How Many Fills to Green?


Living after the lap-band surgery is much like the old Tootsie Pop commercial, “How Many licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”

In our case it’s “how many fills till we get to the Green Zone”?

The Green Zone for someone who has had Lap Band Surgery is when your band has just enough saline in it so that when you eat 4 ounces of food, (Yes, I said 4 oz!  That is 3 oz. of a protein and 1 oz of veggies or something else of your choice by weight not volume.) it fills you up and keeps you full for 4 hours with no hunger between meals.  This is the holy grail to banders.

I started my lap band journey 4 months ago today.  I started at 252 – I am now 232.   I lost 10 lbs the week after surgery from being on the liquid diet then nothing for the longest time although I was following the rules with water and exercise.  In 4 months!!  You do the math.  So, needless to say, until recently, I’ve been discouraged with my progress.

I have found I am constantly learning about this new lifestyle I chose. A month ago I was just discouraged with myself and with others telling me to be patient, it will get better once you find your Green Zone.

Green Zone, Shmean zone, I wanted to lose weight.  That’s why I paid all this money and went through this torture, wasn’t it?  Well yes and maybe no…

It seemed like my lap band was doing what it was meant to do but the problem was me.  The fat girl wanting to be skinny, NOW!   I was still thinking like a fat girl on a diet.  However…

The Turning Point

My last fill has made ALL the difference!  I have lost 4.6 lbs in 1 week!  What a difference I see now.  I believe I am at the green zone but will give it a bit more time to be sure.

When I met with my doctor, I took my fiance’ and I really let it all out, how I feel I’m still doing all the work and not losing anything!

We went over what I eat, drink and how much exercise I get.  I admitted that I had quit weighing my food and was actually using the protein = the size of my palm and veggies = the size of my fist method.

He agreed it sounded like I was doing everything I was supposed to – that my band was not dialed in yet.  He takes a conservative approach to fills but I had already had 4 (this being my 5th).  However, this time he tightened me up so I can really start to feel the difference and advised me to go back to weighing my food.

He also reminded me of something I guess I hadn’t really grasped yet.  Only 4 oz per meal – 3 oz of protein and 1 oz of whatever else I want.  Try to stick to fruits and veggies and don’t drink your calories.

I realized I had been eating more than 4 oz. when I went home and pulled my scale back out for my next meal. That I was trying to eyeball my food instead of weighing by volume.  BIG DIFFERENCE!!

The point to my rambling is this….until you are dialed into your personal “Green Zone”, you will continue to struggle with “Bander’s Hell”.  I know I sure have.  I now have 9.2 cc in my 11 cc Realize Band.

For the past 5 days since my last fill, I have only been able to eat my weighed 4 oz meals, even struggling with them at times, and having no, and I mean NO, hunger in between meals.

So, my advice to other “banders” who are still struggling or to anyone looking into Lapband…

1.  Do not expect the weight to come off immediately or at the same rate as someone else you know that has also had this surgery.  Each person’s journey will be unique.

2.  Keep being positive – you will get there and then things start to fall into place the way we expected them to in the beginning so enjoy the journey.

Being positive is just in my nature.  I’ve had some real ups and downs in my life just like everyone else.  Life is not about surviving day to day…but remembering to enjoy it like we did when we were kids!  We can do this! Our little band friend won’t let us quit.

Just have patience…I know that’s hard because it was for me when I was hearing it…but really you will get there. :)