Lap Band Surgery - Saint Paul, MN

Updated on June 21, 2009
K.T. asks from Saint Paul, MN
17 answers

I have been overweight since I was a toddler, and have dieted for most of my life [since 7 years of age when my mom enrolled me in a weight loss program]. Before becoming pregnant with my son, I lost 60 pounds in the previous 4 years. It was slow but steady and I was happy with my progress because I felt it was better to lose it in small amounts so that I could be sure I was staying healthy, and so my skin would have a chance to tighten as I became thinner. Well during my pregnancy I gained 26 pounds, and the day after having my son I was weighed in the hospital and was back down to my pre-pregnancy weight [I assume the 26 pounds was all water weight and from my son]. My son is now 16 months old and I have gained back the 60 pounds it took me four years to lose, and another 20 pounds on top of that. It is so frustrating and discouraging.

My mom mentioned to me that maybe I could try the lap band. I normally would be completely against weight loss surgery, at least for me, because I have no underlying medical conditions causing this weight gain [just 20 years of bad habits] and it is very possible to lose it naturally. Nonetheless I wanted to ask you mommies out there who have had this surgery: Is it worth it? Did you have any complications or bad experiences afterward, or is this a good way to go? I worry a lot about the side effects, which is why I would never get gastric bypass surgery even if I was guaranteed to be thin in a years time. I have heard horror stories about these surgeries in which people have had constant diarrhea, hair loss, osteoporosis, gained back all of the weight after a while, etc. However, it would be a great benefit to my health to lose this weight sooner rather than later, because at not even 22 years of age [I will be 22 next Thursday... please don't judge me by my age] I already have knee issues which will likely result in arthritis. I had an MRI done and I am already developing small bone spurs although they have not given me a diagnosis of having arthritis yet. My blood pressure has always been great, and I have already had a couple of glucose tests and a thyroid test which were fine.

I also am considering joining Weight Watchers, and would welcome any comments about that as well.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for your responses. Sounds like the majority agree it would be better to try Weight Watchers. I know in my heart even if I did get the lap band that it would be the wrong choice. I've thought about it and believe me to get myself to do it I would have to jump into it and completely set aside my own feelings. I can't even attempt to trick myself into believing that it would be good. Still I have thought about it a lot because it does seem like a "quick fix" even though that is, in reality, not what it is at all. I guess I just wanted a general consensus to help support my desire to lose weight naturally. I will give Weight Watchers a try. I like the idea of going to meetings and it being kind of a group thing instead of being all on my own with no accountability

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J.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

Weight Watchers works...hard work but well worth it. Do you have a friend or relative to join w/ you? Makes it easier, more fun, and they say you are more likely to have success. My coworker got a lap band and is slowly gaining weight back too.

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K.P.

answers from Des Moines on

I too have battle the weight. I was thin as a young child and then gain weight mostly after high school. Lost 70 pounds only to regain plus some. Then join weight watchers and yes, it does work if you stick to the program. I lost 50 pounds doing that program. However, I gain it all back and then had two children.
I am going to do the Lap Band surgery in October. I have already see my surgeon and started the pre-op process. I thought I would at least go talke to him and see what he said. I figured if it only cost me an office visit it was worth it. The surgery all depends on you BMI, you can go online and figure out what your BMI is. I would say go to the Lap Band website and read as much as you can about the procedure.
I know about 5 people that has had it done and said it was the best thing ever and they wished they had not waited so long.

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G.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

K.,
I have not had the surgery, but have been to an informational seminar with my husband. I think if you truyly want to consider this, that is your next step. It is not simply a matter of wanting the surgery, you must be able to committ to a whole lifestyle change in order for it to be successful. You will need to have good support system surrounding the whole process to make it successful. Part of the process is to understand why you eat and make the food choices that you do.

I too have struggled with weight issues my whole life, but wasn't really ready to consider all of the changes that would be required of me. I wasn't ready to give up caffiene and some other conveniences that I enjoy. If it was affecting me with other health issues such as diabetes or heart issues - I am sure there would have been a different consideration. This is a life changing decision - just like quitting smoking. You need to be ready in all ways to do it.

