Why I’m not a fan of Lapband

I realize this post may upset a few people, in particular those with Lapband. So, let me just say from the get-go that the reasons for my dislike have NOTHING to do with the the individuals getting the surgery. I have several clients/coworkers with Lapband – all of them wanting for a better life and better health.

I did a little lookey-loo on the Lapband website. Just as I thought, the “nutrition” information was completely inadequate and misleading. In my opinion, any weight loss program that requires you to have up to 6-weeks of liquid/baby-food consistency sustainence AND THEN suggest things like skim milk, sugar-free Popsicles and jello as “healing” is ridiculous and not in alignment with body wellness. This can really mess with a metabolism that is already stressed from years of yo-yo dieting, poor nutrition, stress, ill health, etc.

Whether the body is getting only 800 calories/day or more, if the calories are not quality, the body is going to be stressed. There were several aspects to the Lapband diet which reflect that very conventional thinking that goes with the medical model promoting this surgery . Its all about calories, calories, calories. I have read a few Lapband blogs and see individuals struggling with calorie counting, watching the scale, and wondering when the changes will occur.

When will we wake up and realize that the issue is both emotional/cultural and nutritional. Why not educate people about the importance of healing the body with nourishing soups, no processed foods, and emotional healing post- surgery. Even beyond just giving facts, coaching people and supporting a co-creative effort between those who need support and those who can offer it should be standard with any weight loss program. I feel like the scheme of Lapband is aimed at filling a need/void from individuals who feel desperate and scared about their ability to lose weight. There is not enough support or good information. Its misleading. Howe can margerine (which is mentioned on the dietary recommendations post-Lapband) be a part of a new nutrition plan? Margerine kills people, or at least hampers their health.

I get it that the need is for weight loss, and that comes with certain lifestyle changes, the first of which should be a switch to whole foods, nutritions foods, and nothing more. That is the way. Diet soda, jello and sugar-free foods will not yield long-term success any more than high-calorie junk foods because THEY ARE JUNK FOOD. I was glad to see some language around eating quality foods for the nutrition, but the other contradictions were just too blatant.

I also wonder about the emotional/cultural issues that those seeking Lapband will still have to face. What is going to make that person refrain from going to the food when they are stressed, bored, scared or whatever. Its not like that surgery, or any other, fixes the emotional issues. Is there support for that built into the Lapband promise? I did not see anything of the sort, but I could be wrong.

If anybody out there has had Lapband and wants to comment I’d love to hear from you. I just get so mad because the underlying issues around food are not going to be solved with Lapband, as they go deeper than any surgery and have so much to do with our culture and individual relationship with food.

Okay, off the soapbox!

4 thoughts on “Why I’m not a fan of Lapband

  1. fiddleheadfern February 7, 2010 / 10:36 pm

    I have had lapband surgery in 2008 and have lost about 85 pounds so far. I realize that getting this surgery isnt going to teach me how to handle my emotions and thats why I see a therapist to deal with those issues. Also, every doctor has their own guidelines for preparations leading up to surgery and I never to have liquids for 6 weeks prior. Yes, weight loss surgery is a desperate attempt to get some control back over your eating, but thats why we do it. the alternative is heart atttack, diabetes, or worse. Are you overweight or ever had any weight issue at all? Believe me ,Lapband surgery is NO magic pill and I find myself eating all the same foods I’d eaten before surgery when Im bored, sad, or happy . But the Lapband isnt intended to deal with my emotional eating issues, thats my therapists job.

    • offwhiteliving February 10, 2010 / 2:38 am

      Thank you for your response fiddleheadfern. It’s great to hear from somebody who has had a lapband. I have not had weight issues but I’ve had serious struggles with emotional eating/sugar addition and some very toxic food behaviors, just not excess weight.
      It’s great to hear you speak up about Lapband not being a magic pill, because that is exactly why I get concerned about such surgeries. Without behavioral change there are many folks who return to their previous weight within 5 yrs post-surgery. Recently in my obesity class we discussed the risks involve with these surgeries, in particular with women once they become pregnant post-bariatric surgery/lapband. I’m never a fan of the surgical approach, however, but if it is coupled with long term behavioral support than it has a chance of working for the long term.

      Good for you that you have a therapist as well and my hope is that more physicians require behavioral and emotional support tools for those who elect for the surgery so they can experience not only long term weight loss but long term health without any complications. I’ve worked with one too many post-bariatric patients who went back up to their original weight or near it because they never dealt w/the emotions, and then they have two problems: the emotional stress and complications AND the risk to their body from over eating…not good!

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