Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living With an Adjustable Gastric Band - Am I Hungry Or Am I Full - Does My Band Need Filling?

Have you been struggling with your weight for years?

Are you looking into weight loss surgery?

Do you wonder if you will still be hungry?

I was banded in May of 2004 and for the first year I did not need a "fill" or any fluid added to my band.

I was asked by someone who I am helping along on her journey, "Does the hunger ever go away?"

The best way to answer that question was for me to review some of the feelings I had, and methods I used, during that first year as I tried to understand what living with a band was all about. I applied the rules of the band as per my doctor's instructions and started learning to really pay attention.

Living with a gastric band the first year was an amazing experience for me. I saw my surgeon every 4 weeks to check my weight, my blood pressure and my eating habits. I kept a journal religiously, writing down every morsel that entered my mouth, every drop of liquid, the nutrition content for all of it, and month after month hopped on the scale and was pleasantly rewarded with continued weight loss. I knew I had a band. My hunger between meals was pretty much gone, and I was satisfied with small portions at meals. Notice, I never said I was full. This is probably the most important distinction to understand and the most difficult to really "get".

As long as I was no longer hungry when I finished the portion I put on my plate -- I was done. This was great because I was not hungry between meals either. Or, if I thought I was, I would have water or tea and suddenly I didn't feel what I had interpreted as hunger pangs any more. Guess I had just been thirsty. Month after month, just the band as it was "installed", consistent weight loss, no fill, no hunger. I can do this! It was great!

Then one day I was feeling hungry between meals. No, I mean really hungry. Water, ice tea, hot tea, nothing took care of it. This was scary. Fortunately I had an appointment coming up in about a week so I knew I could white knuckle my way through and make sure I had not been doing anything differently. Checking the journal daily, eating and drinking the same as the month prior, guess maybe I finally needed a fill.

I did get a fill ( a small amount of fluid added to my band) when I next saw my doctor, and the hunger between meals disappeared!

In summary, it is extremely important to pay close attention to what you are eating and drinking, as well as to the signals your body is giving to you. Writing down everything you eat and drink, putting small portions on your plate, writing down how you feel when you have finished what is on your plate, and noting how long before you are hungry (really hungry, not thirsty) will help you and your doctor identify whether or not you need a fill.

The great side effect is that you begin to understand the difference between "hunger", "satiety", and "full" so you can use your Lap-Band or Realize band to the best advantage on that journey to better health. to learn more about Banded Living™ and how Sandi Henderson has been maintaining her 250 lb weight loss. You'll also have access to our interview, the 7 Things We Wish We Had Been Told Before We Had Lap-Band? Surgery at

DISCLAIMER - The author of this article is a patient, not a medical professional, and this article does not constitute medical advice. The author's experiences and results may not be typical of those experienced by others. Always consult a qualified physician familiar with your condition before making any medical decisions. The author of this article and Banded Living, LLC disclaim all liability to any person arising from the content hereof.

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