Once upon a time ….. I got a Lap Band

This post has been in draft format for quite a while, mainly because I never had the photo’s I wanted to go with it.

So nearly 3 years ago I had a Lap Band or Gastric Band surgically put in to try and aid with weight loss.

What is Lap banding or Gastric Banding? It is a “Keyhole/Laparoscopic” surgical procedure which takes about 30-45 mins, it is fastened around the upper stomach to create a smaller pouch which restricts the amount of food that can be consumed. They also place a port on your abdominals to give access for adjustments. Adjustments are simply done in your Doctors surgery by inserting or removing fluid to restrict or allow less or more food.

Just like this.

Just like this.

How much does “Lap Banding” cost? Well from memory it was about $16,000 full cost per person and about $5000-6000 out of pocket after our Health Fund (Top Cover) paid their part. I think Private Health Funds are becoming more aware of the fact, this type of Surgery is becoming more popular and changing their Cover so that only their Top Policy covers this. FYI at the time Hubby was with NIB and I was with NRMA (now Bupa). If you are considering it, contact your Private Health Insurer or if you don’t have one, then get 1, most from what I have heard require you to have the relevant cover for 12 months before the procedure. There are other surgical options, the sleeve or tube or gastric bypass and the temporary stomach balloon, so best to talk with a Gastric Banding specialist to see which 1, if any, are right for you.

To share my personal experience of Lap Banding, I have mixed emotions.

Top pic at 132kg (my heaviest excluding my pregnancy). Bottom pic at 107kg after a 25kg loss. Bottom photo by http://www.bethtahiriphotography.com.au/

Top pic at 132kg (my heaviest excluding my pregnancy). Bottom pic at 107kg after a 25kg loss. Bottom photo by http://www.bethtahiriphotography.com.au/

On the positive side: I have lost 25kgs and feel great; because of that it has given me the energy I need to exercise more and not put so much stress on my body carrying around all that extra weight; it has shown me I don’t need to sit down to giant meals or 3 courses all the time; I have learnt to share food (despite what my husband may say); I have been able to wear nicer clothes and feel better about how I am looking; I like getting my picture taken, more than I used to; I love that I have much better agility and ability to play with my little dynamite daughter.

On the negative side: “Keyhole” surgery, left 5 scars, 4 small and 1 much larger than I expected (see picture); if you are not careful how and what you eat you can vomit (often), this can also lead to slipping of the band and require further surgical procedure to rectify or have the band removed; over-eating with the band can cause reflux. I have had all of the above happen to me, I over-ate just a little bit ie 1 mouthful, too often, ended up on reflux medication, vomited one too many times and my band has slipped. What I did to fix this was have all fluid removed from the band and the reflux was gone immediately and I am assessing having the corrective surgery. But for the moment I am trying to eat better without having fluid in, it still offers restriction without fluid. The other negative is that you can eat junk food easier than you can eat healthy food, lettuce, apples, steak, dry chicken breast are all more difficult to eat than chocolate, chips/crisps, chicken schnitzel, cheese and crackers. This absolutely differs by the individual, as hubby and I have different things we can eat without trouble. Another negative is I got to 50% of my weight loss and plateaued and have been there for over 2 years, fluctuating by 3-5kgs over that time.

The scar on my left side about 8cm wide. It has gotten better over the years but it is still a big hole.

The scar on my left side about 8cm wide. It has gotten better over the years but it is still a big hole.

My Lap band doctor has said throughout the process that everyone going through the surgery should see a Psychologist, because as much as it is a weight-loss aid it still doesn’t fix the underlying problem that most patients have with food. Personally I think it should be compulsory.

In summary, I would do it again, YES, a 25kg loss is great and I haven’t been fitter in my adult life than I am now. But if you are considering it I would definitely look at some assistance from a Psychologist and/or dietician or other slow weight loss program and give it another go before going under the knife. I had tried a lot of options over the years and there will be an entire post about that at a later date.

The Year that Was 2012

To look back upon a year it is often hard to remember what you did, how you felt and just how far you have come, especially when you have mothers brain (yep blame the poor child for my lack of memory). Thankfully in this era of gadgets, social media and mobile apps it can help to trigger my memory.