I wish you luck. I think, given your age and health that Weight Watchers would be a good start.

G.

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D.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi K.,

I am a personal wellness coach - I have helped numerous people lose their weight in a natural and safe way - more importantly than that - they are able to maintain their weight loss. The problems that exist with lap bands, etc. is that when those devices are removed people have a tendency to gain their weight back and then some. Coincidentally, several of my clients were formerly on Weight Watchers - they lost weight and then plateaued or keep gaining their weight back as soon as they stop going to the meetings. I have helped them to get past their plateaus, reach their goal weights and keep it off! One of the services that I offer is a Wellness Evaluation - it is a free service during which we talk about wellness in general - give you some tips that you can apply into your everyday life, figure out the amount of protein your body needs every day, figure out your resting metabolic rate, and lots of other great information. If this is something that would be of interest to you please feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com luck with whatever you decide - D.

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M.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have looked into lap band also. But it scares me and is so restrictive that I am trying to lose on my own first.

I spoke to my doctor about wanting to lose weight. He put me on a drug called phentermine. It controls my appitite and also make you lose faster. I also joined weight watchers online. It has been 2 weeks and I have lost more than 10 pounds.

You were able to lose it on your own before. Give it another shot before you decide to have the surgery.

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S.C.

answers from Des Moines on

Hi K.! I also am a first time mom to a little boy born in January 2008! I decided that I needed to stick around for my son and I needed to start dealing with things! The decision I made was to try doing it "naturally" until he was 3 and then I'd SERIOUSLY consider surgery. I tried on my own the first year with no success, this year I got real-- I started going to Weight Watchers in February. I have you beat-- I'm undoing THIRTY FIVE YEARS of bad habits-- I started February 2 at 338.8 pounds and Monday I was 304.8. I ALSO went to my doctor in January to a) get her to give me a letter of medical neccessity so I could pay for WW out of my medical flex spending account and b) I'd have documentation of my weight loss efforts if I needed to jump through insurance company hoops for surgery approval later.

I can't tell you how much better losing just 10% of my weight has made me feel! So far WW is working for me, I suggest you try it (and document with your doc in case you need surgical approval later!) And give it a good long hard try to-- at least a year!

I should also add that about the same time I started weight watchers I moved into a third floor apartment in a building with no elevators-- built in exercise (and clutter control!) plus I have a toddler to chase, wrestle and play with!

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C.K.

answers from Madison on

Hi K.,
I feel for you. I have a family friend who had the lap band and lost a lot of weight. She eventually suffered some complications and had to have it either removed or adjusted, so the weight came back. It was very frustrating for her. If I remember correctly, the MD's have been unable to remove it due to scar tissue forming around it. One thing I noticed with my friend and another person I know who had gastric bypass is that they had to go on such strict diets after the surgery that it seemed that it took a lot of discipline. If they could be that disciplined after the surgery, why not try to lose the weight first?

You are young. I think you have plenty of time to try losing the weight through Weight Watchers first. Maybe set a deadline for yourself and then go back to considering surgery. I wish you the best.

K.L.

answers from Milwaukee on

i'm over weight too. and i have struggled all my life too. i don't think i could do the lap band surgery. i have joined weight watchers at the end of april and have lost 25 lbs so far. a friend and i joined together and talk everyday!! we have become each other cheering crowd thru the ups and downs. i have fewer points than she does. but weight watchers has been teaching me how to eat better. so that's the way i would go. just remember the weight didn't go on in a week and won't come off in a week. good luck!!!

