Friday, March 12

A Frank Discussion on Bandster Hell

I admit - I poo-poo'ed bandster hell in the weeks leading up to and the weeks after my band surgery. My thoughts were along the lines of:
  • How can it be any harder than any of the eleventy billion other diets I've done?
  • After paying for and going through surgery, I'm certainly going to do everything I can to be successful, so no bandster hell is going to stop me.
  • I will be the poster child for lap-band surgery and lose weight, with or without restriction.

Um, not so much. I'm here to tell you that bandster hell sucks. Let's walk through a few of the (my?) misconceptions about bandster hell.

1. Bandster Hell is no harder than a regular diet. Just do what you've always done to lose weight. Sooo, it seems it's not quite that easy. I had a mental transition when I decided on lap-band surgery. I didn't (and don't) expect it to be easy, but I expect it to be doable. And if diets were doable, I wouldn't have needed a lap-band. It's circular, you see? Therefore, I am just not in the same place mentally as I was before, which is a good thing, but it does mean that I can't just do what I did before. It's just not possible when you've made the mental transition.

2. A few fills will at least get you closer to restriction, meaning bandster hell won't be quite so bad. HAHAHAHA, HOHOHOHO, how I wish. My experience has been that fills bring about all the bad (PB'ing, sticking, hiccups, etc.) before they bring about the good (restriction). Four fills and 10cc later, I am not at restriction. And I have no sense of prolonged satisfaction nor am I getting full on smaller amounts of food. But the hiccups and all the other fun bodily functions, oh baby, I got those! Quite honestly, it blows. Big time.

3. They might tell you it'll take up to 6 months to get to restriction, but for most people, it's not that long. Unfortunately, I totally fell for this one. I *knew* it could take 6-7 fills to get there, but I just *knew* I'd get there sooner. 6-7 fills might not sound like much, but let's do the math. Let's assume you get your first fill 6 weeks after surgery (which is pretty standard), and each fill every 3 weeks thereafter (splitting the difference between early fills happening every two weeks and later fills happening every four). 5 fills x 3 weeks = 15 weeks. Plus 6 from the first fill, and you are at 21 weeks. Or 5 months. Not so far from 6 months at all. Which sucks big time.

4. Coming off the liquid diet, you won't be as hungry and your portions will be smaller. Somehow, I fell for this one, too. I seem to be gullible these days. Yeah, for the first weeks, this was kinda true, but not really. And then as time went on, it was totally not true. I can put away as much as I did pre-surgery. I don't (most of the time), but I certainly can. And still want to.

5. Soon enough, it'll be a distant memory as you are enjoying your new skinny body, and you'll wonder why you stressed over those few short months anyhow. So, this is the one I am still hanging onto as a truth and not a misconception. And I do believe it. I *know* it's true. I *know* I'll be there soon enough. And when I sit down to write my one-year bandiversary post, I'll have lost 120 lbs (my one year goal), and a few weeks here or there won't have made a difference.

So, there you have it. My frank and forward thoughts on bandster hell. I am in it. Right in the middle of it. Off to call the surgeon's office and see when they'll see me again. I am afraid they are going to say 4 weeks. I am going to cry and plead for 2, hoping they'll pity me and at least agree to 3. I'm paying them for fills now; you'd think they'd let me come whenever! Ha, I know it's not just about the money, but seriously.

On other notes, I exercised again yesterday for two days this week, which was my goal. My goal for next week is 3x for a total of 4 miles. The following week is 4x for 6 miles. And the following week is 4x for 8 miles. And by that time, I'll be bored with walking and need to mix it up. And hopefully back in shape enough that I can tackle something else.

Oh, and for the record, I've been really good food-wise since my fill, worked out twice, took the kids for two walks, and have gained .4 lbs in the last two days. Lovely.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. You must be very frustrated. I have read many people who have talked about not feeling any restriction for a week or so after a fill and then, Boom, they need to be unfilled. It seems to be a pretty mysterious little device sometimes. Please keep blogging.

  2. awww Amy-- first: your new picture is totally adorable.
    Second-- you are smart and funny as a whip
    Third-- we WILL Get there, b/c there is a there to get to... that's all I can say. This band thing is going to come together, it may be a painful wait, but there has been progress along the way.
    I feel your pain, bigtime.