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24 September 2008 @ 10:12 am

Questions! Please Help!


My name is Sierra. I am a 21 year old college student in North Carolina. First of all your videos are AMAZING! I have watched almost all of them and your particular brand of sarcasm is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY! anyway. I wanted to know if you think 21 is too young to get banded? I am 5'4'' 240 lbs. The reason why I have to make this decision is because I'm not going to be on my parent's insurance for long. I got a breat reduction my senior year in high school because I was a 44 DDD! Now since I gained weight the boobies are making a comeback! So I want to stop the problem all together and lose the weigh for good. I have seriously been OVERWEIGHT all my life. I think my doctor first told my mom I was obese was at like 9! It was first babyfat....then curves now its just NOT CUTE! Obviously you where in school during the transformation so what do you think?


Dear Sierra,

I think that there will be a lot of scrutiny if you're going through your transformation at school. Kids at school aren't very understanding and are still very immature, so yeah it will be tough, but you can do it. I think the issue of whether or not you're "ready" for a lap band now is up to you and your family. It sounds like you've been obese your whole life and I totally relate to that, but you're still very young and have yet to go out and create your own life and take control of your diet and exercise. There's a chance you might get your own place, your own job, your own life and the weight might start falling off - but I know how hopeless it can seem when you've been overweight for so long So really when I say it's up to you, i mean this is a very personal choice and nobody else should be able to decide for you unless it's an issue of safety.

I have heard of people getting banded as young as 16, now I may consider that a bit early, but really it should be a case by case situation. Some people just NEVER FEEL FULL. Now a lot of the time that can be an emotional issue, they're turning to food to fill up something that's empty or to numb something they don't want to feel, but other times it's purely physical and you actually could eat 6 platefuls of food and still eat more. If you're built like that, chances are that you're going to overeat your whole life and thusly be overweight your whole life, beckoning a whole slew of health issues into your body. I'd rather you take a preventative measure and enjoy as much of your life as healthy as you can possibly be!

Do what's right for you and STAND UP FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR BODY. The people who you deserve to be around you are people who treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve. If people are giving you shit or talking down to you, phase them out, man. This is your life and you only get one. Do what you gotta do.

Best of luck to you and please keep me posted!
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
20 July 2008 @ 09:56 am
Hi Ashley - wow I feel like I know you. I'm a little older than you at 34.... My name is Dana & I've been thinking about emailing you for a while, but I had been denied from my insurance company so many times, i didn't think it was worth it. Well - I was finally approved on Wednesday July 2nd 2008 after a year & a half of trying hopelessly. I am scheduled for lap band on August 5th, '08. Youtube has been such a wealth of information for me, there are no words. But of all the postings I look for, yours stands alone. In fact, it took me a long time to admit to friends & loved ones that I was considering surgery...& when I finally told them, I provided them with weblinks to educate themselves as I had for myself for months... one of the sites I told them to visit was your postings on youtube. Seriously, I feel like I know you. and now that its happening, I find myself scared. ...scared of having a foreign object implanted within me. ... scared of mushy foods and pureeing things that might make me gag...like the suggested chicken - ugh. but not really afraid of the solid-foods stage ...Scared of slipping my band if i overdo it... so many things intimidate me now that I know its going to happen... but I always look for new postings of you....and here I am... at the same 235 you were a year ago...a little taller than you though at 5' 7"..... looking at you in a year post-op at 160 - Wow sister!!! (I had lost weight once before yrs ago on weightwathcers and ended up 160 - I was fucking hot) needless to say, there are alot of us out here in webland (in this case, New York) that look upon you to share your experience, and I just have to say what a true gift your postings, your words, and your candor have been. THANK YOU FRIEND!!!!!!!!!! I was wondering, I know you too like the occasional cocktail. I am currently a dear friend of Bud Light.... I know carbonated beverages are a no-go. I dont drink ANYTHING carbonated now, except bud light - While I am more than willing to give it up, I still know that as a teacher, I will still like to enjoy cocktails on weekends... how is your band with alcohol? What's the best about your band? What's the worst? We've seen you barf... (Lake Ashley & Ashley Pond :) - hilarious btw) Are you afraid of a slippage? Do you have to get ongoing esophagrams? I'm sorry about your BF, but there's a million people pulling for you ... and you're just too cool to be alone for long. I love your cats too! Well Ashley, I just want to thank you again for your honesty with us as you go through this - oh and - you really look gorgeous!!! Maybe I'll have to start taking some "before" pictures, so I can post before & afters in the future!!! Best wishes to you!! ~Dana

