and I LOVE that can totally hear your sweet voice when I read your words now.

    Have you tried gummy vitamins? I really enjoy my 3 gummy dinosaurs every day - that's my "dessert" and I truly look forward to it. My doctor said that since we don't malabsorb, just take a regular kids' vitamin and don't worry about bariatric vitamins. I DO take extra vitamin D (prescription) and B12 (non-prescription) because those were the things that were a little low, but other than that, the gummy multis do the trick.

  10. Congratulations LBG! You are doing fantastic and are a true inspiration. Keep up the great work.

    Happy bandiversary! *HUGS*

  11. Congratulations! This is an awesome post & you look beautiful - well done :)

  12. What an amazing post!!! Congrats on your progress, you've done amazingly well and are someone to watch and learn from.

  13. Happy Bandiversary! You are an official BANDSTER SUPERSTAR!

  14. You are AMAZING! 102 lbs!!! Holy freak! Even though I'm already banded, I enjoyed this post. Lots of good tips.

    RE: vitamins. I get children's gummy vitamins at Costco. I've also seen them at grocery stores. The package has the adult RDA info too. They taste like candy.

    Are your "inside" pics available on your blog somewhere? I've seen a couple, but I find it really interesting.

  15. I agree with Amanda...Holy Freak!!! That is great...Congrats and thaks for sharing so openly...YEAH 102 lbs Woo Hoo...that is an incredible accomplishment.

  16. Happy Bandiversary!!You have are such an amazing woman. You have worked that band...


    As a not-yet-banded follower - thanks for the tips about measurements etc. I only have 25 days to go until my surgery.

    Your results have been amazing and I know with a lot of hard work and cooperation with my band I will get there too!

  18. I got to meet you befor my surgery and stated following your blog and others then. I can not say how much I have gained from your Journey and how you have helped me in my own Journey, Thank You for your insperation and congates!

  19. Happy Bandiversary...you've done a tremendous job and are an inspiration to us all.

  20. Happy Bandiversary!!! You've accomplished so much and should be so amazingly proud of yourself, as I know we all are of you! This is yet another amazing post from you, full of wonderful information!! Thanks and congratulations!

  21. Happy Bandiversary! Congratulations on all of your fabulous progress.

  22. Happy bandiversary!! And, congratulations on all of the changes you have made during this incredible year! You look wonderful -- and I love the cute new gym outfit from your most recent post.

    This was such a great post in so many ways. My 2nd bandiversary is this Saturday, and I've been thinking over so many of these things. It was especially nice to read your thoughts while I am mulling over all of these things as well. Congratulations. :)

    BTW, year no. 2 is even better than no. 1 in so many ways!! And, as I'm entering year no. 3, I feel just plain amazing. I think my head is finally most of the way caught up with my body!

  23. Happy Bandiversary! That is such an impressive accomplishment and you give a newbie like myself a lot of inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  24. Rock star!
    I remember meeting you prior to you having your surgery. You were beautiful then but you are looking Amazing!
    Great post too!
    Happy Bandiversary!

  25. Great blog! Congratulations on all you have accomplished in one short year. Holy smokes! I hope I am able to blog about similar results next year. I was banded 10/4/10 (so just shy of your 1 year). You have so much great advice and I am planning to get up right now and go take my measurements.

    Thanks for sharing your journey.

    Libby at http://thisonetimeinbandcamp.blogspot.com/

  26. Happy Bandiversary! Great Post. Congrats!!

  27. Awesome post. This is so great. Would you mind if I just repost this on the S.O.B. Blog? Rather than having you answer the questions - because I think you answered everything and more here! This is incredibly helpful!

    And now I see why I am such a slow loser...I am the opposite of you in so many ways! Starting with unorganized, not black & white, not worried enough about money...etc. LOL! Seriously, I think your personality is really a great part of your success, and its so interesting that you noted those personality aspects.

    You are so right about the mental part, too.

    Thanks so much. And HUGE Congrats!!!!

  28. Sure Gen, post away :) Thank you for your kind words.

  29. Congrats on your one year! You are such an amazing example of how to do this! <3