Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's all about the RULES

Remember as kids when we thought, "the hell with rules" or "rules were made to be broken"? Well in the land of WLS rules are given to us for a reason.

  1. They Work
  2. They Work
  3. They Work
I received a nice booklet from Allergan at my preop appointment and there in those pages were Allergan's Rules for Success! Now I know each doctor's office may or may not tweak these rules to their own specifications, but the rules were created for a reason. And that reason is easy, SUCCESS!
  1. Eat three small meals a day
  2. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. As my nutrionist told me, cut it up as small as the tip of your pinky and chew it til it is paste like consistency. After you swallow that food, count to fifty before the next bite goes in your mouth. Remember, it takes your brain 20 minutes before it gets the signal from your stomach that you are full. Put your fork down between bites and enjoy the flavors of your meal.
  3. Stop eating as soon as you feel full. Do you know your soft stop? If you are eating and being mindful while you eat you will notice that your body responds in certain ways to let you know-NO MORE! Be it a hiccup, watery eyes, sneeze, runny nose or even something simple as a sigh. It's there, pay attention. Mine has changed in the two yrs since being banded. In the beginning it was a hiccup, that progressed to watery eyes and today it is a big sigh!
  4. DO NOT drink while eating. Most surgeons recommend you stop drinking 30 minutes prior and don't begin again until 30 minutes after. Set a timer! The timer on my cell phone is one of the most used things on there! Those closest to me all know what the timer means and often yell at me to start drinking up when the little song chimes.
  5. Do not eat between meals. Oh how I wish I could report that I follow this rule but it isn't always the case. Mine you, there are days when I can and do, but not often. We are works in progress!
  6. Only good quality foods. The most important, PROTEIN FIRST! For each of us I guess this rule can be interrupted a number of other ways too. For me personally it means organic whole foods with little chemical ingrediants. And I try to really watch my sugar intake.
  7. Avoid fiberous food. Most fiberous foods are difficult for me. When my band is looser I can eat asparagus. Most of the time no. Sometimes I have issues with certain fruits also. It is just a matter of how well I follow rule #2 I guess.
  8. Drink plenty of fluids. And by fluids a big part of that should be WATER. I try to make half of my intake a day strictly water with nothing added. 64 ounces or 8-8oz. glasses is the golden rule. Me, I am between 96-128 a day. I feel better when I'm closer to the 128 and especially in the summer. My intake includes, water, decaffeinated green tea, diet snapple iced tea and vitaminwater zero.
  9. Drink only low calorie liquids. Often when we are tight we opt for liquids and most often those liquids are higher in calorie and offer no nutrional value. Be careful of drinking regular vitaminwater or FUZE. Often these drink labels might look acceptable, but if you read serving sizes there are 2 servings in each bottle and what you thought was only 120 calories turns into 240. And for me 240 calories is breakfast!
  10. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. I'm throwing in or 210 minutes a week. Break it up however you need to. For those of you that hit it hard in the gym like myself and many others I know 210 minutes is 2 or 3 days worth. I think the 30 minutes a day rule is to get those who previous led a sedentary lifestyle to get into a routine with exercise. My routine is 5 days a week, usually 60-90 minutes and cardio 3 days and strength training 2 days. Usually I do cardio on my strength days too. It varies!
So why did I choose to write about the rules. Well I belong to various support groups on facebook and throughout the internet and just in the last two weeks I've been reading all these post about people struggling and I always reply with "are you following the rules"? Sometimes I hear a hemming and hawing and sometimes I get a reply of "what rules"? That is the reply that blows my mind! I sit staring at the screen and wondering if they really did the research before they had their surgery and what kind of a surgeon they have. And then I thank my lucky stars for being blessed with the most amazing surgeon and bariatric team at MyNewSelf Bariatrics in St. Louis. There was nothing that wasn't gone over with me prior to my surgery. Sites were suggested to me to read thru and I was encouraged to ask questions. Low and behold a the pre op appointment with my surgeon I was handed the Allergan book called the Lap band system information for patients. It explaines how the surgery would be performed and there were the lovely little rules on page 11. And of course, my nutrionist Jessie sent me home with my surgeon's rules that were the same as Allergans, just expanded upon some.