The year started with some very vague ‘gonna lose weight and get fit’ resolutions, just like every other year.

January my trainer starting me on running in our regular weekly session – hell but I wanted to try.

When February came around and I had my 39th Birthday I think a bit of impending OMG I’m 40 next year hit me and I wanted to achieve more than just lose weight and get fit, I needed some goals. So apart from wanting to be able to run, I wanted to be able to do a Triathlon like my trainer had been bugging me about.

I was not in a great state mentally, my relationship with my husband was not all rosy, it was not all bad either (probably difficult to be perfect when you are comparing it to my daily half hour of Bold and the Beautiful). I had not been diagnosed or medicated for anything but I was a little bit sad a lot of the time which was very unlike me. I had seen a counsellor a few times which helped, basically I talked (a lot) and she listened and gave me some non-judgemental guidance on how to turn negative thoughts around. It’s not something that is easy to tell people, but it should not be taboo to talk to a professional, without which I would say was a potential trip to the loony bin. We seek out professionals them out in all other aspects of our life so why not our mental health.

Exercise also became an outlet as did my reconnection with music once I figured out my gadgetry. I went from running/exercising with my Android phone for GPS/distance, Ipod for music and Heart Rate monitor and managed to get it down to HR monitor and phone with music/GPS on it.

Some people will say why all the gadgets, I am a numbers person, I need to know my numbers which is why I have enjoyed my Indoor Rowing for the past 6 years, it is all numbers in front of you and you can constantly adjust to improve your time/speed/distance. So I wanted the same from my running and cycling. We have all this modern technology so why not use it.

I know that exercise has all the medical benefits of improving your heart, lungs blah blah blah, but I was also enjoying the improved mental state. I am pleased to say that this year and my exercise has improved my ‘head’ and I am back to my happy self (most of the time).

So continuing on with my training and goal of doing a Triathlon, I won’t bore you with all the details of how I got to be able to run you can read about that in my Couch to 5k post but it was a big achievement to do and if I can do it anyone can, you may do it slower or faster than me but just keep trying.

As the year cracked on so did my desire and panic about doing the Triathlon, I had bought myself a new bike, I went from a super cruiser heavy weight to an ultra-light racing bike with the skinny wheels and those hanging down handles (yes very technical I know but upon researching bikes I realise it was like learning a whole other language, I don’t have time for that). I loved the new bike, once I got used to it and again plugged into my music would enjoy going for a ride. I have not really ‘trained’ for the bike, I just get on and ride, I assumed that all other training I am doing would improve my cycling as well.

The 1 thing I left til last was my swimming; it is such pain to swim, shower, wash (long) hair, style hair, get ready for work not in the comfort of your own bathroom and if I didn’t get it done in the mornings then I wouldn’t do it. Not to mention I found it boooring, no music to keep me company. I started back swimming in June 2012 and only did 1-2 swims each month, my goal was to just get through the swim leg of the triathlon alive, awesome goal setting. So I would dive in the pool, swim 300m and then go, ok I’m alive, do a few more laps for ‘training’ purposes and call it done. I am pleased to say I can now do 500m no problems (not fast) and a training session usually consists of 1500m before I get bored, I have been swimming in Ocean pools, indoor heated and outdoor heated Olympic pools and 1 time in a harbour. My next challenge is to do some Open Water swimming to train for any Triathlons that may not be in the luxury of a Harbour and certainly very very few are in the “Princess” comfort of an Olympic pool.

So to look at my milestones this year:

Running – I could not run more than about 200m without stopping to walk and have now done numerous 5k training and even a 6k training run. Even managed to do some treadmill running which I vowed I would never do.

Swimming – I used to swim 50m and stop every single lap for a rest, can now swim 500m non-stop, probably more if I tried and can do 1500m in a training session.

Bike – New bike, much faster and easier to go longer distance, my cleats and I are having a love hate relationship. I don’t train for the bike, just get on and ride. Biggest ride was only 24k from memory, I just lack the time to do more. Mostly my bike ‘Juliet’ and I are happy together.

Indoor Rowing – Held onto my State Championship title in the 500m and 4 minute distances and at last glance I still held my World Rankings of 22nd and 4th respectively (the Rowing year has not finished yet). See more about that here.

