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How to deal with wanting to eat more when the band won't let you!!


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Hello Everyone,

I have posted very infrequently and only check the forum once in a while. I got through my surgery but had way more pain and discomfort than most. It was truly hell trying to stay on liquids, but I survived with only a few little cheats.

I now am all the way to getting through my first fill, which also did not go smoothly and they had to go in three times with three needle pokes and a lot of mucking around on the port to finally get in!! I ended up with a large hematoma ( bruise) and actually bled through my bandaid later. NW fills assured me that all was fine and that I must have had a lot of scar tissue over my port. I can feel my port right on the surface and it is easy to find so I was so surprised to have had such a painful time.

Anyways that is just a little update......my real problem/question is in how to handle eating so little and mentally trusting that it will be "enough" to carry me through my work day. That probably didn't make sense so let me word it a different way......How is everyone adjusting to being mentally "satisfied" with eating so little. I can see why they say get your protein in first. I have a little something and the next thing I know I am feeling pressure/almost stuck and then my nose will run and I will get that backed up feeling like I cannot eat another bite and mentally I think wow! I just started eating??!! WTF!

I have to eat well at mealtime, as my work does not allow for much snacking.....I am always worried that I didn't get enough to carry me through, but now that I have had the fill......I definitely can last longer ( usually three hours). I just want some practical advise on how to approach the smaller meals and how much is too little? I am tempted to eat more soft food and liquid stuff as I can get more in and somehow "feel fuller" but yet I am pretty sure that it is all mental.....I am full just with a few bites at least my band signals me and seems to be backing things up into my throat if I try to eat more. I hope I am making sense.

Maybe I am eating inccorectly and need to be eating smaller bites or something or maybe my food choices are not good.....it just seems like I barely get started and I am finished!!

I guess this will be a good thing if I can figure it out. I currently have 1.4cc saline in a 4cc band. But I do have a narrow throat and was getting things stuck even without a fill. I am trying to eat everything as I think that is healthier. I love my veggies and beans and fruits and such.....I really could not tolerate only being able to eat soft foods, I want to eat "normal" just less of it, like the drs. say.

I am down only 21lbs total at 8.5 weeks post op. I want to start dropping the wt. but I just don't think I will survive (mentally anyway) with this weird eating pattern. Any insights are most welcome!

By the way Congrats to all the awsome success people are having since I joined this site! (Dec 08)

Rhonda

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First of all, CONGRATS on your weightloss so far! You are doing great! Now, as for your question, I would have to say that you are addressing a most important part of adjusting after surgery. In the beginning, I had to REALLY understand that it is OK to have options with SO much food that was left after my few bites. For example, throw away left overs, or give it to someone else, or have the waiter take away, or have it for later (rarely). I've always felt it to be such a waste of money to throw away food, I guess that's why I always ate my kids leftovers, or made sure I got the most "bang" for my buck at a buffet. Anyway, struggling to understand that a few tiny bites will carry you through 3 or more hours without being hungry is VERY difficult. (Since I used to be able to eat a double cheeseburger with fries and a large drink, and then a slice of apple pie for dessert.)

That being said, I began eating in a different way. I began to see how much LESS food I would be able to eat instead of how much MORE food I can eat. For example, if four bites of chicken and 2 of veggies make the signals go off for fullness (running nose, quick sneeze, hiccup, or long sigh) I will stop eating right then and there. I may even walk away from the table. I serve myself in a salad plate/dessert plate rather than a dinner plate. Instead of using a bowl for oatmeal or soup, I use a small coffee cup/mug. While eating out, I ALWAYS share a meal with someone or order a small appetizer such as a soup or sampler. Yes, I eat protiens first, veggies next, and rarely have a small pinch of anything else. And anytime, I "think" I'm hungry I recall what I have eaten, what time, and how much water intake I have had so far. Most of the time, we "think" we are hungry, but we are really THIRSTY. So, sure enough, I drink water, crystal light, or whatever low cal drink and BAM, I'm "full" again.

Therefore, I noticed that I drink much more than I eat. I aim for my 64oz of water daily, and I usually exceed it because I workout and find myself wanting fluids rather than solids. Normally for breakfast I have a protien shake, or a small glass of chocolate milk. It's because I'm usually very tight in the morning that solids are not an option. In times, when I have had a rushed day and know that I haven't eaten enough by that evening, OR have an active workout and due to tightness solids are not an option, I have a protien shake. Be it a EAS, Optifast, or half of a small Smoothie King low cal smoothie- I make sure it is at least 15 grams of protien, low cal, low sugar, and 8 oz. Having a protien shake in the evening has been known to help your body overnight.

