Weight Ticker

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Support Group - Dieting makes you fat

Hi All,

I've just been looking over my previous posts and realised I had never blogged about the HW support group which I attend once a month.

I've now been to two, the second of which was last Sunday the day before my fill!

The group is two hours consisting of a one hour informationn session to help with our weight loss and the second hour is a discussion group.

The first session covered planning and record keeping and referred to several studies which seemed to show that people who kept regular food diaries consistently lost more weight than those who didn't...I wondered if this could be influenced by the fact that the motivation it takes to keep a food diary is a reflection of the motivation those people put into their diet...when I am going off the rails, nothing would enduce me to write down all the bad stuff I'm eating! but when I am motivated I'll happily keep a food diary.  Not trying to bag out the food diary idea though as i do think it is a good one, and maybe it might help to keep our motivation up a little if we do know we have to write it down!

When people feel they are doing everything right and not losing weight the first thing I advise them to do is keep a food diary and tally up the calories to see if they can spot any problems.

The group discussion afterwards brought up a problem for one of the bandits who after several fills still felt NO restriction!!! Hard to believe! She told the group how she was tucking into Indian takeout with no problem and eating the lot! She'd recently put on half a stone and was feeling pretty fed up.  She had a hectic lifestyle and a busy job and found it impossible to eat healthily whilst she was at work.  I really felt that a lot of the things she was saying were classic excuses not to be responsible for her food choices!  If she'd wanted to she could have gotten round every excuse she was making.  She was an intelligent woman in a very good job, but appeared to want the band to do ALL the work for her!!  Where did she get this idea from?

I hope that talking it out with the group gave her a chance to get her internal dialogue working and make her start to make plans to overcome these issues.  She was saying she never had time for breakfast and wasn't organised enough to make a packed lunch and so was going all day with nothing to eat until 3pm when she would go to Burger King across from work or M&S and stock up on high fat food cause she was so hungry...why not recognise the problem and buy a bag of fruit too whilst you're there and some lower fat cereal bars or other healthy snacks or pre-packed salads and leave the bag in her car overnight and bring it in to work with her the next day - No organisation needed in the morning then and it was winter so even the salads would have kept in the car.  Then even if she hungrily ate the high cal food that day, she'd have been fortified to make better choices the following day, by having had something to eat before she went to the shops...M&S even sell porridge in little styrafoam cups which you just need to add water to.  So, as I said before, excuses, excuses!

This month we had a lecture on portion and package sizes and how studies show large packets and large plates and utensils result in us eating more...even of foods we don't like!  Studies also show that highly visible food will be consumed in greater quantities than food which is not visible...visibility even had more impact than accessibility.  So keep those fatty foods out of sight bandits!

This month instead of the regular group discussion Dr Ashton came in and we were encouraged to ask any questions about our surgery or weight loss.  I told Dr Ashton about my very slow weightloss of a lb a week on a less than 1000 cal a day diet and asked him if he felt this could be attributed to the much talked about 'starvation mode'.  He said that this 'myth' had come about following a very popular book 'Dieting Makes You Fat', written by Geoffrey Cannon and Hetty Einzig in 1983.
"Dieting," said Cannon and Einzig, "creates the conditions it is meant to cure." When you diet, something funny happens to your metabolism - it gets better. Better, that is, at making you fat. To see why this should be the case, you have to think like a Darwinian.
Genetically, we are, to all intents and purposes, exactly the same as our Stone Age ancestors, who were threatened, above all, by starvation.
To survive, and reproduce, they had to have a metabolic system that would enable them to deal with periods of scarcity. And we, of course, are the same. Except we don't have periods of scarcity - we have diets.

What happens when the body is given less food than it needs? In the short term, it lives off its own reserves of fat. It gets thinner. But another mechanism comes into play: it also gets better at getting fat. When you diet, your mind wants to lose weight, but your body does not. When you diet, your body thinks you are unable to find food. You think: diet. Your body thinks: famine.

In the Stone Age, your fat-packing genes made you better at both survival and reproduction. Now, in this time of great abundance, they make you worse at both - more prone to heart attacks, and less attractive to the opposite sex.

