Road Signs to Fullness

Winter 2008

Volume One / Number Six

If you’ve ever had the thought "Now that I have the band, I’m not really sure I know when I am full." Or you’ve had the unfortunate experience of getting that pain in your chest which is really uncomfortable, you start regurgitating what you’ve just eaten, or you get hiccups, etc. here is a bit of "Food for Thought."

When you are at this point, you have already eaten past the point of being full in your pouch and food has started to back-up into your esophagus. I want to compare your "Gastric Banding Eating Behavior" to driving a car. When you are driving, there are road signs and traffic signals that control the flow of traffic and make you aware of what you should do along the way.

Below, I’ve included a small sampling of signs to help you recognize where you are and to help you along the way. Some of these will help you to avoid a major crash! The stop sign at your crossroad between "full" and "overfull" is not the flashing red light of regurgitating what you just ate, it may have been the thought "maybe I’m done" which happened a mile up the road (10 bites ago), the deep sigh from ¾ of a mile ago (7 bites), the runny nose a ½ mile ago (5 bites), or the sinus drainage ¼ mile ago (2 bites). These are the road signs and mile markers along the way signaling you to reduce your speed because there is a stop sign ahead.

As you drive the same road every day, you become familiar with all the signs, every curve, dip and hill. But be prepared. Just as in foul weather, the road can become treacherous, and you will hit a "slick spot." Life and times with gastric banding can be the same. Stress, agitation, excitement, distraction, etc. can all bring foul weather to your gastric banding highway. These are the times which you must yield to traffic, reduce your speed, watch for slippery roadway, etc. Otherwise, you’ll end up on the side of the road in a mangled mess (in the bathroom throwing up!). Here are a few hints and tips on driving this new road and ways to avoid the rough road and dangerous curves ahead (you can even avoid a few detours too):

  • Weigh and measure what you are eating (actively or even visually - although if done visually you should consciously make the portion smaller than you "think" it should be).
  • Eat for 20-30 minutes (slowly while putting your utensils DOWN between bites).
  • Take single portions, eat them over 20 minutes and then go find something ELSE to do!
  • If you are still truly hungry, you can go back for more at a later time.
  • Learn to recognize boredom/anger/frustration eating and then go find something ELSE to do!
  • Use a salad plate to eat from.
  • Use toddler forks/spoons to eat from or use chopsticks.
  • Use your pinky fingernail as your guideline for bite sizes – no bites larger than that.
  • Don’t drink and eat at the same time.
  • Never compare the volume of what you are currently eating to what you "think" you should be eating; only compare it to what you were eating in the past.
  • Become conscious of the fact that you are putting food into your mouth and what that food is.
  • Just as you cannot drive in a safe manner without being conscious of your surroundings, you must also slow down, pay attention, and eat in a conscious manner. Auto pilot is not a feature offered in cars and now auto pilot has been removed from your eating behavior.