Gastric band surgery
Probably on the whole the most customary mode of bariatric surgery performed in the western World.
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This year when 250,000 people have weight loss surgery for the treatment of morbid obesity they will return home from the hospital to the very environment in which they became obese with what is commonly called “The Tool.” Bariatric surgeons instruct their patients of gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding (lap-band), or gastric sleeve surgery that their surgically manipulated stomach is the tool for weight loss but the patient must make dietary and lifestyle changes in order for the tool to work.
Patients agree to follow the Four Rules of weight loss surgery including eating a high protein diet, drinking lots of water, avoiding empty calorie snacking and engaging in daily exercise. They promise to take vitamin supplements and follow-up with regular visits to the bariatric center. All the while living in this world where it is much easier to be fat than it is to lose weight and keep it off. What patients learn over time is even with the tool food cravings still strike and when they strike they hit hard. The tool provides little relief for the common cravings we are bound to experience after weight loss surgery.
Knowing that we will face cravings we can be armed with calm response techniques to practice in the face of cravings that will redirect our thoughts and concentration away from source of our angst. Food cravings generate feelings of stress and when we have a way to control the symptoms of stress we are able to bring calm into our life.
- Breathe deeply. When the break room sweets are calling your name step away from the area to a private space, even the restroom, and take a few moments to breathe deeply filling your lungs fully then exhaling slowly. Lean against a wall or find a place to sit, relax your shoulders and breathe deeply to let go of some of the tension. The lingering effects of oxygenated blood will provide good feelings which are more powerful than cravings.
- Gather Sunshine. Even if you think you do not have the time, get outside for a few moments and expose your face to the sunlight. The warming rays of sunshine increase levels of serotonin, a natural hormone that reduces stress and imparts feelings of calm and well-being. Be extra generous with yourself and breathe deeply while enjoying the sunshine.
- Bend, Stretch & Wiggle. Mothers playing with babies and toddlers often encourage them to bend and stretch to the delight of the little ones. It feels good to bend and stretch and shake the wiggles out. When food cravings call take a moment to bend, stretch and shake the wiggles out. Chances are good those cravings will disappear but your good feelings will linger.
- Distract yourself. Escape the environment in which the cravings are calling, such as the break room. Visit a coworker or take a brisk walk around the hall or up and down the stairs. Just because it is break time it does not mean you must be in the break room. Find a distraction and escape the environment. Psychologists have found that more often than not cravings are the power of suggestion; very seldom are they a physiological crisis.
- Forgive & Go Forward. If you relent to a craving acknowledge it as a minor detour and get back on course. Forgive and learn, then move forward. You cannot change what has already happened, but you can take the lessons you learned and apply them to the next challenge that comes along.