And crucially, the more diets you go on - the more famines your body is exposed to, in other words - the better you become at getting fat.
If you want to read the full Telegraph article by Willian Leith follow this link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/3632055/Health-warning-all-diets-make-you-fat.html

Dr Ashton claimed that this book asserted that each time you diet your metabolism slows down and so you will put on weight more easily.  Dr Ashton counters this with the fact that although our metabolism will slow down slightly when we are on low calorie diets this effect is temporary and fairly small and that our metabolism will soon return to normal when normal eating resumes.

He also said tht the majority of people who are unable to lose weight on diets are eating more calories than they think they are.  He quoted the results of studies in which subjects were under controlled environments and were eating more calories than they were logging and doing less exercise than they were logging.

Whilst I do agree in theory that this does happen to all of us at times and I do believe that the metabolism does return to normal.  My personal experience seems to suggest that once your body gets used to regular periods of starvation, it becomes very efficient at engaging this lower metabolism more quickly than it did on the first diet you were ever on.  Just my non-scientific opinion.

An interesting point in the William Leith article linked above was that the reason for the over-eating in the first place was not treated by the weight loss diet and would often make it's presence felt in other ways once the fatty food was removed, in his case by an increase in his drinking! This is a very good point! Often times we are treating the symptom rather than the cause.  The emotional eating etc. may need to find another outlet. A good one for us all to contemplate.

I hope you've found this topic interesting. 

Sparkler xx

3rd Day of Liquids & the possible dangers of Fizzy drinks!

I've been finding this liquid diet really hard...I always feel soooo hungry on it.  I haven't been 100% good, I have put a little muesli in my yogurt which is cheating and this morning (day 3) I did have some runny Oat-so-Simple instead, but I took it very slow whilst I was typing my last blog and had to heat it up again before I finished it. 

The very good news is that I've weighed myself this morning and I've lost 1.2lbs!!

On Monday after I had my fill I was sitting drinking a can of Diet Coke which I regularly enjoy, and reading the ukgastricband forum and I came across a thread about fizzy drinks...some members were saying they'd been told NEVER to have them because the gas released once the drink hits your pouch will cause it to stretch and could even cause the dreaded slippage!!!  Several NHS hospitals have told their patients and some private providers whereas others (including mine) have only said it's up to the individual whether or not you can tolerate the gas.  In the past I always have tolerated the gas without a problem, but I've only had my first fill today as you know.  I didn't drink much of the coke as it happens and put the rest of the can back in the fridge, but shortly after I was in a lot of discomfort as though I'd seriously binged and felt  like my band area was under pressure...not a good feeling.  When I stretched my arms above my head I could almost feel my stitches pulling - yuck!  As I was actually having hunger pains at the same time I can only really put this down to one thing...gas!!!  I took two Windeze and went for a lie down for half an hour, but the pain continued as did the hunger...I then heated up some soup and made a cup of tea hoping the warm liquids would help soothe things...fortunately this did the trick and I was feeling better really quickly after that.

But it did decide me on one thing!! No more diet coke! I guess I can live without it if the alternative is pain and possible band slippage!

Does anyone feel they have any definate info on this topic?  Has anyone read any scientific studies on the subject?

Sparkler xx

1st Fill

I had my first fill on Monday 29th March.  My appointment was at 10:30 (or so I thought) I had to arrive 15 minutes early and not have anything to eat or drink for 3 hours before.

When I arrived at around 10:10 the carpark was pretty full, but I eventually found a space around the back of the hospital.  After arriving I was told to make my way around to the Healthier Weight reception which I thought I knew (Outpatients area)...but when I got there it was full of all sorts of people who were highly unlikely to be WLS patients!  As I was having an X-ray fill and the X-ray department was across the hall (and it looked as though I was more likely to be able to speak to one of the receptionists there who were less busy) I wandered in and started asking about Healthier Weight...at this moment a young lady in a colourful lead smock stepped forward and asked if I was Sparkler then I noticed Dr Ashton also had come forward looking for me.  I looked at my watch, only 10:15, then I pulled me appointment letter out of my bag and checked the time on it...10:00am!!! aaarrrrggghh!! I had so wanted to be on time! I was late for my first check up as my husbands Sat Nav was playing up and I didn't find out till I came to set off.  It was no-ones fault but my own.  It was even in my phone calander for 10:00am...I just don't know how I managed it. It would have actually been quite difficult to get the time wrong, but there you are.

