Lower BMI Lap Band Surgery?

Updated on November 03, 2011
B.W. asks from Seattle, WA
4 answers

I have struggled to lose weight for years and the problem is just getting worse now that I am in my 40's. I feel like I don't have enough energy for my kids. My BMI is about 32, but I also have sleep apnea so I might qualify for lap band surgery under the new guidelines. Looking for stories and advice, both pro and con! Thanks!

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answers from Detroit on

Hi Mom---Being overweight is a frustrating situation and realizing that you need to do something serious is the first step towards changing that situation. First, you have to realize that it's taken some time to get where you are now, so give yourself the time necessary to undo what has been done.

I work as a Wellness Educator and I have the honor of learning from some forward thinking healthcare professionals in this country. I've taken classes from a Naturopath who has her PhD in Nutrition. This is very important to understand. What you need to do is totally change your way of life in terms of what you think a diet is. A diet is a way of life, consuming foods that will support optimal health. It is NOT a short-term project and then stops when your desired weight is achieved. Things like 'diets' and even the lap band surgery will NOT work if you do not make those lifestyle changes. So why not just go with the program that works and keeps you where your body needs to be?

First, do you exercise? It is non-negotiable. Find a program that you will like and stick with it. At first, it may to just get around the block. I highly recommend hiring a trainer if you can. Having an accountability partner helps tremendously. Schedule it like you would any other appointment and then keep that appointment, just like you would the doctor. The more you do, the more it will support what you will be doing dietarily.

Next, you want your diet to consist of nutrient dense foods, which means plants. Plants have the volume to keep you full without lots of calories. You may want to look at things like a volumetrics diet or a flexitarian diet if you like to have a program to follow. Anyway, you don't necessarily have to be a vegetarian or vegan, but I would recommend eating vegetarian or vegan meals to help with weight loss. Your diet should consist of about 90% calories from plants. Plants give you fiber, fiber helps fill your stomach with fewer calories. If you must count something, keep track of how much fiber you eat every day...aim for 50 grams. Eliminate dairy (see www.pcrm.org, www.thechinastudy.com) and minimize animal protein comsumption, using meat more as a flavoring for soups or stews. Within pcrm, there is a booklet you can download called the Vegetarian Starters Kit. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to transition to eating less meat. Too much meat leads to diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes anyway. Eating less is also good for the planet. It takes FAR less water and land to raise plants than it does animals...if that is important to you. But I digress.

I have all kinds of other ideas, like simply don't buy snacks, they will call your name from the kitchen and you will eat them if they are there. You wonder about the rest of your family? Eating this way will be a good way to eat for a long and healthy life for everyone.

You can get some great recipe ideas from www.vegetariantimes.com and www.eatingwell.com. Again, within PCRM I have signed up to get recipes emailed to me from their Cancer Project. I use many of their recipes (usually adding additional spices for more flavor) and one, actually two, that we use is a 3 Bean Chili on top of Tex Mex Bulgar Pilaf.

So, I hope I haven't confused you too much. I know I've given you a lot to think about. You might even want to take the Wellness 101 class from the Naturopath. It can be done long distance. Feel free to call me if you have any questions. I'd be happy to help. Good luck...D.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My only experience is with patients who have had the surgery, who developed complications, though I knew a nurse who had it done and she did well.

What ever the choice, lap band or gastric by-pass, regardless, or any other method of wt. loss is going to be a LIFE STYLE CHANGE and major discipline. Eating very small amounts, sometimes only a few ounces at a time, many times a day and excercise.

Some of the complications are development of kidney stones, high uric acid levels, some of these have been very severe, requiring frequent IV fluids for hydration and hospitalization or ER visits. Development of terrible metabolic problems with malnutrition which have required TPN (total parenteral nutrition, long term IV's with PICC lines) weeks to months at at time, unable to eat. Some of these I know have become chronic over the rest of their lives. Dehydration and develpment of other health issues. Some have had to have surgery to remove the excess skin left from the huge wt. loss. Some are unable to consume enough adequate nutrition for the body to work right and become so underweight they are sicker than they were when they were overweight.

Some have had the surgery then kept over eating and the band didn't hold. Some have high out of pocket expense not covered by insurance.

I'm sure there are many successes, otherwise it would not be such big business. Some Drs. and clinics have sessions you can attend to find out more.

There are safe and effective wt. loss programs that are healthy, but again it is discipline and change in metabolism and excercise. Unless you are willing to make lifestyle changes and stick with it, likely won't be successful.

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My BMI is about 35. I considered a lap band for about a minute, but did some research and found that you still have to make a major lifestyle change and reduce your food intake dramatically.

I know myself well enough to know that I often eat for reasons other than hunger, and a lap band will not take away these urges.

I've done just about every diet out there, and am finally coming at it from a scientific/nutritional perspective. My mom is diabetic, and I don't want to end up there, so have been doing a lot of reading about insulin and blood glucose levels. I truly believe that one of the keys to nutritional health is keeping these levels in check. When you eat huge meals or lots of sugar, your blood glucose has a big spike, and your pancreas produces insulin to drop it down. This results in a blood sugar crash, and you're suddenly overcome with cravings, hunger, etc.

My (I hope) solution is to work on eating less than half as much, twice as often, in order to keep these levels at a more even keel. Small portions of lean protein and veggies (all low-glycemic foods) 6 times a day will keep me fueled and satisfied and keep me from those uncontrollable binges I used to have almost daily.

I've decided to do Medifast until I reach my goal weight (I'm on day 6 now and have already lost 4.6 lbs), then transition slowly to the goal above.



answers from Portland on

I can't tell you about lap band but I can tell you that I seemed to have tried every diet and finally found one that works, I don't have to work at it and I get treats twice a week like ice cream, cake, cookies, etc. I am losing weight (20 lbs in 4 months) and my friends who went on the diet also is losing weight. We all eat different foods. I found out that each body type likes different foods.

By the way - exercising is an option for some body types and others a must. It also tells you the type of exercise you should be doing.

Get the book: different bodies, different types (women's edition) by Carolyn Mein.

Everything prior to this I was eating what everyone said I would lose weight - almonds - almond butter - no desserts - salads, veggies, chicken.

Well - I found out that almonds was not on my diet but peanut butter was - yes the kind that has lots of fattening oils in it. veggies but only certain veggies not other veggies. I can have tomatoes but only twice a week but I can have green beans every night. Chicken and cornish game hen are best for me. My friend gets game meat like elk, deer, bear, boar, et. My other friend gets beef and eggs. Eggs aren't on my diet except twice a week but she can have them every day. I don't like eggs every day so this is good. On the other hand she loves eggs.

Each body type wants and desires to have different foods. I am not hungry when I eat like this (neither are my friends), I don't have to count calories - I just eat the foods for my body type. I lost 20 lbs in 4 months or did I tell you that.

I got the book at amazon.com. There are 25 different body types. Which one are you and what should you eat on your body type.


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