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

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Are You Embarrassed to Have a Lap Band?

I'm not embarrassed about my band...at ALL.

You know me...If you let me, I'll get carried away and talk to people about my band until their eyes glaze over and they're bored out of their minds.  And don't forget one of my favorite inappropriate questions that I ask people: "Wanna feel my port?"  (why does that always sound naughty? ....ha ha ha). 

I realize that I am in the minority with my extreme openness about my band.

Anywhoozle, I get emails daily from people researching the possibility of getting a band.  Today, there was a question via email that I couldn't figure out an answer to because I just could not relate.

So, here's your chance to help a potential bandster out:

Cookie** is interested in getting the band, but is having feelings of embarrassment and can't imagine telling anyone about the fact that she is even researching the band.  Cookie also said that getting a band was like admitting that she has a weight problem that she couldn't fix on her own.

So, my questions for you are:
  • What were your feelings when you first researched getting the band? Embarrassed? Excited? Scared? Happy? Etc?
  • Do you tell people about your band? If you do, how do you tell people? 
  • Do you only tell certain people?
  • Any other advice for Cookie?
    Cookie will be reading your responses and comments.


    **Not her real name (duh.)


    1. I was accepting that I had a problem that I could not manage on my own. I was excited that I might start being able to move forward with my life but a bit scared about the surgery, lifestyle changes, my husband's reaction.

      I am not at all embarassed by my band, but I have still chosen to keep the band a private matter. I wouldn't feel the need to announce if I were using other medical aids (diet pills), so I don't feel the need to divulge this. I also have some very judgmental friends and family (read today's post re: my dad). It is just easier for me to not have to deal with explaining the band to people.

      If Cookie is looking at the band, I'll bet you dollars to donuts (assuming you won't get stuck on them) that she DOES have a problem. Most people cannot fix this issue alone. I encourage her to research the band and see if it is a good fit for her. From what I see, overeaters do well with the band. People with compulsive eating disorders (and those who eat lots of ice cream, chocolate, etc.) tend to do less well. The band does not change your head. If your head is still craving tons of liquid calories, the band won't be able to help.

      Good luck Cookie!

    2. I pondered getting the band for 2 years. I felt ashamed that I could not lose the weight on my own. I finally decided to speak to my husband about it when my blood pressure was climbing and I was snoring so loud I was waking him every night. Thankfully, John was and still is very supportive of me and the band. Suprisingly, I am very open about the band. Sometimes I feel the need to let people know when I am eating around others. More times than not, they think I don't like my food! After losing 70 pounds, I no longer snore or have high blood pressure. I exercise everyday, but I still struggle with food choices and drinking enough water. This relationship with food will be with me for the rest of my life. At least with the band, I may have a much longer and happier life to live!

    3. My first thought was:
      How can you honestly think about such a major change in your life if you cannot even admit it publicly that you have a problem?

      I think so much is in our head - it can even determine your success - or failure...

      So I am one of those people who does not advertise their band. However, people closest to me know about it. I did not involve them in the decision making (not even my husband) as that was strictly and only mine to make, but I told them about my plans and time-frame. Some of my closest family only learnt it a week after my operation, as I did want to spare them the worrying.

      So my advise to Cookie:
      You have to be 100% honest with yourself! If you are in denial, then it might not work...
      However, you are not obliged to tell anyone else apart from your closest family, maybe. You can make this decision later down the line. As you learn more your fear and shame might disappear; and who knows you might end up shouting from the rooftops too...
      Just be honest with yourself!

    4. Oh gosh, I'm like you LBG. I'm definitely not embarrassed to have my band. I talk about it openly to just about anyone. When I was first researching the band (and found out that I qualified for the surgery) I was incredibly excited but also apprehensive. I tried so hard to lose weight the "normal" way....eat less and healthfully, exercise more. I tried EVERYTHING, and I was apprehensive that the band wouldn't work for me. But I was hopeful, too. Scared, but hopeful.

      I understand people that don't want to share with others about their band or their experience. Not everyone is as open as I am. Plus, there might be a stigma associated with it. For instance, when I was interviewing for my current job, I didn't tell them about my surgery until AFTER I was hired because I didn't want them to think I could be a medical liability to the company or something. So in that case I kept the information to myself. Sharing about the band is deeply personal, and if you don't want to share, you don't have to.


    5. I ask people all the time if they want to feel my port! Hahahaha :) They usually don't though, which makes me sad ... oh well!

      I was nervous when I first started researching the band, but probably mostly just about having surgery in general. I've never been one to fear asking for help with my problems. And of course I was scared as to what kind of huge changes I would have to make with my eating, but I realized it was either keep going the way I was and die young, or make some small sacrifices and be much happier overall with my life.

      I've never regretted having the band and I am sooo much happier and healthier than I ever thought I could be!