Dr Ashton though, as a true professional was able to have me in and out of that X-ray room in 15 minutes flat ready for his real 10:30.

I was asked to lay down on the Xray table and Dr Ashton lifted my shirt and commented on how well the scaring was healing.  He then went to prep the needle and started to ask me whether there was any type of food I couldn't eat and whilst I was answering swiftly and firmly inserted the needle into my port...obviously a tried and trusted distraction technique the question.  He had to feed it in quite deep and I actually felt the slight clunk as the needle hit the bottom of the port and I think he then withdrew it very slightly.  He left the needle poking out whilst he prepped the saline and squeezed in the required amount without ceremony.  He then asked the assistant to raise the bed to almost vertical and she got the xray machine in place (at which point my top fell over my tummy with the needle sticking in it (couldn't feel anything).

Dr Ashton gave me a cup of barium to sip and hold in my mouth, it was a bit over-full so I managed to slop it out the side as I sipped it (very elegant) It tasted slightly peperminty, was thick and otherwise tasted of nothing much. When asked, I swallowed the liquid and watched its progress on the xray screen with interest. I could see it enter the pouch area and I could see it took two peristaltic motions to pass into the stomach. (I think it was two, possibly a small amount left for the third squeeze of the tummy not quite sure now).

On the Xray panel I could see my two curved underwires of my bra and I could even see the hook and eyes which keep it together on the back.  Dr Ashton pointed out the band which didn't show that well being plastic but I could see the narrowing of the stomach, the narrow area looked very small so I'm hopeful to see an improvement when i get back onto real food.

Once the table was lowered back into the horizontal position and the xray machine moved I sat up and adjusted my top only to realise just as Dr Ashton pointed it out...that I had a needle still sticking out of my stomach!!  I was trying to go home with it still in!

Before I left Dr Ashton weighed me and this time (if you remember my two week check up comments) their scale tallied with my scale thank goodness and with 2lbs worth of clothes on i weighed 14st 3.5lbs from a start of 15st 5lb.  I haven't actually lost any weight now for around 3 or 4 weeks as I really lost my motivation and had a couple of weeks of serious hormone motivated eating...I did manage to maintain my existing weightloss though which is absolutely unheard of during one of my hormone related head hunger attacks frequently lasting up to 3 weeks. So I have to take comfort in that at least.

After I was sent on my way I realised I hadn't been asked for my fill card and had no idea how much fluid I had on board -  although I guess this is really slightly irrelevant except to update my signature line on the ukgastricband forum.  The only important part is how I feel in terms of restriction and as everyone is very different my experience at a certain fill level really bears no resemblance to how someone else may feel at that level.

Yeah, first fill behind me and now on my way to restart my stalled weight loss with three days of fluids and three days of mush.

Sparkler xx

Monday, 22 March 2010

Starvation Zone...

One thing I read, a link posted by one of the members on ukgastricband forum was an article about the starvation zone/mode phenomenum...I know something definately goes on with me when I'm dieting and as i've posted very recently I've had my suspicions about my thyroid, especially given my family history, but reading this I suspose it really could just be the reason for it all, but whatever is causing it, it's the reason for my loss of motivation. Once I realised I wasn't going to be able to  get this weight off quickly by starving it off, I subconsciously threw in the towel and that's what I have to now work at reversing and building up a good sense of purpose to keep my behaviour on track...The best method I think is going to be ensuring that I keep exercising and keep eating the right level of calories and not too few or too many! easier said than done.


I'm now quite enjoying my daily walk to and from school despite the enormously huge steep hill on the way home.  I've started to zone out a bit and don't notice I'm doing it so much.  I was actually disappointed when my husband offered us a lift this morning as I was looking forward to burning my extra slice of toast off! But my son is extra tired from a musical show he's taking part in during the evenings and stayed in bed so long he had made us run a little late, so I thought it best to be on time for school and take the lift for his sake than mine...I didn't quite have the internal fortitude to let them take the lift and walk to the train station on my own! weak, weak girl!

