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Considering surgery, but would it be successful?


skyblue
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I am a 34 year old woman. I am 5'10" and weigh around 340 pounds. I have been considering the lap band surgery but I don't know if it would be successful or even how I would handle it. The thought of not being able to eat the things I want is frightening to me. I know how silly that sounds, but it almost makes me panic. I've never been a "binge" eater. I eat what I want when I want, but it isn't an overly huge amount. I know a lot of obese people say that and don't realize it, but I've kept a food diary just to find out for myself and while it is not the healthiest eatting, it isn't huge amounts like I've seen on some of those tv shows where they show what the very large people eat. A lot of my problem is I'm unable to exercise due to a heart/lung disease caused by lupus (unrelated to weight, but it probably doesn't help it). I've used food as a 'treat' for getting through tough medical procedures. An "ice cream sunday because I got through it" type thing. What else do you have when you're my age, physically disabled and dependent on others for so many things (again, not due to the weight. On good days I can do lots of things, just with the lupus involved heart and lungs there aren't as many good days)

But the panicky feeling I get at the thought of not being able to eat something I want or having to eat only certain foods kinds of scares me. Actually it rather embarrasses me too. I want to lose the weight. I've tried all kinds of expensive diets, but I'm allergic to soy so the prepackaged food doesn't work well for me. I don't want to die, but I feel like food has this control over me and I don't know what to do. Is this weird? How do I get past it?

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Hi Skyblue-

Thanks for your post. I am sure there are others out there who are struggling with their eating habits and are curious about the weight loss surgery.

I think it is not at all surprising that you would have mixed feelings about this type of procedure. In fact, if you didn't, I would be very worried about you. This is a major surgical procedure that has lots of potential risks and benefits!

Most of the time, individuals who are considering this type of surgery will meet with a mental health professional to determine whether they are ready for the procedure. I would recommend that, unless your primary care doctor suggests that this is a life-threatening situation and that you should have surgery asap, that you try to lose the weight without surgery, first.

You mentioned keeping a food diary, which is a great technique, but won't work by itself. Have you ever tried working with a mental health professional that specializes in eating issues? Your thoughts (the food had control over me) may be driving your eating behavior (and sabotaging those expensive diet plans). In that case, you need to get a handle on your thoughts in order to achieve lasting behavior change (i.e., losing weight).

We have a new podcast up on our site discussing this very topic, and also introducing the idea of using Cognitive therapy for behaviors. http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=weblog&id=452&wlid=9&cn=219

You can listen to the podcast and read more about this type of approach.

Have you ever considered working with a therapist for this issue?

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Thank you very much for your information. I will check out the podcast.

As for seeing a therapist about it, I don't know. It's very embarrassing. I can see going to a therapist for other things... I'm trying to find one for an abuse issue now... but for weight? It just seems like anyone should be able to control themselves and lose weight. I understand how a therapist could help... just not sure I could justify it to myself, know what I mean?

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Hi Skyblue-

Yes, I understand your reluctance and thinking that it's a bit wierd. We have a bias in our minds to think that there has to be something really wrong, or only certain types of issues to seek out mental health care. However, there are people who seek out therapists' help on career choice, performing better in a particular job, and simply expanding and growing as a person.

Try thinking of it this way. Overeating is a problematic behavior that is often driven by problematic thoughts, and is accompanied by lots of unhelpful feelings (guilt, shame, frustration, lowered self esteem). The same thing can be said for lots of mental disorders... for example, some people experience intense anxiety which can also be thought of as a problematic behavior (makes one avoid situations, or engage in rituals, etc.), with problematic thoughts (I will freak out if I go near that situation and totally embarrass myself) and unhelpful feelings (guilt, shame, frustration). So, it's actually very similar.

Make sure if you decide to go see a therapist, that it is someone who specializes in eating issues. You will probably have to look under "eating disorders" for the in a directory (we have a therapist listing service that may help you). Go to the top of this page and click on "find therapists." However, this doesn't usually mean that the therapist only focuses on anorexic or bulimic individuals.

An interim step might be to buy or check Dr. Beck's book out of the library (the one mentioned in her podcast) to see if any of what she is talking about resonates with you.

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Sky,

I was going to recommend you read Dr. Beck's book as well, but I see that Natalie has beat me to it :)

One of the more interesting points that Dr. Beck makes in the book is that it is her observation that many diets fail because people become anxious about being hungry, which is your observation too. You are afraid to be hungry, it sounds like is another way of saying what you're saying. So - I've not read the book, but in the podcast with Dr. Van Nuys, Dr. Beck did talk about how she encourages people to not eat for a single day and to monitor their hunger to actually test whether they will feel agony over being hungry as they fear. The typical experience with this one day test is that people report that while they are uncomfortable, the level of discomfort due to hunger never makes them feel agony, and that it rises and falls at different times of the day, rather than being a single large peak that continually rises until you burst with agony.

So - it would seem to me that part of the issue with you and diet may be overcoming your own hunger anxiety, and that it would be worthwhile to explore such issues with a qualified cognitive behavioral therapist if you have the resources to arrange for such attention.