    6. Alright Cookie...
      What were your feelings when you first researched getting the band? Embarrassed? Excited? Scared? Happy? Etc?
      - I had considered the band in the past, but it was actually my doctor who suggested I consider it. It was when I mentioned to him that I was back on Weight Watchers AGAIN. And that I had been hitting the gym with vigor. Yet my weight was up from my last visit with him. My doctor only asked me to consider it and left it at that. I went home and cried my face off, then called a family member to discuss it. Here's a link to my story if you're interested. I wrote all about the experience. http://newtlesandwingdings.blogspot.com/2011/04/settling-in-and-sharing-with-famalam.html

      Do you tell people about your band? If you do, how do you tell people?
      I tell people about it sometimes. Some people more so than others. It comes up if I'm out to eat with friends of friends, and they're trying to shovel food at me. And sometimes it's just easier to say, I had weight loss surgery and that doesn't work so well with me. Typically it only stirs a little conversation if any. And honestly, I have found that people are much more interested or excited about it that I thought they would be. I have found more support than I could ever imagine in just being honest.

      Do you only tell certain people?
      I think the initial shock of the surgery has worn off for me and that I am telling less and less people. In the beginning I found it tough to keep it to myself, but as I'm getting used to the idea of it, it becomes less of a topic in my own head for discussion. (Mind you I'm only 7 weeks out from surgery)

      Any other advice for Cookie?
      I think the toughest part of this whole process for me was admitting to MYSELF that I could not get this under control without some help. I finally realized that here I am at 35 years old, and I could either struggle to get this weight off for next 5 years and studies show, I probably won't be very successful. OR I could go ahead, do the surgery, have the help that I need, and know that I have a MUCH higher probability of being successful and staying successful for the rest of my life had I not done it. The rewards far outweigh the risks and once you start dropping the weight, honestly you'll feel so good that you won't give a sh!t who knows you had surgery.

    7. When I was first looking into getting a band I was embarrassed that I had let myself get so far out of control. After a minute of thinking about it more I got very pissed off. Just the whole idea that I knew I couldn't do it on my own. It was a moment that kind of broke my spirit down. Though I knew I was doing something for me in the long run. This was never an overnight decision, it took me almost 2 yrs before I got my band.
      I do tell people about my band. I also ask people if they want to feel my port lol. I don’t ever offer up the information willingly but if someone asks how I did I will tell them I have a band and tell them how it works. I know the majority of my work knows that I have a band and I work in a military facility were most of them are very fit. I don't feel that embarrassment anymore and I know that I really do have a lot of support. My mom knows and she is ok with it as well. I did not tell my dad’s side of the family only for the fact that I knew they wouldn’t understand my reasons for doing it. I never felt that was a battle that needed to be taken on. But they are still proud of the weight I have lost.
      The biggest most important piece of advice I could give is to make sure you have support. You could have the strongest resolve in the world but if you don’t have that support in the background then you will fail. Surround yourself with the people in your life that love you and don’t feel shame in making a decision to better yourself. Also stay connected with others with a band both with more experience then you and less. You can always learn something new and grow.
      Good luck Cookie. I hope you make the best decision for you :)

    8. What a thought provoking post today LBG!

      Ok, my personal feelings are yes, I am embarrassed that I was unable to tackle my weight problem without help. I was embarrassed that my blood tests were coming back increasingly higher and I was in danger of developing diabetes as well as cholesterol problems. I work with some very judgemental coworkers, one in particular and I didn't and still don't want to deal with having resorted to WLS.

      I have now told 7 people in my life. More may know, but I have only personally told 7 people. I told my hubby, my mother in law, my bestie, one other coworker in HR, and three cousins.

      One of my cousins I just told this past week while I was on vacation. He looked at me a bit surprised and asked if I'd lost weight. I smiled and said, Yep, close to 50 lbs. He was so surprised and asked how I'd done it. I replied that I have been working out in the gym 5 days a week, alternating cardio and weight lifting. I have reduced my portions, increased my protein overall and decreased my carbs overall. He smiled and nodded. I then admitted to my band. I said, "I also have had a minor surgery to insert a Laproscopic band around my stomach." I mentioned how it helped keep my portions in check and how I only ate aproximately 1 - 1.5 C of food at a meal. I mentioned how my biggest problem pre-band was overeating. It didn't matter if it was burgers and gravy fries or if it was chicken breast and broccoli. I had a problem with large portions and never feeling satisfied. Now I have a little helper that helps me feel satisfied with less food and keep my hunger in check for several hours between meals.

      I felt the need to explain first that I did all this hard work and behavior modification to lose the 50 lbs. Then I was honest about having the WLS to help keep my appetite in check.