Hey Dana it is so good to hear from you and I can totally understand all your fears, when I was in your position (pre-op) I totally had them too. I can tell you with confidence that there is SO MUCH MORE to be EXCITED about than to be scared about. Yes surgery is always scary and I don't think anybody goes into lap band surgery being thrilled and excited to be cut into - but it is the most low-key surgery you will ever have. Everything is done laproscopically through tiny incisions so you heal super fast - I was back to work in under a week. Sure you'll be sore, and you'll have something inside you - but this is a tool that is YOURS and that YOU GET TO USE to change your life in a way that you've always dreamed. You're being given control over your eating and your weight. You'll be able to regulate how much food you're able to eat and how fast you're able to eat it. You'll see the pounds come melting off and be invigorated with the most amazing sense of hope and accomplishment, really to me, there isn't much I WOULDN'T TRADE for this feeling of success I've only been able to achieeve with lap band.

You can definitely drink with the band but it will SLOW YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUBSTANTIALLY. My surgeon suggested I abstain from drinking until I had reached my goal weight, and that was not something I could do. I drank about once every two weeks int he first six months after surgery and now I drink a couple times a week. It really is something you may have to compromise on, you may love bud light, but the damage it could do to your band is so substantial, i'm sure you could replace it with a vodka-cran and feel just fine about it, that's what I did. Just make sure your drinking isn't getting in the way of your goal, it's not worth it.

The BEST thing about my band is that I don't even have to think about it. I'm not spending all hours of every day thinking about how I'm gonna lose the weight, keep it off, and not feel like a guilt failing asshole every day if i CAN'T keep it under control. The band keeps ME in control. I know that I can't eat the huge piles of food my stomach would have me eat otherwise and I can wake up every single day and be like "oh shit what did i eat yesterday? oh right, a normal and reasonable amount and i havem't gained weight in fact i may have lost!" that is an amazing freedom that you will only understand when you get there :)

The worst thing about my band is the throwing up. I can't eat on-the-go at all. I was just at a music festival yesterday and we had to eat and then go see something and I ate way too fast and then had to spend the time i would have gone to the show, searching for a bathroom to throw up in. that is NEVER fun but it teaches you patience and moderation and to not let yourself get so hungry that you shovel food in your mouth. small slow bites and leisurely meals are the only way to do lap-band for me, and that takes a lot of self control, but it's not impossible - and the longer you live with your band the easier it becomes.

Sometimes I get afraid of slippage because I have days where I throw up 2 or 3 times. But if I just eat soup after i throw up it calms everything down and settles the storm and so far I've been doing just fine so I don't see the point in worrying until I have to. I just try and take it as easy as I can and have faith that everything will be fine. Slippage doesn't happen to everyone, and definitely not to those who go slow and take all the precautions.

Thank you for writing I am so glad my vlog has helped you and your loved ones understand a bit more about lap band. It is a crazy journey in so many way so definitely keep in touch and let me know how you're doing and if you have any more questions!

Good luck to you!
Current Mood: lovedloved
08 July 2008 @ 12:40 pm

New Vlog post! I'm 167 pounds now! Holy shit!

Part B & C on my youtube.
Current Mood: blahblah
03 July 2008 @ 02:36 pm
As of today I have officially lost 70 pounds.

Thank you lap band and thank you break-up.

On July 10th it will officially be my one year SURGIVERSARY. That means 365 days will have passed since North West Weight Loss Surgery sliced me open and put the fatty-no-more band around my stomach. And it will have been a year since the first time I wasn't eternally starving and could eat anything and everything under the sun. This last year has been amazing, I have learned a lot. I am very grateful for many, many things that came my way. I am a much stronger and tinier person than this time last year.