Mark

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi All

Talking about diet's, My G.p referred me to a Dietitian.

After stressing, and being constantly worried, about what this dietitian was going to say, when she saw the size of my body for my Height, that now I find that I needn't of worried at all!

I walked in the room, where I was instantly made welcome. I thought to myself, problem 1 solved (made to feel welcome).

Then she told me a bit about herself and visa versa.

She then said to me that she doesn't believe in Diet's! That it's all about Healthy eating.

She weighed me, took my waist, hip, bust measurements and height. I thought to myself, problem 2 solved (no embarrassing questions over what weight I was).

I'd had a Blood test done the previous week for something entirely unassociated to do with dieting, so they already had my Blood Glucose, Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, Total Cholesterol, BMI and Triglycerides. So all she had to do was take my BP.

She then introduced me to a weight management program. Giving me various information on different ways to cook food and what and what not to eat at varied times of the day. E.g- instead of frying chips, to buy oven chips and try and avoid eating them as a last meal before you retire.

She too asked me to do a Food Diary. Stating that no matter what I've eaten and the amount that I've eaten, to write it in this food diary under the appropriate day and time.

She said because it was my first week that she was not going to ask me to cut any food out. She wanted to know the pattern of my eating habits before she did anything further.

She had already provided me with quite a few pamphlets, on issues relating to Healthy eating and asked me to read through them before my next visit.

On the next visit she checked my food diary, and my eating habits. She weighed me and checked all my measurements. They was the same as the previous week.

She advised me on a couple of my eating habits and asked whether I could substitute certain items. E.g - Could I eat cereal with Semi/skimmed milk and canderell ,instead of having two toast with butter and jam on that I was used to? I said I would give it a go!

She said that was all she wanted me to do at the moment. To carry on eating the way I did.

The next time I went to see her she asked whether or not I stuck to the cereal for my breakfast instead of jam, butter on toast and said yes. She then weighed me and guess what, I had lost 6 pounds in one week without dieting! All because I swapped my jam and butter on toast for cereal. I was amazed!!!!! What changing your eating habits can do for you.

She advised me to try and change my cooking habits for the next time I go and see if that will help also.

I couldn't believe the amount of weight loss, just for substituting one food for another.

She said if we take it one step at a time then it won't feel like dieting. I will be swapping my un-healthy eating habits for healthy eating habits. I said I'm game for that!

The Morale of the story being: that you don't have to diet to be healthy, you just have to change your eating/cooking habits and way's to get slim!

I hope this bit of partial advice will help anyone who is finding it difficult to lose weight. It helped me and it can help you too.

I will keep you posted on my weight loss. Only if you want me too that is?

Take care

Paula x:D

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Hi Paula-

This is very healthy and sensible. Not everyone will obtain as dramatic results as you did at the beginning- but this idea of finding a healthy way of eating for life (rather than relying on a pattern of going on very restrictive diets and off them) has been proven to be the best approach over the long haul.

Keep up the good work.

I would also suggest that you start to add in some exercise to bump up your metabolism.

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Woh! Natalie. One step at a time! I mean, exercise! Let me get used to the idea first!

I've got to be honest with you Natalie. I should of gone to see my Dietitian today but I didn't go. Not because of anything to do with the instructions that my Dietitian's gave me to follow. Because, my Anxiety and nerve's got the better of me.

I had been preparing for this Appointment all week. Trying all sort's of techniques that might help me along the way. I even written a post in the Anxiety column, asking for advice on this situation and receiving plenty back. But when shove came to push, my nerve's got the better of me I'm afraid. I just couldn't go ahead. I was in a right state. Even to near tears at the thought of attending this Appointment.

I was OK till the last minute. A bit shaky but I kept telling myself it's alright. She's there to help you feel better, but I couldn't go ahead with it. SORRY!

This is proving to be an enormous problem that I am finding to come to terms with. I knew I wouldn't sleep last night, I expected it. But I really tried. I just don't know what I'm going to do about it. I have become isolated in my own home, and it frightens me. Honestly!

Even writing this post has got my Nerves & Anxiety at peek levels. Don't ask me why because I don't know? I really can't explain the feeling's that I get, when I think that I have to go anywhere.

I feel that I'M NOT ME If that makes any sense! It's got to the stage that no-one invites me out anymore, because they're sick and tired of me not turning up, but I wish I could explain how I feel just before I go out but I can't. I can with the Anxiety & my Nerves but it's more than that. I don't know what it is?

Well I better get of this site going on about my Anxiety, seen as it's a food related site. Mark will have my guts for garters!

Take care!

Paula x P.S - I've made a fresh Appointment for next week so here goes!:(

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  • 2 months later...

I have a co-worker whose wife recently had the surgery, and she's been in and out of the hospital approximately once a week since due to complications, not to mention throwing up almost daily because of difficulties adhering to the strict diet.

The point I'm trying to make I guess, is if you think the surgery will be easier than other options, I'd take a second look at what it fully entails. In my co-worker's wife's case, I think she's been second guessing how much she appreciates the surgery.

Edited by Traveler
unintentional ommission from original
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