Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Is This What Restriction Feels Like?

Do all new bandsters ask that question?!

Tomorrow it's seven weeks since I was banded and today it's four days since I had my first fill; I spent the first five weeks or so as a bandit eating pretty much only liquids, purees, mushies and soft food. I then had a week pre-fill of eating the entire contents of our kitchen and then the last four days have been back to purees/mushies. My dietitian was a little sketchy with how long I should stay on purees/softies after the fill so I've just been taking it steady. However this morning I decided to push it a little and see what happened.

For the last seven weeks the only thing I've eaten for breakfast has been Ready Brek. I don't know if this is only a UK product, so in case it is, I'll try and describe it. Imagine taking some porridge oats and grinding them to within an inch of their lives, so they become like a fairly fine powder. Now mix with milk and heat in the microwave for 1m 30seconds. And there you have my breakfast. Obviously you can vary the consistency by varying the proportions of milk to powder, but I tend to have it like a fairly sloppy soup.
Obviously sloppy, liquid-y foods are going to pass through the band without too much trouble, hence why they are recommended post-operation and post-fill; the trouble with this is that, I'm assuming, they don't fill up the 'new' tummy that sits on top of the band, they just slide on through. So, today I decided to try out something that wouldn't just pass through, something that would, hopefully, sit on top of the band and make me feel full. Something that would reassure me that there is a band in there somewhere. I was going to have toast but we didn't have any bread in; luckily a hunt through the freezer produced some crumpets, so I toasted two and spread them with butter. Boy, did they taste good! My first attempt at 'proper' food, post-fill. I should have taken a photo.

Anyhoo, to get to the point of this posting. I managed to eat two crumpets but even now, an hour or more later, I can feel them just sitting there. It's not uncomfortable, but I know they are there and it's an odd sensation. I sort of feel like I need to thump myself on the breastbone to make them move along a bit. So, is this restriction? And is it enough restriction? Should I really be able to eat two crumpets? Is it the amount of food I can eat in one sitting that I should be looking at to measure my restriction, or is it the time between eating one meal that makes me feel nicely full and the next meal? For instance, if two crumpets keep me nicely full for four hours, is that good? Or should I be aiming for one crumpet to keep me full for four hours? Questions, questions. Perhaps crumpets aren't the best thing to be judging restriction on; perhaps I should wait to see what happens with my next meal.

Which leads me on to another whole set of questions for the experienced bandsters out there. When chosing what to eat, do you make a bee-line for foods that you know will sit on top of your band and thus fill you up more quickly? For instance, when you have lunch, would you choose a sandwich (assuming bread is ok for you) over soup? Is this the right thing to do? Are there foods which you know do this for you?


  1. Hi Justine. As a newbie myself I wonder the same. My nutritionist told me to eat 1 cup of food (I think 2 crumpets would equal a cup) three times a day. It should keep you full for 4 hours (thus you might need a small snack between Lunch and Dinner). If that doesn't keep you full for 4 hours, you need a fill. Will be seeing if that works. I also was told not to eat soup, but since I love it, I am going to eat it first at lunch/dinner as it will go through my band and then eat the solids. The same with milk-I can't figure out how to have a glass of milk unless I have it before meals. I am trying to figure out what I should eat for the 1 cup-a cup of fettucine alfredo has a lot more calories than a cup of chicken/salad.

    Ready Brek sounds like what I eat sometimes (in Canada)-Oatbran which is really finely ground oatmeal. I have my first fill this afternoon so hope to have some restriction. I too have been basically eating everything I can find in my kitchen :-)

  2. Justine,
    For me restriction feels a little like I am about to get stuck. It feels like if I take one more bite it is all going to come up and I am goign to be in pain. At that point it is a sudden stop, put down the fork and walk away from the food. I think everyone feels a little different and some people even have "soft stops" sneezing , nose running etc.
    I am never hungry though so I know I have restriction. I can go 5-6 hours before eating. I don't eat until 1pm in the day ( I drink lots of coffee ). When I do eat I try to get the solid protein in as that what fills you up. You can eat soup but it will slip through and not fill you up as much as solid protein.
    And be careful of chips, chocolate etc as they slip through the band very easily and you can eat as much as you want!!

  3. What they have told me is that soups are a no no. They're just calories that slide right through. Same reason they tell us not to drink less than 1/2 an hour to 45 mins after a meal. I always imagine it being like a toilet, and the liquid just washing the food down the drain and then I'm hungry again. So I try to stay away from things like Ready Brek unless I just got a fill.

    Also, I think your Dr. might be a little crazed on the mushies after a fill. What they tell me is that you do soft foods (not necessarily even mushies) the DAY of the fill, and then the next day, go back to eating normally. They all tell us different things, but weeks of mushies after a fill seems a little nuts to me. I would totally fail at that!

  4. Hi Justine,

    I had my first fill last Tuesday and yesterday (almost a week later) was the first day I felt what I take to be restriction. It feels similar to what you described.

    The dietician also told me no soups as it is a liquid and will just slide through the band. Meals should be one cup, take no more than 25 - 30 minutes to eat and should consist of and eaten in the following order; protein, veg then starch (complex carb).

    I usually have a thick homemade chili for lunch with a couple of rye crackers or 3oz of protein with a mixed veg salad and both of those will keep me satisfied for a few hours.

    Remember to chew everything thoroughly which is something that I still need to work on.

  5. I had my fill last Monday & for the last two days I have definitely been *feeling* something sitting there after eating. It is rather uncomfortable.