Well, hope that this helps. I used to get REALLY frustrated that I just sat down to eat and ALAS I was full within a few tiny bites!!! Then, while making the above adjustments, I began to think WOW this is AMAZING, I did this surgery for this exact reason! To stop myself from overeating when I KNOW that I have had enough, but still push it to the limit. Now, when I eat my few bites and I'm done. I take a look around me. It took me 20-30 minutes to get that small portion of food to go down, and here are other people eating twice if not three times as much as I am and they are done in 15 minutes or less. No wonder I gained weight, I never took the time to really enjoy my food and realize that when enough is enough.

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Rhondasue,

Ouch! Sorry to hear about that fill experience.

And, CONGRATULATIONS on losing 21 pounds. That is terrific.

Getting used to eating less takes time. Getting used to being satisfied with less mentally also takes time. I remember last year 2 months into my surgery being really angry because I could not eat my wedding anniversary dinner. Now, almost a year into it, I just take food home for my next meal.

If your work does not allow snacking, try drinking some protein water. That really helps me with between meal hunger.

Other than that, this transition will take time. You cannot change a lifetime of habits in 8.5 weeks.

For the getting things stuck, try taking smaller bites and chewing more (I used to count to 30). But...if you keep getting things stuck you might be too tight. I only mentioned this because you said you were getting things stuck before your first fill. Most (not all) of us on the forum have no restriction prior to our first fill.

Good luck. Let us know how you are doing.

Dawn

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First of all, 21 lbs. is awesome!!!!!

So far you have received great advice. I have only been banded 3 months. I am still adjusting to not being able to eat very much at a time. I am still learning to push it away. Every now and then I have a really bad "head hunger" day. Bad habits are hard to break. I still have issues with small bites and chewing enough. I too have a job where it is difficult to snack. If you are really worried about not getting enough calories you could try eating a yogurt before you eat your solids. Losing weight with the band is not easy. I actually think it was easier to lose weight dieting the old fashioned way, but it was too easy for my bad habits to slip up on me. The band will always be there to help "keep me in check." I really love my band when I go out to eat. I order from the kid's menu, knowing that I won't be able to eat it all. I don't love my band when I have a healthy grilled chicken salad and I can't eat but 6 or 7 bites of it. I get frustrated, I'm like, OK this is good for me, why can't I have it all! Like you, I am still early on in this, but I can tell you that is seems to be getting better.

Keep up the great work! Can't wait to see before and after pictures!

Kimberly

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Thanks soooo much for the awsome response to this question. I am so glad that a few of the "experts" put in their words of wisdom. I agree that this is really going to take some time to get used to.

I don't think I am too tight, I think that I just want to "eat like before" I DO have to continually remind myself to slow down. small bites and chew, chew, chew!

If I keep it slow and choose wisely from the food groups I can usually get in a "decent size meal" I am learning everyday, what works and what doesn't......I guess that is something everyone has to go through individually.

I can really relate to not wanting to waste food......this is my problem....totally!! I prepare something and end up having to throw away most of it.....a real killer for me.......I need to figure out how to be ok with this kind of thing.

I will have to get more proteine shakes and YOPs for the tight days. By the way I have heard that if you PB you are not suppossed to try to keep eating. I have to admit if I get something stuck after only a couple of bites and I PB it, I then try to complete a little more eating so that I don't worry about not getting enough down......is that wrong??

Thanks again for the encouragement and the great feedback!

Rhonda

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Rhondasue,

That is what I was told also. If you are stuck and PB, you are supposed to stop eating and resume your meal later. I believe the theory is (and someone correct me if I am wrong please) that the PB-ing can cause swelling and irritation to the lining of the esophagus and trying to continue to eat just makes it worse. Dr. Miranda told me to stop eating and not eat again until my next meal. But, you can still drink your protein water after you wait the allotted time. Some swear by those protein bullets, I have never tried them.

Dr. Ortiz says in one of his videos to CHALLENGE OURSELVES TO SEE HOW LITTLE WE CAN EAT. Perhaps that helps us re-train ourselves on portion sizes and on the amount of food a human body really needs to function.

I totally relate to not wanting to waste food. I was a long time member of the clean-your-plate-club too! Many of us were. Once again, give yourself time to change. If you are preparing your own food as you indicated, prepare less or wrap the leftovers to save for another meal. But there are times when you just cannot take food home or have no place to keep leftovers. Sometimes the trash is going to be your only option!

I am almost a year into this and I still have remind myself to slow down and chew my food at times, especially if I have let myself go too long between meals.

You take care.

Dawn

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