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A.S.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

K.---I had the lapband surgery last November and have lost 58 pounds. For me, it has been the best decision I could have ever made!! I have tried numerous programs out there, and the most I could ever lose was 15 pounds.... I do however have some medical problems that my weight effects, thus insurance covered the surgery.
I haven't had any bad health problems because of the surgery, no complications at all.
There is alot more disclipline needed with the lapband surgery, compared to the gastric bypass.
I guess what I'd suggest is that you would try a program, like Weight Watchers and see if you can get some of your bad habits under control. Because those bad habits will still be there even if you have the lapband. You can still "physically" eat junk....it's a total lifetime change and exercise HAS to be a part of that change. I'm not sure how active you are? That part was hard for me, to take the time for myself ( I have 4 kids and work full time)but it's now a part of my day that I really look forward to.
I've been an on-line member of weight watchers since 2004---and I still find myself using that program as a guideline. So it is a great program. My body just didn't respond to anything very well.
Good luck to you!!

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M.H.

answers from Rapid City on

I attend Weight Watchers and have been on and off for about ten years. I like the program because it works. It teaches you better eating habits and encourages exercise for weight loss and the health benefits. However, in order for it to work you do have to be accountable by writing down what you and sticking to your points. If you do, then you will see results. I have lost about ten pounds in the last three months with Weight Watchers. So, right now it is slow, but steady and I hope that this time I will keep the weight off and teach my daughter (she is 2.5) some healthy habits. Also, the support at the meetings is nice because you know you are not the only one who is struggling with their weight. Other peoples success can be a good motivator. Good luck with whatever you decide!

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D.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

K. - I can only imagine on difficult it has been for you. Check out this website by a doctor in SD, http://www.releasingfat.com/ He has been doing work and research on the low glycemic way of eating. There's lot of great websites that talk about low glycemic and how to use that process for health.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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K.S.

answers from Milwaukee on

Most of the responses you received so far are right on target with what I want to say. The surgery is a band aid to the real problem. Don't cut into a healthy body! There are more diets, diet pills and surgeries out there to help fix our weight problems but being overweight is a bigger issue now then ever before. Why? Those temporary fixes only mask the true problem. Losing weight forever takes discipline and you need to change your lifestyle forever, not just until you get to your goal weight.

I was on weight watchers for almost a year and lost 22 pounds but I found that I was hungry much of the time. I also did not exercise because it was not a requirement. Now, I exercise everyday and I watch what I eat and I have VERY SLOWLY lost 8 more pounds. My total goal is to lose 50 pounds (about how much I gained when I had my daughter and quit smoking). Now that I'm down 30 pounds I am more motivated then ever. I snitch treats now and again but I don't expect to lose 10 pounds a month either. Be realistic and enjoy the ride. Live now, don't wait until you lose wait to live your life.

Also, try SparkPeople.com. It is similar to weight watchers but I like it better and best of all it is FREE. No catches, no floods of Spam emails; just a legitimate program. WW hides the nutritional calculations in their points program which doesn't help you learn what to eat. Only to eat within points values. SparkPeople shows you how to get the proper amount of nutrition by showing you how much fats, carbs, etc. you need to keep healthy. I really like it.

Feel free to email me if you want more info and I'd love to have you as a buddy if you need one!

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B.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

My dr. wants me to the do the lap band or gastric. I just don't want to do it. I figure if I come out of surgery and have to be on such a strict diet of like soup broth and such then why don't I just skip the surgery and go on the diet? I just don't like the risks of the surgery. My dad had a friend who had so many complications from surgery he died like a year after surgery. I know I'm overweight, I know it's dangerous, and I know my health is suffering but I just don't like the idea of surgery.

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E.H.

answers from Green Bay on

Hi K.!
I am so glad to hear that you are leaning toward Weight Watchers and not the surgery. I think you will do great! I wanted to present you with another option, too. Shaklee has a great weight loss plan, it is called Cinch. It is great because it helps you lose fat, not muscle mass like most diets do. Shaklee spent over 50 years developing their cinch plan, and spent lots of money on research! Their shakes are powered by leucine, which helps to keep the muscle you have, burn fat you don't need, and lose inches you don't want. Delicious shakes for breakfast and lunch, or eat a meal bar for lunch instead of a shake. If you want more information, please e-mail me [email protected]____.com. I am a Shaklee distributor (simply because I love all of the products!!!), and would love to help you. Shaklee also has a special website for people doing the cinch program, so you would have support from other people around the world doing the same plan, check it out: www.cinchclub.com . The other great thing about Shaklee is that if you tell friends and family about the products and they try them, you start getting a check from Shaklee each month. Can't beat that! I would love to help you, check out my website: www.shaklee.net/ehaar .

