Weight loss surgery experts Sue and Nic from BandBoozled tell us that many of their patients feel guilty about having a gastric band…
Sometimes they feel embarrassed because they feel like they should have been able to lose weight on their own and without the need for surgery. Then when the compliments start flooding in about their impressive weight loss, they feel like they don't deserve the praise because they didn't manage to lose weight on their own.
We know how difficult the gastric band journey can be and how much effort patients have put in to achieve their weight loss goals. What we mean is, all the praise and compliments which you receive are very well deserved - here's why:
First thing's first, you have to work at it
The gastric band is a tool to help you lose weight and not a magic solution. As you might know, you don't have a gastric band placed and the weight starts coming off automatically - you have to work at it!
It is estimated the band itself does about 30% of the work for you and the other 70% is down to you. So, learning to work with the band, eating a healthy diet and participating in regular activity all play a huge part in achieving your weight loss goals.
You also have to learn what foods work better with the band and ensure you follow the correct eating technique to avoid any complications. Then there is the preparation for the surgery itself with a restrictive pre-operative diet ready to shrink the liver which is needed for the surgery to go ahead.
Then after the band is placed, you have to follow a liquid diet then a soft diet with a gradual staged return to normal foods - certainly not the easy way out!
Maintaining long-term results
The key to maintaining your weight loss is to find something that works for you and is sustainable in the long term because whatever weight loss method you follow, as soon as you stop and revert back to your old eating habits the weight will return. The gastric band is a lifestyle change and something that could last a lifetime if it is looked after well.
Focusing your efforts on healthy diet and exercise is essential to make your band journey a successful one. We'll say it once, we'll say it a thousand times: having a gastric band is not cheating, it's a lifelong (or as long as the bands in-situ) commitment. It takes hard work, focus and dedication that cannot and should not be taken lightly.
So, if you've tried diet after diet and are looking for a long-term weight loss tool a gastric band is an option to consider - and one you shouldn't feel guilty about!
Managing hunger and cravings
Having a band will help reduce portion sizes and hunger once it is optimally adjusted making it a great tool for weight loss. Many diets fail because hunger can be difficult to manage especially once the cravings set in and it can be even more difficult to stay on track. Imagine being able to eat small portions and for that to keep you satisfied for 4-5 hours right the way through to your next meal (hopefully!).
However, it's worth bearing in mind that the gastric band doesn't stop you from eating high-calorie foods - you can still eat things like chocolate, biscuits and crisps with a band in situ, so you still need to work at avoiding these types of snacks and opting for healthier options like fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurts.
Of course, it's fine to have the odd treat but here at BandBoozled, we recommend you try and stick to ones that are less than 100 calories. This can help manage the weight loss better by not overindulging. This still takes willpower and effort - so again proving that you are still doing the hard work even with a band in place!
It's okay to ask for help
Whatever method of weight loss you have decided to opt for in the past, the chances are you have might have had some help along the way. A slimming club perhaps, appointments with a dietitian, a personal trainer, medications from your GP or even from an online support from a weight loss group.
We understand that losing weight is very challenging at times and maintaining it can be even harder, so accepting help from a gastric band is simply a tool to help you get the results you want.
Overcoming any guilty feelings
The guilt about having a band often means some patients don't want to tell people about their surgery. Our advice is to do what is right for you, tell only the people who you feel comfortable with and don't feel pressured or obliged to tell anyone else.
Having a gastric band or any other form of weight loss surgery isn't cheating! You are taking positive action to change your lifestyle and are finding a way to manage something that you may have been struggling with for a long time.
Online weight loss surgery support hub BandBoozled is a friendly, non-judgemental community where you can talk to other people in the same position as yourself, ask our experts for advice and support and enjoy reading helpful articles, recipes and meal plans.
Supporting you even more with BandBoozled…
Here at The Hospital Group, specialist advice and guidance from our weight loss support team is a great resource which you will benefit from as part of your package with us.
You will also have the additional support of BandBoozled, an online hub run by Bariatric Dietitian Sue and Specialist Nurse Nic with 12 month's free membership for new weight loss patients.
By being a member of BandBoozled, you will have access to many gastric band friendly recipes, meal plans and weekly updates which can help you on your journey. There is also a weight login area where you can track your weight and measurements and a Forum where you can talk to others with a gastric band and ask questions.