I’ve had emails and comments from some of you asking about fills. How do I know when I have a good fill? What will it feel like? How many fills does it take? What fill volume? I’ve also heard from several members of the Banded Living community who are either feeling too tight, or worried about slips and are having trouble eating good quality foods. I’m convinced that a good fill is as much of an art as it is a science. I also know that we are all so different when it comes to fills.
It took me many fills to get to just the right place, where I’m satisfied with a small amount of good quality food, and not obsessing about my next “fix” between meals.
When it comes to assessing where I am, I’ve also found that I need to remember that it’s the trend that matters. What I mean by that is that some days, I feel looser, and some days I feel tighter, and some days I feel just right! I’ve come to accept those variations as normal, and I can usually adjust my food choices accordingly. I’ve also learned that if I have an episode of being stuck, I can be irritated for days. If I don’t go back to liquids and give myself a chance to allow any irritation to subside, I can get irritated and swollen and end up feeling too tight. That can take days to resolve; it can also require a small “un-fill”, but after having that experience, more than once I might add, I’ve learned to catch it early and try to avoid the cycle of un-fill, feeling too loose then re-fill.
I found that it’s super important to be able to clearly describe what I feel to my doctor. Here are three things that I often discussed about with my doctor, during my transformation or weight loss phase:
How much plain dense protein I could I comfortably eat in one 20 minute sitting (no food lube)? During my transformation phase, I felt best and was happy with my weight loss when I could comfortably ½ cup to 1 cup of dense protein like chicken or fish, without food lube in a 20 -30 minute sitting.
Did I feel satisfied after eating? I don’t mean: Did I feel stuffed or uncomfortable? To me satisfied is a more subtle cue, like I’ve had enough and I can push away from the table and stop thinking about food. This is not the absence of emotional or head hunger. But I can say that finally feeling satisfied, on a small amount of food, helped me to recognize the difference between physical and emotional hunger. For me, this feeling of satisfaction was like being set free.
Hunger Between Meals
Was I hungry between meals? What was the intensity of my hunger between meals? How long did the absence of hunger last? For me, I felt best and experienced good weight loss during my transformation phase when I wasn’t hungry for at least 3-4 hours after a meal. For me, that meant that I was comfortable and in control of my food choices, and it didn’t require unnatural acts of willpower to wait for my next meal.
Now in addition to how I felt, I know that my doctor has other criteria he considers. For example, was I losing weight? Where am I on my weight-loss journey? What is my history? That being said, I found that it was helpful to be able to clearly describe what I am feeling to my doctor so that we could work together as a well informed team.
Please keep in mind that we really are all different. You may even notice that I didn’t even mention fill volume. Believe it or not I don’t know exactly how many cc’s I have in my band; I stopped focusing on that a long time ago!
I’m hoping this answers some of your questions. Please leave additional questions in the comments section below and I will do my best to respond.
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