Ha, so I just had a look and the last time I wrote a blog entry on here was July of last year! Yeah...I've been away far too long but since coming back here this week, I can't believe I stayed away so long! I'd forgotten how good it is to talk to other bandits and to have people who understand what you're going through and are actually supportive!
So, quick update for anyone playing at home: It's been 16 months since my band operation, and despite some very slow progress, I have lost just over 40kg which is almost halfway to the 98kg I need to lose to reach goal. I've also returned to full time study this year, which has taken up most of my focus and sanity but overall is a good thing because I'm focussed on a new career that I absolutely love.
I'm still ever the worst critic of myself, so as proud of myself as I am with my progress (and believe me, I am sooo proud), I can't help but feel a little disappointed that it's taken me 16 months to lose that weight. But my mantra at the moment is "It doesn't matter how slowly it comes off, as long as it stays off for good!" The wonderful thing is that I can actually tell I've lost weight, mostly through the fact that my clothes are all getting too big on me!
My biggest problem has been getting the tension/tightness/adjustment of my band right. For most of this year, I've struggled with being able to eat properly, keeping food down etc. Being the self-saboteur that I am, I spent most of the year assuming it was just my fault, that I was either eating too quickly, not taking small enough bites etc. I even had my doctor take out fluid twice but my band was still inconsistent and getting almost unbearable in the last few weeks. So yesterday I went back to the surgeon, got another 0.5ml removed and suddenly it's like I've seen the light! Almost instantly, I could eat an entire meal (well a small serving but solid food all the same) without any problems. I ate chicken and broccoli curry with salad and a very small piece of naan (I tore a little piece off my nieces naan) without anything getting stuck. I almost wanted to cry I was just so happy! I also noticed that through my months and months of trying to fix myself, I've actually developed good habits in eating slowly and chewing well, which is a lovely by-product of all the stress I've had with my band.
What's really been getting me down lately, is that with all my issues with my band being too tight, I haven't been able to enjoy the lovely healthy foods I love like fresh fruit, salad and meat. Now, I feel like Christmas has come early as I think about all the lovely, fresh, healthy meals I'm going to make. I know that this new freedom with food is going to mean I'm open to more temptation, but not being able to eat healthy, solid food has shown me how much I crave good food, so I hope that will help too.
So that's me, 16 months on and after a year of struggle with my band, I finally feel like I'm back in the game and ready to tackle the next stage of my weight loss. I'm currently 119.5kg and my goal is to get under 100kg by the two year anniversary of my banding operation which is July). I'm also going to focus on toning up because my wobbly bits are getting too wobbly to bear now!
I'm just a wee bit excited!
So I'm 13 days to surgery and things are plodding along as always, but yesterday I officially began the nightmarish fortnight that I imagine all bandits reflect on and shudder.
Yes ladies and gentleman, I'm talking about the pre-op optifast 'experience'.
Now being the nervous nelly that I am, I've been doing my research with great enthusiasm, and the pre-op diet was not an exception. I went out and bought a blender, knowing that not only would I need it for mushies, but it would make the shakes taste better. I made plenty of ice and ensured my water filter jug was full and chilled in the fridge. I went to the fruit and veg markets and stocked up on fresh veggies and since I'm allowed meat each night, I bought lean beef, pork, chicken and fish and froze it in 150g parcels. I was as prepared as I could be and I somewhat naievely thought "yeah, I'm gonna ace these two weeks!"
Oh how wrong I was.
Firstly, I didn't think about the fact that drinking the shakes would not be an enjoyable or satisfying experience. Obviously I thought about which shakes I would prefer the flavour of and how to make them so that they taste the best, but I didn't think about the fact that drinking mostly liquids is quite different to eating solid food. I have a shake and feel like 'was that a meal?'
Secondly, that optifast chicken soup is awful. I tried to add things to it to make it taste better but I couldn't handle it. So there's a rather expensive box of foul tasting soup sitting in my kitchen and I don't know what to do with it.
Thirdly, the optifast headaches are real...I didn't think they would happen but sure enough, yesterday afternoon the headaches began. Ive upped my water intake and keep telling myself they will go away in a few days.
And finally, the hunger pains are just plain annoying. My stomach never feels quite full and an hour or two after a meal, the empty feeling comes back in full force!
However, I believe there is a reason for everything and we can always find a positive spin so here are my positives so far:
*I like the optifast choc berry cruch bars...yummy!
*I have never enjoyed my veggies more and the meat I get to have with dinner is pure bliss!
*Every shake I have gets me closer to my operation.
*The hunger feelings mean that I can get used to my hunger singals for once I'm banded.
*I'm getting myself used to a liquid diet which I will need for post-op.
*I'm being forced to be very creative with what I can and can't cook for meals.
So optifast might be awful, but I figure if I can get through this, I'll get through just about anything!
So I'm set to be banded later on this month (I love saying that) on July 30th and whilst I'm super excited and throwing myself into planning, I have found that over the last few days these little niggling self-doubts have started bothering me.
First of all, I realise that banding is not a magic solution, and that's kind of what attracted me to it. The fact that you still have to make the effort with diet and exercise confirms to me that this is a healthy solution. I also realise that banding doesn't work for everyone and that is what has been playing on my mind, because what if it doesn't work for me? What if I do everything right, everything the dietitian and surgeon tell me to do and yet I still don't lose weight?
I've been overweight for the last 20 years, since I was about 8 years old, and I've never been able to lose more than 10-13 kgs, despitae having tried every diet, program, gym, and weight loss method you can think of. I think my brain is so conditioned to me failing at weight loss that it can't possibly fathom the idea of me actually succeeding this time. Everytime I read a story or post about someone who hasn't had success with the band I think to myself "yeah that will be me" and when I read the posts/stories about people who have succeeded, I think "that won't be me though".
I'm so frustrated with myself because I don't want to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, I don't want my own negative thoughts to become the very reson I fail. but everytime I tell myself that I can do this, that it will succeed and I will lose wieght, I get this niggling little voice in the back of my mind telling me not to get my hopes up. I'm just trying to do as much research as possible and prepare myself to do all the right things so I'm set up for success but it's still difficult.
I already see a psychologist for my anxiety and depression so at my next session with him I'm going to discuss this, but it's still annoying. I don't want to sabotage myself! Did anyone else go through this during the banding process? How did you deal with it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.