      So, if I could do it over again now...I would probably have been honest with people from the beginning. But I feel it's too late for that now and am just as fine with 99% of the people I know not knowing the full truth. They know the important stuff. The exercise, the protein, the lower carbs and the healthful eating. That's good enough for people that really aren't that important to me.

    9. I'm not getting a band, but I understand where Cookie is coming from. I think she needs to think of weight loss surgery as a tool, just like any other weight loss tool. Weight Watchers is a tool, as are all the other things we all have tried over the years in order to get healthy.

      I don't think you have to tell everyone you meet about it, but I do think letting the people closest to you know is a good idea. We all need support! I'd suggest first telling someone you're pretty sure will be supportive. I find that the more people I tell, the easier it gets, and the more confident I feel in handling potentially unsupportive responses.

      Also, Cookie, if you're blogging, there's lots of support to be had in the blogging community. I know many of us would be glad to follow your journey, if you'd like it. :)

    10. I am not embarrassed about having a band. But I'm horribly embarrassed about needing it.

      Initially I did not even want to tell my family about the surgery. Only my husband. In fact, I didn't tell my mother until 3 days before I went to the hospital. And I only told her because I would have hated for her to get a call out of nowhere telling her that something had gone wrong.

      I have told more people as time has gone on. But it's still something I keep to myself for the most part. My philosophy is that I can always tell people later if I had to. Once you tell someone you can't un-tell them.

      My mother had gastric bypass in 2002 so WLS was not a new idea to me. And I won't lie, I thought about it often. But I assumed that my psychiatric diagnoses would prevent me from being a candidate. Eventually I got my depression and eating disorder under (relative) control though. I researched the band seriously for a few months then sucked it up and made an appt for a physical with my doctor hoping to find the courage to bring it up. Fortunately, she brought it up first and made the necessary referrals for me.

      I wish Cookie the best of luck and I agree with Shannon that support is the most important thing. All the self-confidence in the world can falter if you are surrounded by a bunch of nay-sayers. But a good support system can keep you in the game when you're struggling.

    11. When I first started researching the lapband, I was excited but also embarrassed that I had let myself get to the point where I needed surgical intervention. This embarassment kept me from telling many people...even to this day.

      My initial plan was to only tell my DH and sons but I ended up telling my Mother and MIL too and swore them both to secrecy. As it has turned out, I wasn't able to keep it as private as I wanted because my DH told some co-workers and my MIL told a few family members.

      Right now, I would say that there is a small number of people who know about it and there are some people who I will never choose to tell because I know that the reaction will not be positive. Just keep in mind that if you don't want everyone to know then you need to be VERY confident that those you do tell will keep it to themselves...the more people that know, the more likely it will get out...and I know all too well how devastating it can be to have someone you trust spill the beans.

      Best of luck to Cookie...I can tell you that this is absolutely the best thing I have ever done for myself and I wouldn't change it for anything!

    12. Thank you! I know I have a problem, I have tried for years to fix it on my own and I always fail. That's the part that kills me. I'm a FIXER!! I'm a doer, I'm the one in control! Family issues, work, and political campaigns for crying out loud!! I fix, I manage, I'm in control...but not with my weight. Thank you all for your advice. I just got married last month and I have an amazing husband and I want to be completely healthy and happy. I honestly feel like everything in my life is perfect but my internal battles and struggles with my weight. I know I have a problem, I know people know I have a problem...I just don't like failing and that's how I kind of feel. Your comments and advice do calm me. I am doing all my research first and I'm attending a seminar in two weeks about the band. I want to make 110% sure that this is right for me before I tell anyone. I know my husband and family will be very supportive, but like I said, it's like saying, "Hey...I'm a FAILURE!!" and that's HARD! Thank you all and I'll keep you posted. ~Cookie

    13. I am embarrassed, but only because I'm still fat and I've had this thing for 20 months. Otherwise, happy to tell people.

    14. Initially I was super excited and willing to share the band with anyone. I still have no problem telling someone I have it if need be but I am kind of embarrassed now. I wouldn't be so much if I had lost the weight I should have by now. I have literally reverted and gained almost every pound I first lost back. That is the embarrassing part.

    15. I'm afraid I am like you, and can not relate to the embarrassment of having a band. I also am VERY open about my band, and will tell anyone that even kind of seems interested. I have also been known to thrust my band at people trying to get them to feel it as well. I was turned on to the whole thing by a stranger that was completely open about her band with me (thanks again Steph (dreams of skinny high heels)), and because of that, I am completely open. Everyone who looked at me knew I had a weight problem, so admitting that I needed help was not an embarrassement to me at all. I am no more embarrassed of my band than I would be telling people that I needed the help of a dietitian or personal trainer to help me lose weight, as I feel that they are all just tools to help in the weight loss journey.