Weight Loss – I dare not go there but I will, I have to. So according to my weight tracking app and cross referenced with my own spreadsheet, it would appear that I started the year 2012 at around 110.5kgs, I dropped down to about 105-106 at my lowest throughout the year but finished it off after the Christmas binge at 109.8, however I am please to report that the Christmas Kilo’s are coming off almost as fast as they went on and I am really trying to eat well.

Goals – when I actually put my Goals out in Blogland in August 2012 I had already started working towards them, but never fully believing that they will all happen and like anything need to be tweaked.
No.1 was the work, life, workout and family balancing act. I am hoping I have done that Ok (I won’t profess to being mother or wife of the year), perhaps I should ask Miss 3 and hubby to comment on this.
No.2 was the Pink Triathlon, read about it here, but in short I DID IT!!.
No.3 was the National Indoor Rowing Championships, my training was not optimum for this event, too much focus on the Tri but I had a good crack at it, read about it here.
No.4 was the Mud Run a 7+ klm trail run with mud and other obstacles, heaps of fun, I finished it, read about it here.

Full length photo taken in Dec 2012

Full length photo taken in Dec 2012

I am pleased to say that apart from my weight loss goal I have achieved all my others, through many ups and downs that life throws at you and battling my own emotions and insecurities.

I must say I have never had as many compliments as I have had this year regarding my appearance and I appreciate every single 1 of them. I know with all my training I am changing body shape, however it is sometimes hard to receive a “you look great, how much weight have you lost” compliment when you have lost only a miniscule amount or nothing. Weight loss is something I hope to seriously tackle this year (yes I’m saying it again like I have for the last 20 years).

Happy New Year to all my friends, family and followers and I hope 2013 is your best year yet. Set some goals, you never know what might happen.

Weigh-in Week #5

A good weigh-in this week, so good in fact that I got on the scales 3 times to make sure, sometimes when I do this my scales change by a few grams but this week my scales stood solid with a nice loss.

105.1kg (231.7lb) A loss of 1.4kgs (3lb)

 

 

Who am I?

I am Rachael a 39.5 year old wife and mother of Miss 2.75.

So here I start 6 months before my 40th Birthday, debating whether I am going through a mid-life crisis and freaking out by focusing on exercise and trying, trying, trying to eat better.

I have a wonderful husband, family and friends who support me in everything I do, we have a daughter “Miss 2.75” who is adorable, cheeky, a little bit naughty, super cute and super super smart.

This is a recent photo weighing in at 108kgs. Taken at Cadbury Chocolate Factory in Tasmania, Australia

Fat to Fit and Fabulous by Forty is a blog about my current journey of weight-loss and fitness, my personal challenges, food addiction, insecurities and everything that goes along with being “Double Extra Gorgeous” and just wanting to be “Mildly Extra Gorgeous”, not to mention how the hell I got here in the first place. I am a fun, “CAN DO” kind of person, I will have a go an anything once, and if I love it will do it again and again, I think that is where my addictive personality comes out. I see myself as the “Funny Fat” girl. I have been overweight all of my life, always being the biggest at school (or so I though) and blossoming in my 20’s, excessively blossoming in my 30’s and hitting my biggest after our Honeymoon and then exploding during pregnancy. To give you some idea I am 168cm tall and on my Wedding Day I weighed 124kgs, after the Honeymoon (6-8 weeks later) weighed 132kgs and on the day I gave birth was 146kgs and was 146cm around the middle (coincidence) who knows.

About 8 months after I having our daughter, hubby and I both decided to have “Lap Band Surgery”, we had debated it prior to our wedding but thought we could do it (lose weight) on our own. We were of the opinion 1 in all in (ie both of us should do it or not at all) and he decided against it, so I chickened out as well. But it is amazing what bringing a small person into your life will do, the desire to live longer, be healthier and not inflict your poor food choices onto your “Offspring” becomes a major priority. My parents helped us out financially with the “Gap” costs of the surgery and we were very much supported by both our families.

So here I am about 25kgs down from prior to the Surgery and weighing in at 107.7kgs, I have plateaued for about 12 months going up and down by a couple of kgs over that time.

I invite you to follow my journey for the next 6 months to see if I can achieve my weight loss and fitness goals.

Rachael