First, a note: I have no intention of updating once a day about these things until the day of my surgery. But I did want to make this post, at least, to sort of…well, warn anyone who might be considering gastric banding surgery. If it’s something you’re looking into, keep in mind…
This part of the process sucks. It sucks large, throbbing donkey wong. I’m tired. Constantly. It’s that special kind of tired you feel…well, when you haven’t been eating well. It’s hard to focus on things. Thankfully, I only feel hungry around the time I should be “eating”, but the particular brand of protein powder my doctor sells doesn’t taste that great (though the “chocolate” is better than the “vanilla”–quotation marks used because they don’t actually taste like either of those flavors). And if you have willpower issues like I do, it’s really difficult to resist the urge to eat actual food.
So, some advice. Your mileage may vary.
- Don’t even think about food. Tempting as it is, don’t fantasize about what you’ll eat when you can have solid food again. Don’t work on meal plans for the future. Just don’t. You’ll be happier. I know it’s difficult, but find something else with which to occupy your mind. I’m lucky in that the day I started this pre-operation diet was the Wednesday before an upcoming concert I’m performing in, and so preparing for that is making a nice distraction. As part of this, do what you can to avoid watching movies or TV shows that have food in them. Especially avoid commercials for restaurants. In fact, if you have a wide video or game library, just eschew regular TV until you’re able to eat solid food again. Try to avoid having conversations with people that involve food.
- Don’t be around food. If you live with other people and you’re mobile, go for a walk while they’re having their meals. The exercise will help you lose the weight your doctor will (likely) want you to lose prior to surgery, anyway. If you’re not that mobile, just try to find a way to distract yourself. Go into a different part of the house. Just do something.
- Don’t think to yourself that one little bite of something couldn’t hurt. It will. You know it will. Think back to all the times you had “one little bite” of something and it turned into the entire thing. I’ve been there and done that myself–otherwise I wouldn’t be working toward having gastric banding surgery–so I know how it goes. It’s a slippery slope. The other dangerous part of this is that were you to eat something with carbs in it, your body would then have to go through the process of getting used to doing without carbs all over again, which would only prolong the suck. So just don’t even go there.
- Drink water. Drink a lot of water. Hungry? Drink water. I find it’s helping me with the oral fixation aspect of eating, plus it’s getting something in my stomach, plus it’s keeping me hydrated, plus it’s helping to flush my system. Water is your new best friend. Also, sugar-free gum is your new best friend if you enjoy chewing gum.
- Remind yourself as often as you need to that this ridiculousness is going to be worth it in the end. Plaster your house/office space/car/wherever with signs to that effect, if you need to. It’s worth it to do this. It’s worth it to work to become healthier. It’s worth it to get rid of the weight, the physical discomfort, and any comorbid diseases you might have. Repeat that: It’s worth it.
Obviously I’m not out to the other side of this yet. On the contrary, the days feel as if they’re being protracted out into spans of time twice as long as they would naturally be. This is really, really damn difficult for me. It’s so tempting to cave in and eat something. But I’ve already got two days down. And I can’t help but feel that I’ll be stronger for making it through this part of the process.
So if you’re reading this and you’re considering gastric banding or you’re in the same phase of it as I am right now, take heart. Grit your teeth and bear it. This, too, shall pass.