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I’ve always been “the girl with the pretty face”. Tipping the scales close to 100 lbs. overweight, I deserved the title. Three years ago, on March 1, 2010, I made a life altering decision to change my relationship with food forever; I had gastric banding surgery.
Let me start at the beginning. Weighing in at 9 lbs. at birth, I started life off in the “pleasantly plump” category. On my 5th birthday, I remember the pediatrician discussing my weight with my mom…
Mrs. H., Meghan cannot gain any more weight. If you maintain her weight, her height will catch up.
I was a Weight Watchers alumna by the age of 8. I thought that I hit “sugar cereal” gold when my parents allowed a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.
By the time I had reached my mid-twenties, I had been on every diet ever invented and weighed well over 200 lbs. Atkins, doctor-supervised, organic, cleansing, Weight Watchers (my trusty friend!), cabbage soup, high fiber… you name it; I’d tried it.
I even did a 6-month stint in dieter’s hell: 800 calories in protein shakes a day. I religiously walked/jogged 3 miles at the minimum, came home and worked out on my Total Gym for another 30 minutes.
Total weight loss? 35 lbs., but it was short-lived.
I gained 45 lbs. as soon as I started eating solid food again; and by solid food, I mean salad with grilled chicken.
[image by puuikibeach on flickr]
Starving for Results
After starving myself for six months via a liquid diet, weight loss surgery somehow no longer seemed drastic. I began to research the different procedures and met with several doctors before settling on gastric banding or “Lap-Band” surgery with Dr. George Fielding at NYU.
What Does My Lap Band Look Like?
In very simplistic terms, my lap-band consists of three parts:
- An inner-tube-like device that fits around the top of my stomach, filled with saline solution
- A port that sits under the skin right next to my belly button
- A thin tube that connects the other two pieces
My “little” stomach can hold anywhere from a ½ cup to 1 cup of food at a time, and it keeps me full for around 4 hours. I visit the doctor’s team about once a month to weigh in and make adjustments to my band, if needed. I also like to check in with my nutritionist, Desi, to make sure I’m eating a balanced diet and absorbing enough protein.
Protein: My New BFF
Protein is my new best friend.
One of the cardinal “bandster” rules involves ingesting 60 grams of protein per day. When you are only eating 1 cup of food at time, this involves some creativity and a ton of planning.
My day usually starts with a smoothie: ½ banana, 2 tbs. low fat organic peanut butter, vanilla protein powder, skim milk and ice cubes. (Yum.)
Lunch varies. Some days, I bring leftovers. Other days, I make an arugula salad with lemon zest, EVOO, salt & pepper and eat greek yogurt or a hard boiled egg with it.
Dinner is where the magic happens.
I love seafood, so I eat a lot of grilled fish and scallops with spinach (for iron) or asparagus (a fantastic source of fiber). Chili made with ground turkey and kidney beans is a great bandster food because it’s flavorful, low fat and packed with protein and fiber. Once in a while, I’ll get down with my bad self and have a petite filet mignon.
Banding It All Together
The bottom line is this:
I love food.
I will always love food, band or no band.
I live guilt free and have broken the mental chain around my relationship with food.
I am living with a tool that has helped me accomplish a true lifestyle change: 85 lbs. lost.
About the Author:
Meghan is a 30 year old “bandster” who resides on Long Island, NY. In her spare time, she enjoys singing opera, cheering on Penn State, volunteering, traveling and trying out new high protein recipes on unsuspecting loved ones.