I'm currently 14st 1.6lb (nude, sorry too much information!) and I would like to try and lose two pounds before my fill on Monday...Not going to happen unless I start really trying again! I'll have to think it through, how am I gonna MAKE it happen?

The forecast is for a mega-hot summer (wouldn't that be fabulous?) hope I'm looking a lot less fleshy by then or it'll be pretty uncomfortable! Would love to lose two stone by then to really enjoy it.

Fingers crossed!


Sparkler xx

Still not got my head straight

Hi All,

I finally faced up to my transgressions on Saturday morning and got on the scale! I decided that my head in the sand tactics are what had allowed me to put on all this weight in the first place and that I shouldn't pretend that my little binges were having no impact. 

The result of my scale confrontation was this.....amazingly I had not put on even 0.2 of a pound!! I had maintained! How fabulous.  I had been walking a lot more and was still having small meal sizes which is the only thing I can put it down to.  But whatever it was I felt very fortunate.

Only 1 week left now till my very first fill (Monday 29th March) and the day before I have my second support group meeting.  I really would like to turn my attitude around before then and get my 'good band' head back on!  This morning for example I ate 2 slices of thick wholemeal toast with bad toppings on and felt excessively full!  I knew that I was full after 1 slice, but I kept on eating till I'd finished the second...I must start listening to my body.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Day of my Surgery...The FULL story!

I thought I'd finally give a run down of the surgery day for anyone who's interested.  I was notified the day or two before that I wouldn't need to arrive by 8.30 as I was being done in the afternoon and I could therefore have a small breakfast.  I had to be there for 10.30 instead.

I caught the train to Manchester and then a taxi to the Spire hospital from there and arrived in good time.  I was sitting in my room by 10.30 texting my husband.  I'd gone in on my own as we hadn't told anyone about the surgery and therefore we had needed to make some complex arrangements for the children so that they wouldn't know I was away from the house overnight!  'Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!'

We'd told my in-laws that we were going into Manchester with some friends for a meal and asked if the boys could stay overnight with them rather than them having to come to our house and baby-sit...so far so good, until my eldest son was invited to a birthday party the next morning which meant him being dropped off by 9.30...that meant the dinner had to turn into an overnight affair so that we could ask the in-laws to drop him off for us otherwise my husband would have needed to bring our youngest son to the hospital with him to pick me up which would have somewhat spoilt the secrecy rating.  Fortunately the in-laws were happy to do all this and asked very few questions about any of it.  Phew!

The room wasn't too glamorous...you kind of expect glamour when you go private, but no.  And I felt quite self conscious in there and couldn't really relax as i kept expecting someone to walk in and so couldn't be bothered switching on the tv as I wouldn't be able to concentrate on it anyway.  I had my iPhone which I had an audio book on that I was listening to to take my mind off what was coming.  I still felt nervous however as the audio book was a very suspenseful ghost story!! Not the wisest choice perhaps.  I'm quite amazed at how well I can avoid thinking about things these days...I really didn't think forward to the operation much, certainly not in any detail as i think I would have got up and run out screaming if I had.

About half an hour or so after I'd been shown to my room a nurse came in and took my blood pressure and measured me up for my support hose.  These are like long white socks with peep toes.  Mmmm nice.  They are designed to compress the blood flow in your lower legs to decrease the likelihood of having a blood clot (DVT).

By this time I was quite thirsty, but not allowed anything to drink till after it was all over.

11.30 am and the nurse returned with a long questionnaire and gave me a Heparin jab in the tummy to thin my blood and reduce clotting prior to the procedure.  After the jab I had a real stinging sensation in my tummy where I'd had the jab...I took this as a bad omen as I felt like a bit of a wimp already and I'd only had a needle.  The nurse estimated my op time would be about 5ish, so I decided to hold off on getting into my sexy surgical gown , charming paper pants and grannystockings!

I didn't really feel comfortable reclining on the bed as I felt self conscious...I would have felt really lazy if anyone had come in which they would be doing.  Seems silly but I just couldn't so I had to sit in the chair for hours listening to my audio book and now and again getting up and pacing around and every half an hour going to the loo...nerves I guess.

