Lapband Weight Loss – Week 11 – 22kg

As the days fly by leading up to Christmas, I realised the other day I hadn’t weighed myself or blogged for FOREVER!.

So, I jumped on the scales…. and then did a happy dance 🙂

When I weighed myself this morning I was 96.8kg. I am now officially under 100kg!

That means my BMI has dropped from 39 to 31. Once my BMI drops below 30, I will actually no longer be classified as ‘obese’… I will simply be ‘overweight’.

This is a very exciting milestone for me. Last time I was below 100kg it was just before my wedding. I had to exercise and diet incessantly for 12 months to get there. I remember feeling frustrated that I was working so hard and getting no where fast. Not this time. The weight is just falling off me.

To celebrate I thought I would share some before and after pictures. Pretty big difference eh!

The Before

Photo taken of me the day of my lapband operation.

Photo of me taken 11 weeks after my lapband operation.

Photo of me taken 11 weeks after my lapband operation.

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Lapband Weight Loss Week 5 – 14kg

As my Lapband journey continues, I have to say I am astounded at the level of my weight loss.

On the 24th October 2013 I went in for a fill and check up. When I jumped on the scales my weight had dropped to 104.7kg. That is exactly 14kg lower than when they weighed me on the day of my operation, and 15kg lower than when I made the decision to get a lapband.

Now here is the interesting part. It appears that the rapidness of my weight loss is not normal. Most people who have gastric banding lose weight at a much slower rate. So why is this a problem? Well, at the moment it really isn’t a problem. However it does make my doctors concerned that maybe I am not being totally honest with them. I was drilled a bit at my last check up, with a particular focus on whether I had been vomiting.

You see, what happens to some patients is they can’t hold any food down, and spend quite a bit of the first stage post lap-banding vomiting up everything they eat. While this is disturbing for many of them, because they get really rapid weight loss, they don’t tell the doctors. They sort of get hooked on the weight loss.

Personally, I find vomiting gross. I am not someone who has vomited frequently in their life. I can count on one hand the number of times I have vomited in my adult life. And I can tell you now, had I been vomiting, I would have been on their door step every day until we got it sorted.

So why do I think I have lost weight so quickly?

1. The size of my meals is probably smaller than what they recommend – but I am struggling to eat more food. I have tried putting more food on my plate, but I just don’t feel like eating it and end up throwing it in the bin.

2. I have been walking an average of 15,000 steps a day – to kick start my fitness regime, I decided to join the 10,000 step challenge at my work. I have been walking to and from the station when I go to work, and have included a lunch time walk on most days. As a result, I have been averaging 15,000 steps a day. This is the equivalent of walking 15km a day, or about 1 1/2 hours a day of walking.

Do I expect to keep losing weight at this level? No. I think it is more realistic to expect to lose 1/2 to 1kg a week moving forward. Plus, it is probably better for my health if the weight loss slows.

So after discussing all of this with my doctor, we made the decision not to add any more fluid to my band at this stage and to schedule my next appointment for 1 month down the track.

Lapband Weight Loss Week 3 – 8kg

I went to see my surgeon on 1 October to do a check up and get some fluid put in my band. My surgeon, Paul O’Brien, always does his first check up and fill at the 3 week mark, to help avoid you getting hungry.

Unlike most of his patients… this was not my first fill.

A couple of days after surgery they took out 1.5ml because I was having difficulty swallowing liquids (most likely because of post op swelling). I then had to go back a week after (once the swelling had gone down) to get it topped back up so I didn’t start getting hungry. They actually timed it just right. I started feeling hungry for the first time on Tuesday afternoon. So I was definitely not going to last another 2 weeks until my appointment with my surgeon.

So while for most patients this would be their 1st fill…. for me it was my 3rd experience with changing the saline level in my port. I had 0.5ml of saline injected through my port into my lapband. I currently have about 3.5ml. Even though this is low compared to the levels other may have, it appears to be working really well for me.

As part of the process they weighed me, and I was really pleased with my weight loss.  I was 110 kg, which is over 8 kg down from my pre-op weight in just 3 weeks. I was obviously pretty happy with this 🙂 My surgeon was pretty happy with it too. He said they would have expected me to be at 105kg by the 6 month mark but I am well on track to be below that. I am aiming to be at 95kg or less by then.

The great thing for me, is this weight loss has been stress free. I have literally not felt hungry. And when I do eat, the amount I eat is less than what my 1-year-old has. Best of all, I have had no problems with food coming back up – which I know can be really common at this stage. My energy levels are great, and I am walking for over an hour every day.

So all in all, I have to say the lapband is working for me.

Mashing it up with my Lapband

The liquid phase of my diet is now over. I have officially moved to the mash stage.

To be honest, I really haven’t been that interested in food. So it has been a bit hard to get excited about creating something. However today, when I actually was feeling a bit light-headed and thought I should eat at lunchtime, I decided to throw together some avocado, low-fat ricotta cheese and some smoked salmon. It actually looked and tasted yum. Take a look for yourself 🙂

Lapband Lunch

An example of what I am eating during the mash stage post my lapband op

This is actually on a bread and butter plate and has a teaspoon on the side of the plate. I put the spoon on the plate so you could get an idea of the portion size. Not very much eh? Yet I can assure you, it takes me forever to eat this, and I am totally full by the time I finish (if I finish).

Some of the other meals I have been having in the last couple of days since moving to the mash stage:

  • Bacon, lentil and tomato soup (thick enough with lentils to be considered mash)
  • 1 egg (scrambled)
  • Mashed pumpkin with ricotta cheese
  • Zucchini (peeled) and pumpkin mash
  • Smoked salmon mini omelette (ie with one egg)
  • One small potato – peeled, cut up and steamed , with a drizzle of mint sauce (this is a household favourite at our place – a quick and easy potato salad that is fresh and summer with the added bonus of being low-fat)

I’d recommend all of them as pretty easy to digest.

