Thirteen Years After Lap Band Surgery And Still Living My Best Life

by sandi on May 24, 2017

Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best LifeI am in Portland OR Making A Difference With The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation Of America, and then I will be taking a few days to hike and explore the Columbia River Gorge, Mt.  Hood, and whatever else calls to us in that beautiful area.  Since on 5/28/17 I will be 13 years post op I thought this was a great article to share with you.

On May 28th 2004 I never expected that when I woke up on the other side of my bariatric surgery that THIS is the life I could have. My reasons for having surgery were to stay alive, get off some of my medications and be able to just “live”. I was slowly dying, getting heavier every year, having more illnesses (all due to obesity) show up at each doctor’s visit. I wasn’t living. I barely existed. It could only get worse. At 424 pounds I was pretty restricted.


Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best LifeThen I woke up on the other side of my surgery in pain, afraid to move, terrified that it wouldn’t “work”. I had all of these thoughts about failure swimming around in my drugged head.  Today, 12 years later, I still think that failure may be imminent. That is negative thinking and while it may appear in my brain and try to pierce my heart I choose not to allow those thoughts to remain for long. I hear them, I acknowledge them and then I literally breathe through them and tell them NO, often out loud while looking in a mirror. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but it works, it has worked for the past 12 years and I plan to continue using this methodology as long as it continues to serve me well.

Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best LifeTHAT seems to be the key to the mental game after weight loss surgery. WHAT is serving me well? What is not serving me at all, and what do I have the power to control? When I look at life without my rose tinted (I want it all perfect) glasses on it became apparent that I am the ONLY thing I can truly control. What can I do about the weather? If it’s raining when I want sun or cold when I want hot I cannot change the weather. I can however move ME to somewhere where it may be sunny or warm or whatever it is I am looking for. Eating a cookie or a bag of chips will NEVER Change the weather. Nor will it change my grades at school, or my child’s behavior, or the way my boss or significant other treats me. Eating a cookie will not clean my house, or finish the project my boss wants or make me feel better when my  ________ (sister, brother, best friend, husband, wife, lover, teacher, boss – you fill in the blank) says something hurtful or is in an emotional upheaval of their own that I want to be able to fix THAT is not in my control.

So what can I control you ask? I can control my actions, my words, and to some extent, when I allow myself to feel them so I can identify them, my emotions. Let’s look at a few examples:


  • Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best LifeI can say I am fat and will always be fat no matter what or I can say I am in the progress of working on changing my weight and it is a process that takes time and that’s ok;
  • I can say I can’t afford to eat healthy food or I can say I am going to get creative eating simple foods that are in season to improve my health;
  • I can say I don’t have time to __________ (again fill in the blank) or I can say I will schedule ______ (fill it in) on my calendar so it gets done;
  • I can start many sentences with I hate – cooking, exercising, water or I can say I wonder what might happen if I chose to ________(cook, exercise, drink water)  3 days this week.


  • Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best LifeI can get up and go to the gym or stay in bed and feel like a lump all day.
  • I can pack my lunch the night before or do it while I sip my morning coffee
  • I can meal plan and grocery shop based on the plan
  • I can park in the lower 40 of the parking lot for a few extra steps or I can drive around wasting time and waiting for a closer spot
  • I can surround myself with support people who understand my journey


  • Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best LifeI can feel disappointed in myself for a choice, acknowledge that it was not the best choice and move on without sabotaging myself any further
  • I can eat when I feel physically hungry.
  • I can feel anger and breathe through it, acknowledge it and then let it go since a donut will definitely not help me be less angry.
  • I can feel lonely and breathe it in and choose to go for a walk or phone a friend or relative and not feed loneliness chips since chips don’t make the lonely go away.
  • I can go to bed when I’m tired instead of creating a second supper to help me stay awake to watch the end of the TV show. It’s being DVR’d anyway and I can watch it tomorrow.
  • I can have a cup of tea or a bottle of water when I’m thirsty, food doesn’t quench thirst.
  • I can acknowledge stress, breathe deeply and exhale it knowing that keeping it in and stuffing it with food will just create overwhelm.
  • I can try to switch out of “worst case” thought patterns that bring stress and fear with them by using the reasoning portion of my brain and taking things one day, one action, and one choice at a time.

I can control MY BEHAVIOR. I cannot control anyone else’s behavior

These are possibly some of the biggest lessons I have learned over the past 12 years. It is not the world against Sandi. It’s how Sandi can use the world to her advantage and thrive in it, instead of just surviving.

All of this, along with a strong desire to win, and as the weight dropped off, one pound at a time feeling encouraged and using that encouragement to move me along to my next is how I have managed these past 12 years to get the weight off and not only  stay there, but find a way to be more.

Twelve Years After Lap Band Surgery And Living My Best LifeI found it wasn’t enough for me to just get to a weight. Now I had to figure out how to stay there and decide if this was it…It wasn’t. I keep working on my fitness level which is critical to keeping the weight off and keeping this 67 year young body feeling good. I keep working on creating new and healthy recipes that both families and bariatric patients will love. I keep providing support and coaching wherever I can. Is it easy? NOPE. Some days are more of a struggle than others. Am I always perfectly on point? NOPE. I am human and just try to do my best each and every day, whatever that might be.

My gifts to you are words you hear and see every day:

  • It’s about progress not perfection
  • Live your best life
  • Never give up!

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