Around lunch time a doctor (suspect he was a trainee) came round and took a blood sample for haemoglobin levels and liver function.  He said he would put my line in my hand ready for the anaesthetist if he could find a good vein,  now I'm a very veiny person, but for some reason today the usually proud veins on the back of my hands had all but disappeared from view and he just took one look and didn't even mention it again! (that's why I suspect he was a trainee).

About 4.00 I finally got changed into my surgical attire and was all set when Claire the Healthier Weight nurse came to get me.  She redid the questionnaire...I can't even remember what the questions were, a lot of them were about making sure I was the right patient at every stage of the process.  I had to quote my own birth date rather than just answering yes (I guess people will say 'yes' a lot of the time even if they haven't heard the question properly).

I had to put on my dressing gown and slippers on and walk down to surgery with Claire and an orderly.  Once inside the side room to the surgery I was asked to lie on the surgical gurney and a line was put into the back of my hand which was fine, didn't hurt too much.  Claire tried to keep me talking at this point distract me from becoming nervous I suspect.  I was glad to be distracted to be honest.

The aneasthetist gave me what he called a pre-med, which was supposed to prepare me for the general anaesthetic...don't know how.  He injected it into the line on the back of my hand...it felt horribly cold going in and I could feel it going all up my arm, then I could feel a really painful sensation run right down the centre of my body, which culminated in my ladies bits in a very painful fizzing, tingling, burning sensation.  Not nice at all.  Then I did feel very drunk...I told Claire about the sensations and she said knowingly..."Yes, it's a Dr ?? special" Can't remember the anaesthetists name I'm afraid.

All else I recall prior to the surgery was the anaesthetist saying he was going to administer the general now, and Claire stopping him and saying can we do the questionnaire first and I again had to answer all the questions from the same questionnaire.  Very thorough I'm sure.  I really can't remember anything else.

The next thing I remember is being very very drowsy and hearing voices very close around me talking, they were obviously observing me closely.  I felt as though I couldn't move, I didn't have the strength.  Ultimately I managed to open my eyes which was about all I could do.  One of the nurses offered me a drink of water and I didn't even have the strength to respond in any way, I couldn't have put my head up to sip anything.  One nurse was telling the other one about one of the other patients who she was calling a real 'Princess', she'd aparently been very imperious and demanding about the fact that she was thirsty and wasn't allowed a drink of water prior to surgery.  Quite funny, but they seem to almost forget you're there some of the things they say to one another. 

When the nurse came to collect me and take me back to the ward, the nurse who'd offered me a drink told her I'd had one drink already and I'd refused a second one...news to me unless I had the first drink whilst I was unconscious...I suppose I could have woken earlier and not remembered it but it seemed unlikely the way I felt then.  There was also a conversation with the orderly about the number of patients back to back on Saturday's and Sunday's and how tired they were with the long days.  If the orderlys felt that way I dread to think how the surgeons must have felt and I was second from last...they had another patient in surgery still to go.  I think they were doing 8 each day.  I think it was around 6pm when I woke up. 

I was wheeled back to my room and was hooked up to an IV drip for fluids and had an automatic blood pressure machine on my right arm which took my blood pressure every 20 minutes.  I had my lower legs wrapped up in these electronic airbags which inflated and deflated intermitently to squeeze the blood around my legs and prevent clots and I still could hardly keep my eyes open. 

I'd been asked if I had any pain when I was in the recovery room and indicated that I had some in my incision, so something was given to me for pain, must have been intravenous.  I still had some pain for a while (sort of burning sensation), but this eased off after a while as the painkiller took effect.

The bloodpressure machine really squeezed my arm so hard I ended up with purple bruise marks where the creases were caused by the inflating of the armband! Oww, hard to get quality sleep with that going on.

Dr Ashton and my surgeon Mr Favretti and another surgeon who assisted (need to check his name) came in to see me during the evening but I could hardly keep my eyes open to speak to them so they said they'd come back in the morning.  Mr Favretti leaned over and said it had all gone very well and squeezed my leg which I thought was very sweet of him. I guess it's quite an intimate experience operating on someone.