    16. When my cardiologist first suggested that I look into lapband surgery I was mortified. I thought, "I don't need that. I can lose this weight on my own." When I finally realized that no, I couldn't do it on my own and started the process of getting prepared for surgery I was incredibly excited. I couldn't stop thinking about losing my extra weight and keeping it off. I slowly started telling people that I was going to have the surgery. I told family and friends first. I was hesitant to tell people at work because I was afraid of their reactions but one by one I told basically everyone I know. Everyone has been very supportive and excited for me. I've only had one or two people who couldn't understand why I was having the surgery and couldn't just do it on my own. Obviously they've never struggled with weight. In that situation all I could do was inform them that I do, in fact, need help and cannot keep the weight off on my own. The information helped them to see that I was doing it for the right reasons. I am thankful every day that I made the choice to get a lapband and that I was fortunate enough to be able to do so.

    17. I am an open book with anyone currently in my life. If I just met you or you are a close friend...if I have talked to you face to face in the last year, I guarantee you know about my Lap Band. But I don't post about it on FB, I don't tell people that I only talk through phone or email. I don't think I'm embarrassed about it per se, I just like it to be a part of the conversation.

    18. I am not embarrassed at all about it... In fact I have told a lot of people. Everyone at work knows... and all of my good friends know. I am very excited about getting it in October.

      I also learned by telling my boss that her daughter had it done... and she was telling me all about it.

      I dont feel like everyone should be as open about it as I am, but there is nothing to be ashamed about.

      Admitting you have a problem and seeking help for said problem is the first step to any journey!

    19. I was no more embarrassed about getting a lapbad as I was walking into our WW meeting for the millionth time.

      I chose not to tell people as I ran a business in a very small town. I was putting enough pressure on myself to lose the weight that I didn't need the small town gossip going on.

      I did choose the share my lapband with a couple of close friends. One of which also went on to have the procedure done and was also able to overcome her fertility issues.

      Cookie - you need to do what is best for you. Just because you get the band you will not just lose weight because of it. You still need to make a lifestyle change. The only difference for me with the band Vs without is that I no longer obsess about food.

      I've decided to make this a post over on my blog so I can stand on my soapbox! GREAT POST LBG!

    20. I was excited when researching the band, and I looked into it for about a year before I took the first step of bringing it up with my GP.She was very supportive as was my hubby which helps bigtime.I have told a few friends and 2 coworkers,and all my family know.It's not such an issue for me now,I feel more comfortable and confident of my decision.My only embarrassment intially on telling people ,is the fact I felt ashamed I couldn't get control of my weight without help,but having said that I'm kind of proud now ,I bit the bullet and even at my early stage(15.5 kgs down)I feel like a new person in so many ways! Good Luck Cookie with your decision,as soon as I made mine I felt liberated!!

    21. I am not embarrassed now, but I was at the beginning. I kept it a BIG secret at first (mostly because I wasn't sure if I would fail) and I was MORTIFIED to find out that my husband had told a friend and my mom had told my aunt and uncles. Now - I'll tell anyone. Total strangers. Co-workers. Not a problem. After I started seeing some success, I felt much better talking about it.

    22. I researched the band for nearly two years before deciding on it. I was not scared until the day before my surgery. I was excited and very committed and began losing weight before I was banded.

      I told the people who love me, and they were all very supportive. Everyone wanted to see me lose the weight. They knew of my struggles they lived them with me.

      I even told those I worked with. I am not afraid to tell anyone. I want to help others who feel there is no way out of this hell of being obese and controlled by food.

      My advice is to read and read and talk to people who have it, look at the good as well as the bad. Be prepared for very hard work. The band is not a WAND that will magically erase years of bad habits and emotional eating.

      Find support groups and listen to your body, and really ask yourself why you eat when you are NOT hungry. Get into an exercise program and stay!!

      We all are recovering from obesity, and I will help anyone who asks.

    23. My experience is quite different. I enrolled in a WeightWise program with the possibility of 3 WL surgeries if I was successful. I assumed that if i was successful, I wouldn't need either of them. Was I wrong! I needed it to maintain and to avoid excuses! The band has changed my brain completely!

      I chose LB because it was the least extreme and I could have it removed if I found it wasn't for me. I did not tell anyone initially besides the Mister and the Bestie. I told my Mom the day that I left the hospital and my Dad (they're divorced) a week later. They were totally supportive. I've told a few coworkers and friends but I don't discuss it with the general public beacuase I am a pretty private person in regards to allot of things.

      I do however still find myself not sharing because I feel like people discount the hard work that I have put in to this. The mental battle, the workouts, the planning ahead to make sure that I succeed. 80lbs down and I still have no restriction so I feel like I don't want people to think that I just had this little shock collar put around my stomach and it fixed everything. You dig? :P