Thanks to all my friends for your support. I couldn't have done it without you guys.
Current Mood: proud
26 June 2008 @ 12:46 pm
Hi Ashley -

I have been watching your blogs yesterday and today for the first time! I am getting ready to head out to a free seminar on WLS and am leaning towards having the Lap Band.

I am in Seattle too! I'm older...45, weigh 280 lbs and am sooooooooo tired of being fat and it's starting to take it's toll on me more and more the older I get. So I decided I'm going to make a lifestyle change...and this is one of the ways I'm considering it.

I'm scared to death of sagging excess skin :o(. I also find myself beating myself up by saying...you have to change your whole eating habits to be healthy when you get the Lap Band, so why not just do it now on your own...and maybe you don't need the Lap Band.

Your videos are great! I've watched some others..but keep coming back to yours. I love that you are so real...and positive. It is an amazing journey you have been on.

I thought I would start preparing now...but in my mind would have the surgery at the beginning of October...when I can take time off work again.

Thanks for sharing your story...and I would love to hear back from you!


Hey B :),

Lap band is THE only proven way to lose weight and to keep it off for life. Sure you could choose to eat healthy, maybe even stick to it for as long as it takes to lose all your weight (amazing!) but then you would be just like every other dieter, going up and down, losing some footing here, gaining the weight back, maybe even more than you lost. I have done that my whole life, beat myself up about it, felt shitty and like the world's biggest failure, all because I was ALWAYS HUNGRY.

Lap Band allows you to not only feel full by eating small portions, but to regulate that hunger and finally give you time in which your brain isn't screaming at you to EAT. I didn't even think that was possible and it is the best gift I have ever been given in my life.

Let me know if you ever want to meet up and talk lap band stuff, it can be a really confusing and emotional journey so your support is SO important and there are so many great people that have found strength and success in lap band. It's NOT AN EASY PROCESS but it is definitely worth it if you're tired of being fat and having eating and dieting and guilt consume your every thought. You'll have so much extra time and money you won't know what to do with it all. It's a wonderfully complicated and enriching journey so let me know if you need anything.

Good luck to you!
Current Mood: busy
lapband questions

Apr 30, 2008

Hi "bandinme"...I have been pondering the idea of having lap band surgery...haven't even discussed with my dr or any one for that matter....I have struggled with weight/eating issues for years....now at my heaviest. Anyhow....I would imaging counseling would be a part of the whole "process" since so many of us who are dealing with weight issues have to adjust mentally as well as physically. I just never hear or read anything about this aspect of it. What are your thoughts? I think you look great by the way, and I could not agree with you more about not having to or wanting to be "skinny!" I don't want to be skinny...just want to be happier and healthier. Anyway, I would love some feedback.....advice etc. Thanks so much,

Hey Greekgirl I am so glad you wrote me about this topic, it is a VERY important one. Counseling is the number one healthy-minded addition to embarking on lap band surgery. The majority of overweight people tend to over-eat because of psychological/emotional issues that have come up in their life. Depression is a big motivator to eat, a loss, low self-esteem, abuse - these can all lead to people attempting to numb their pain with food. I personally have always coped with stress by eating, sleeping and isolating myself, and that was definitely something I came face to face with after surgery when I couldn't eat a huge plate of food to give me that numb/comatose feeling I used to love to escape to.

Finding a qualified and empathetic counselor is probably the number one best thing you can do for the psychological (and physical) side of what you'e going to go through after surgery (and even before.) A good counselor (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist) will get to know you over the course of many weeks/months and help you explore what you're feeling and understand your motivations and emotions with clearer perspective and open/understanding compassion for you and your life choices. In a lot of ways having lap band surgery is inviting an identity crisis into your life, but this should be a good thing because, as obese people seeking surgery, we are ready to change who we are and how we think about and relate to food. You WILL change, it WILL be difficult to adjust to - but it will also be marvelous, life-affirming, confidence-boosting and strengthen your overall character. Having a solid support system (which would include a lap band support group) is the best way to stay on top of how you're feeling, keep your footing (stay on track), keep in a positive frame of mind and not push yourself too hard to lose weight too quickly or by compromising your health. Of course I suggest you also have a qualified, reliable physician at your side as well.