The nurse phoned my husband and he came in around 7pm to see how I was.  He looked quite anxious for me.  I was trying really hard to tell him all about it and not let him feel he might as well have stopped at home for all the comunication going on, but the effort made me feel very nauseous and I ended up sending him for the nurse to get me some anti-sickness medication.  Whilst he was gone I closed my eyes and rested, and by the time he'd returned I felt out of immediate danger of vomitting.  I explained to the nurse I thougth I may have overdone it trying to chat and she said she could see a real spike in my blood pressure on the machine since my husband had been in, so we decided I'd better stop trying to be entertaining and just get some rest. Oh, and my husband had bought me a bunch of tulips in...only the second EVER bunch of flowers he's bought me! Did I say EVER?! Yes I did, EVER. He must have been worried about me.

After he went home I just dozed between painfully squeezy blood-pressure tests and was quite comfortable, apart from having a very dry throat which felt as though a tube had been shoved down it (think it might have been). So I kept sipping water through the night and I had a lovely nurse who had to unstrap me from all the equipment a couple of times for trips to the toilet.

Feeling low and sliding off the wagon

Hi all,

I've been really struggling for the last few weeks and it's getting worse!  Initially I was working very hard to keep my calories below 1000 per day and losing only 1lbish per week for two weeks!!! Very frustrating, so I tried not to think about it too much and decided to up my exercise and also to maybe just have 1200 cals a day to stave off the hunger pains which were getting unbearable and also to help my poor flagging metabolism.  I started walking the kids to school and back each day which amounts to over 2 miles walking each day, the road to school is very steep and on the way home is an absolute killer. My tennis lessons have resumed once a week and we took an hour and a half family walk in very hilly terrain on the first Sunday...then I did a drastic calorie cut for a couple of days and managed to knock off over a pound...I should have stayed off the scales though as on the third day the pound had returned for no apparent reason. 

Since then I've had the additional challenge of both my children taking turns to take two days off school ill so I had two days at home last week and two this week and my eldest son had a birthday party over the weekend which entailed me buying and preparing multitudinous amounts of junk food.  I'm only human and very hungry and deprived and I've really struggled.  My hormones are also playing havoc and I've suffered a lot of head hunger and very low moods for the past week and this has resulted in some very illogical food related behaviour.  I therefore haven't been near the scales for about a week now as I don't dare!

I don't want to know the worst.  I seemed to just think of food the entire time I was at home regardless of whether or not I was hungery (I wasn't hungry). I'm back at work today with a very healthy and sensible start to the day and have bought a small amount of very sensible food with me to eat at work, lets hope I can get myself back on the straight and narrow...This wouldn't have even happened if I was getting a decent reward for all my deprivation of the past.  If the scales had kept going slowly downwards I would have been fine, I would have kept up my motivation because I was being rewarded for it. I'm only human and I can't seem to deprive myself to that degree for almost no tangible reward. I'm actually secretly convinced that I have an underactive thyroid, both my sisters are under treatment for the condition, but on the two occassions I've been tested it's come back normal, but both times I was not dieting I was actually overeating and actively putting on weight, which I wondered if this would not show the problem up as I initially do lose weight for the first few weeks of a diet and then I stop and lose almost nothing even when I'm eating well below what I should be.  I would request another test now, but I'd feel so stupid after the previous results. I'd also feel stupid that I'd had a gastric band and was still unable to lose weight!!!

I have my first fill booked for 29th March which is only another week and a half, but I really wanted to lose as much weight as possible and work really hard the whole time...which I have done (apart from this past week) and have a lot to show for it.  I really think 8-9 weeks post op is too long to wait for the first fill as I've been so very hungry on the low cal diet as my surgical swelling based restriction is absolutely gone! I've gone back to eating largeish portions, I've gone back to bolting my food! I'm gonna have to re-learn all the good habits I was getting into post surgery.  I do occassionally come a cropper with things getting stuck, but so far only untoasted bread, chicken breast and hard boiled egg.

Please, please, please let me be one of the lucky ones who experience some good restriction after the first fill and that I don't feel hungry between meals...let's call this The Prayer of the Banded.