But let me say this, for all outward appearances, I have been on program and doing great. Here is the truth, I hadn't lost weight in a very long time. Inches yes, but my scale wasn't moving. Well at least in the down direction. I saw it move up poundage too many days to count. In January I was ready to break through and be at my lowest weight ever and then life happened. Slowly but surely the pounds started to creep back on. Those smaller size pants that I enjoyed buying were getting tight in the waist. I told myself I was retaining water. The only thing I was retaining was ice cream and Peanut M&M's. Oh and those new Cadbury chocolate covered cookies I discovered. Whatever you do, don't try them! 11 cookies are 160 calories and 2 protien. But gaurenteed you won't stop at 11! Well, maybe you will, but I'm a binge eater and once I start, there is no stopping til the bag is empty. I justify it by telling myself that I have to eat it all so they aren't in the house to tempt me the next day! Logical? Nope, not in the least! But remember I justify Peanut M&M's by telling myself they aren't so bad because they have 5 protein in that bag! Logical? Again, nope! On the days I wasn't binging on Ben & Jerry's Americone Ice Cream and Peanut M&M's I was on plan and exercising. But soon Ben & Jerry were visiting too often! So what did I do~besides reach out to friends and ask for help? I started following those 10 little rules right up top! You bet and you will never guess what happend!

5 lbs in one week!

I could not even believe the scale myself. I think I got on and off of it 3 or 4 times. I got ready for work and I got on it again just to make sure I wasn't half asleep the first time. It has now been 10 days of being strick with the rules and I'm happy to say down 7.5 lbs. The last time I dropped 5 lbs in a week was probably week 12 of banded life. Certainly not in the last year! So what am I doing? It started with upping my water intake and making more of my fluid intake pure water and less Diet Snapple. Then I kicked the sugar to the curb. And of course when you kick the sugar cravings, your carbs automatically go down. Now I'm not telling you I'm extreme low carbing, but when I eat on plan, my carbs tend to be lower than 100. My carbs mostly come from fruits and vegetables and whole grains. And I'm trying to keep my protein between 75-85 grams a day. Often people ask me how I do that and it really isn't difficult. You need to break it down by meal. I usually take in around 25 for breakfast, 30 for lunch and another 25 or so for dinner. And if I'm eating a snack, it has to have around 10 grams of protein to really be worth it and satisfying.

So if you are struggling, remember THE RULES! They are meant to help you succeed and not to torture you. Follow them and reap the benefits. And as a friend asked one day, "what grade would you give yourself each day on each of the rules?" If you aren't giving yourself an A+, remember that you have the next day and the one after that to improve. Try it, what have you got to lose except pounds : )


  1. Damn Pam! I am regretably not following the rules very well. This is a good reminder. I'm going to print them VERY LARGE and post them at work. THANK YOU

  2. I'm printing them too and posting them on my refridgerator! I needed a good healthy reminder because I havein't been following the rules at all! And the scale shows it! :( I've been recently trying to kick sugar out altogether but it has been terribly difficult and once thats down my carbs go down and when that goes down my energy plummits and I feel like crap. which has been my excuse as to why I want to eat/drink things I should not. It's not an excuse, just a challenge I have to overcome! thanks so much for posting this! I for one needed it terribly!

  3. I love your rules!!! Im gonna print them as well as a reminder i am not doing so good i have been banded for 3yrs now and i have now gained back 20 pounds because of carbs i too think if i eat this bag of chips i wont have any in the house tomorrow to eat that has been a big excuse for me as well chips are like the devil to me there a hard habit for me to break!! Good luck and congrats on ur weight loss!!!

  4. Great to see in print, alot of it I heard at the weight loss center. I am going to print them out and share with non-banded friends and family who ask how I do it. It can work for everyone. Thanks.