Whatever you decide, keep up the great work, you deserve it!
E.

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L.W.

answers from La Crosse on

K.,

I really feel for you. I have struggled with my weight since I was in puberty. Bad habits are hard to break. I would go to weight watchers and try it for at least 16 weeks. I am a lifetime member. Weight watchers works when you follow the program which is just changing your habits into a NEW lifestyle with LOTS of support. If you apply for lap band surgery, they will put you on a drastic diet for so many weeks right away, before they even decide if they will do the surgery or not. So, I would join weight watchers, and if you still feel that is not enough, then apply for lap band and you'll tackle that initial diet a lot easier.

Lisa, mom of 4 boys

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N.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I say give WW another chance. However, your mind TRULY has to be in the right place or you won't succeed. You have to be willing to WORK at the plan -- nothing comes easy.

Here is my story --

I too have been "over weight" majority of my life -- since about 3rd grade. I have yo-yo gained/lost several times over the years, but reached my highest weight (270 lbs -- height 5 ft 11 in) after being pregnant with my son. I have never truely considred surgery because 1) I know I want another child and 2) because I know that if I don't change the root of the problem I'd gain it all back anyway.

Last October, after seeing a picture of myself with my family, I had finally had enough. I started following an atkins plan and lost 50 lbs by late Feb. From there I have gained/lost the same 10 lbs over and over.

2 weeks ago I switched geers and have joined Weight Watchers Online. During the first week I lost 8 lbs (mostly water weight obviously). By switching things up I have "refound" my motivation. Current weight is 226 lbs (44 lbs down from the 270 of last Oct.) My goal is 200 lbs.

I believe you can do it -- and if you want an "online buddy" let me know. Best of luck.

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T.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hello K.,

First off I want to say congratulations on the birth of your son and the awesome job you did prior to having him with the weight loss. Here is a little about me, I have been overweight my entire life. I am 36 years old now and still have issues. I have been in the same situation as you are right now. With the help and constant encouragement of a previous doctor I lost 60 pounds, SLOWLY, but I did keep it off for about 4 years and then I got pregnant with my son. I had gestational diabetes while I was pregnant so I have to count carbs and really watched what I ate, which was great and I only gained 11 pounds in my pregnancy. After I had my son I was even lighter then when I got pregnant (I lost an additional 12 pounds). I was able to keep this off for a little while then I went right back to my old eating habits and guess what gained it all back again.
So here are my thoughts on all the yo-yo diets , surgeries, pills and all that fluffy stuff. Some things work for some people, but what really needs to happen is that you need to make a life style change, the word diet is like nails on a chalk board, it phycs people out only to make them fail. The surgeries are a quick way to get the weight off and personally I feel they should only be available for people who are morbidly obese and are unable to function on a daily basis and it comes down to life or death. Weight watchers is a great program to get you in the mind set of good eating habits and has a great support group along with it, but it is still only you that has to make the choice to follow it. The other thing that no one has mentioned is EXERCISE. You need to get out an move. It is summer go for walks with your son, play at the play ground with him, swing with him, chase him around. See now that does not seem like exercise but it is. So my suggestion to you is to get back on your good eating habits like you were before and enjoy the play time with your son. Remember portion control is also a keep point.
You are so very young I truly hope you do not choose to go the way of the surgeries because the future is still unknown for them and if you choose to grow your family at some point I know there have been concerns and I also know that there have been success stories.
Sit down and write down the pros and cons of all the options that are out there for you and how it would impact your life and your sons. Remember we are the role models for our children so keep in mind that you want to teach your son good eating habits also so he does not have to go through the challenges you have in your life.
By the way I am still over weight and slowly changing my eating habits and getting out there to move and have fun in the sun with my son.
If you would like to I would be more then happy to be part of your support or if you just want some one to talk to drop me a line and we can chat.

Good luck!

T.

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