All in all I am doing well and have continued to lose weight over the last week at a pretty rapid rate. I actually have to go back for a fill today (mine is a bit early because I had fluid removed a couple of days after my operation). I will be interested to see what my weight is.  Will update you in my next post.

PS – Some other good news – the pain in my left rib cage has finally subsided. Was definitely over that one!

Pain in the Left Rib Cage Post Gastric Banding

Post operatively nearly everyone gets pain in their rib cage or left shoulder with gastric banding. This pain is apparently caused by gas they pump into your stomach right at the end of the operation.

Earlier this week I had a fabulous experience with this gas. For me the pain was in my left rib cage. It felt like someone was poking a knife into my diaphragm and twisting it. It was so painful I couldn’t take a full breath and was doubled over in pain. I ended up ringing the lovely nurses at my hospital to get some advice. Part of me was concerned something really serious was going on. My husband was in a complete thither. He didn’t know what to do. Apparently I went quite pale as well.

The advice from the nurses was to drink lots of peppermint tea, put a hot pack on my ribs at the back and walk around. Easy for them to say. They weren’t the ones who were nearly doubled over in pain. Having said this – it did work. The pain began to ease about a half hour later.

Every day since the initial episode with the gas, I have been repeatedly experiencing the same thing. The pain is actually always present, it is just that it is tolerable in the morning, but excessively painful in the evening. I am now six days out from my original operation and am beginning to wonder when this pain will subside. They say it can last for several weeks (boo).

Having said that, everything else with the band is going really well. I ended up having to go back in a couple of days after the operation to get some saline removed from the band because I was having difficulty swallowing liquids. They did indicate it was quite swollen at the operation site and that the liquid was moving through quite slowly when I had my barium xray before leaving the hospital. After they removed some saline I have been all hunky dory.

I have not been feeling hungry (despite still being on the liquid only diet). In an average day I am having a latte and a berocca for breakfast, an Optifast shake for lunch and tomato juice or soup for dinner. I struggle to even drink a full cup of coffee or tea (I usually get through about half a cup and have to tip the rest out). But most importantly, I have already dropped a couple of kilos.

So far, so good…. but curse the rib pain and may it soon be banished to another realm.

One Day After Lapbanding

Well, I am done. I have been to hospital and done the deed. I am now officially a LapBandit!

So how do I feel?

Actually a lot better than I thought I would.

Am I in pain?

A little bit. It feels kind of like someone has kicked me in the ribs… so more like I am bruised and stiff . Quite a manageable pain.

Am I hungry?

Not really. Although my tummy is rumbling a little bit every now and then.

The biggest issue I am having is the area around the Lap-band is a bit swollen from the operation, so swallowing is a bit hard. They did an xray post operatively of me swallowing barium and the xray technician did indicate the fluid was passing particularly slowly over the band in my case. This makes taking pain meds difficult. I am having soluble panadol, but it takes me half an hour to sip and swallow it. Each swallow kind of stops at the top of the band and takes a minute to push through. Which is an odd sensation. It feels a bit like indigestion. Again, a little bit painful, but not totally awful. I am guessing this is a sensation I am going to need to get used to. This is exactly how they describe the swallowing process with solid food post gastric banding.

In terms of food – for now I am on an all liquid diet. This goes for one week. Then I will be able to gradually thicken up the liquids and have soft veggies, weetbix and other things. I have chosen to use OptiFast shakes for the first week. I didn’t have an inflamed liver, so they didn’t require me to go on OptiFast pre operatively, which means I am happy enough with the protein shakes for the moment. I would imagine if you had been on them before your operation you would be pretty keen to move onto something a bit more savoury. They are very sweet in flavour.

The most amusing thing for me at the moment is my husband, who has been supportively silent leading up to the operation, but is suddenly full of questions. ‘So do you feel hungry?’, ‘Is it weird sitting there watching us eat?’, ‘Does it hurt?’, ‘What does it feel like?’, ‘What do the scars look like?’. I am patiently answering his questions and realising that for him this will be an adjustment too. We have generally run our social life around food – going out to dinner, having friends over for BBQs, taking the kids out for brunch. To us, food was a special treat, something to indulge in. For me, cooking was a way of showing love for my family – cooking their favourite meals, suggesting we go out to one of our favourite restaurants… Now, for me, eating is likely not to be as much fun, especially in the short term as I learn to adjust to the band.

But for now, I will focus on the positive. Very shortly I will sit down at the breakfast table with my family and have my morning coffee. I know it is going to take me 30 minutes to drink it…. but believe you me I will be savouring every delicious mouthful.

Did I make the right decision – day one post op I have no regrets and still believe gastric banding is right for me.

The night before my gastric banding

It was the night before Lapband, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse….

Yep, that is right. Tomorrow is the day. I have packed my bag, and reread my admission papers, and made sure I am all set to go first thing in the morning. I have to be at the hospital at 6.30am, which means I need to catch a taxi. My husband needs to stay at home to get the kids up, dressed, fed and to crèche. So, I will venture out the door at 6am all by my lonesome. He will come and pick me up later in the day and bring me home after my surgery has been done.

How am I feeling right now? To be honest, I feel comfortably numb. I don’t feel overly excited, and all of my apprehension seems to have gone. I know I need to get this gastric banding done. I know it is important for my health and my family.

So off on the adventure I go. I choose to take the red pill and venture into wonderland.