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Shh...don't tell anyone!


Benedict

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Today’s exciting instalment does not revolve around me. In fact, it’s not exciting either. And indeed, I wrote it yesterday. So it’s not actually today’s…let’s move on.

Of late, I have had several people contact me from the gastric band communes across the globe commenting about our shared experiences. One good thing about this procedure is that it is encourages people to seek out fellow bandibulars to discuss what we are going through or are likely to go through and in doing so, encourages virtual friendships – which is a decent first step to real-life friendships I suppose.

This urge to find like minded bandicles seems to have its roots firmly entrenched in the shame that a lot of people still seem to have with the operation. The fact that I know there are an awful lot of people out there even in my own home town that have had it done but are not willing to discuss it. This article will hopefully act as commentary rather than a soap box and is written from the perspective of someone who has gone through this in public view – with friends, family and even the unfortunates who really have no interest whatsoever, but find themselves under the hypnotic cast of my conversation on the subject (and by that I mean my incessant drunken ramblings that many people have been subject to).

When I set about researching the surgery – I too was part of the secret sect – those that have taken an oath of silence concerning their desires to seek out help on the road to fatlightenment. I used to read about people’s experiences on the Internet discussion boards and delete all history and temporary browsing files as if I had been partaking in pornographic fun times. What if somebody found out that I was looking at Lap Band surgery – oh the shame!

It was only when I had decided to definitely go ahead and undergo the procedure that I looked at the experiences of the like of Fern Britten and see the mistakes made previously by others before me. For the non-UK contingent out there – Fern Britten is a TV personality over here that was banded and decided it was a good idea (either by her own volition or by her press team’s insistence) to not admit to having it done. In fact, she even went so far as to release an exercise video pushing the fact that she lost all her weight on her own. This led to a big public outcry when they found out she had had surgery. I believe it also did a lot of damage to the perception of gastric bands in the UK for a while after also. It became a bit of a shameful stigma and taboo.

Now, I understand the urge to keep it quiet. It struck me in the first phases of my Passage to Thindia that I had failed on my quest by resorting to medical help. I had not been strong enough to do it on my own and my personality was so weak that I just didn’t have the ability to succeed in losing my excess weight. I suppose there is a small part of me that still feels that. But, it is a very small part indeed. I would have loved to have had the motivation, the will power and the control without going through the operation. Anyone would. But, the simple fact of the matter is – I didn’t.

I read an interview with Richard Branson once, where he proclaimed that a turning point in his life was when he started to admit that he had weaknesses. When he realised he was unable to do things that others could. In doing so, he brought on board people with skills that he lacked to fill the gaps. And this act of self-awareness allowed him to succeed. Along with the discovery of Mike Oldfield. This is the way I look at the band. I have hired a thick-necked doorman that stands at the entrance to the nightclub that is my stomach and send the trouble makers on their way. Allowing me to get on and run the bar. Pouring drinks – doing what I do well.

I have found that my openness about the surgery has caused an awful lot of interest from almost everyone I talk to. Morbid curiosity about the practicalities mainly – but nonetheless, a very healthy interest. Most have also congratulated me on taking the steps to do something about my weight. It may well not be their cup of tea, but I am lucky to surround myself with nice people who seem to believe that I did the right thing. People who would no doubt by upset if I passed away too soon because of my stegosaurus eating habits of a bygone era. My over-sensitive and paranoid nature has made me obviously look at some people and silently accuse them of judging me as a failure – but I imagine that would have been there had I lost the weight naturally and unaided. That’s just one of my personality traits and failings.

When people write to me and ask me to not announce on their Facebook pages or the like that they have had surgery upsets me for a couple of reasons. Firstly – of course I wouldn’t do that. That’s not the way it works with me. I will proudly announce my own inner-most thoughts and dark secrets – but leave the revealing of yours, to you. The other reason I am dismayed (over-exaggeration is a lovely thing) is that I believe you are painting yourself into a corner. The surgery can cause such a dramatic change that the deep dark secret will eventually surface. Through suspicion or evidence – people will start to whisper and you will probably find yourself in an awkward position of having to come out of the banded closet and admit your procedure under scrutiny and shame. Fuelling the undeserved frowns that the band already seems to engender. I guarantee that I know of at least two local ladies who have had surgery but won’t admit it – making them look bad.

My recommendation to anyone undertaking this procedure is be open and honest with everyone. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Where you fall in one area, you rise in another. So what if you weren’t built the same way as the lucky slender – your life experience in being a rotund has no doubt given you the knocks and pain that has given you something that they will never have. And when you eventually become the healthy figure you yearn for – you will have the looks as well as the “great personality” that us tubbies have always been accused of having…something that natural beauties always seem to lack in abundance.

My Lap Band Blog

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I am a teller. I don't have it in me to keep the secret. For me, it is a testament to my life. I have "other" areas of my life, "out there" as well. I find people who ask me qustions all the time about this or that. If something I have done in my life can help someone elses life, than so much the better! I say live and let live!

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Benedict,

I'm listening to the music on your site. I'm totally digging Hollywood. I love the songs. I love the singer. I love "you make the morning birds sing with style". I really love that. I love the recordings. I love the arrangements. Great work.

How are your plans coming along for it?

Lori

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