I am very glad to hear you're already thinking about counseling. That to me says you're taking the possibility of lap band surgery in your life VERY seriously and considering all the preparations and help you will need in the greater scope of things. I believe you will be a huge success and then turn slowly into a tinier and tinier success as the pounds melt off you! It's not about being skinny, it's about being happy and healthy in your own body and comfortable with who you are. I know you can get there, you've got a strong mind pushing you in the right direction!

Good luck to you!
Current Mood: chipperchipper
16 April 2008 @ 06:18 pm
Hi, My name is Crystal, and I am waiting my self to see if OHIP will help me with my Lap Band. I have to say that you look great...I was just wondering how you have been keeping off the extra skin? I can see the difference in how you look and I was wondering if you where just working out and toning to keep your skin from hanging? I hope you don't mind me asking, it just thats one thing i am scared of. Thank you and I do hope to hear from you, keep up the great work.


p.s was there a three year wait list before you could get in for your Lap Band?


There was no wait for me to get my lap band but i think that has to do with 1) whether you have to wait on insurance or not and 2) the place you're having it done and what their demand and abilities are. i personally was self pay so i didn't have to wait on insurance and my surgery happened very quickly after my seminar/psych eval/nurse's eval.

also, i do have excess skin. i especially have wilty baggy skin on my tummy. now, i also don't work out, and that is BAD. you're supposed to exercise and i am a bad example for not doing it - but i think if i DID exercise i would be even more toned so I hope that is at least a little uplifting to think about. excess skin depends mostly on 1) how old are you are (the elasticity in your skin decreases with age) and 2) what your pre-op weight is (and your highest weight). i started out at 240 so compared to other people my excess skin is minimal. it really is a circumstantial thing but i'm sure your surgeon would be happy to tell you more.

good luck to you i really hope it happens for you!
it is such a wonderful gift modern technology has given us.
write me any time with any other questions!
12 December 2007 @ 02:13 pm
Hey sorry I haven't posted in ages! I've been keeping up more with my flickr and my other journal goldfischegirl which has become pretty open about all of my wls rants! Whether I like it or not this surgery has become a huge part of my life and evolving identity, and I'd rather embrace that than hide it - so here is a celebratory 6 month before & after post! Thanks to everybody for standing by me and being so supportive. It has made a huge difference.

I was motivated to make this post by all of the other awesome before/after picture posts I looked at before I decided to get surgery. If it wasn't for people taking the time to tell their own stories and show the change in themselves, their bodies and their lives - I may have never elected to have Lap Band Surgery on July 10th 2007! It's not until you take a look back at yourself pre-op, that as a post-op you can really let the difference sink in. Sometimes I don't appreciate it as much as I should and these photos really help me to remember how uncomfortable, unhappy and not living up to my potential I was before my surgery. I need to remind myself to enjoy every day I have in this new body. To enjoy all the new things I can do, the new clothes I can wear, the new positions I can experiment with in you-know-what-room-of-the-house! Everything is much better than I ever could have anticipated it would be, and for that I am so so grateful. I'm healthy, happy and for once - relaxed about food, eating and my body.

Here are some before and afters showing what just 6 months post-op can look like to those of you considering lap band surgery. I salute you!

P.S. - Also, to celebrate, I am uploading some more of the videos I filmed on my surgery day and posting them to my weight loss surgery video blog on youtube.com. So go take a look at what the whole process has been like for me. Thanks!

BEFORE and AFTER photos!Collapse )
Current Mood: happyhappy
08 October 2007 @ 09:03 pm
Man! I have been super awful at updating! but so much is going on! My boyfriend and I are heading out on the road in just a week to promote his band Terrene's new album The Indifferent Universe. So I have to get all my shit in order and work my ass off to make sure I have enough $$$ for the FIVE WEEKS I'm going to be road-tripping! This being said, I haven't had much time for blogging about weight loss. But I'm making time!

I've lost about 32 pounds so far... so thats about 10 pounds a month. Not bad not bad! As of last week I officially fit into JEANS again! Holy hell I never thought that would happen. I made a whole stupid youtube video about it where I'm all dumb and myspacey and looking in the mirror at myself way too much...

I'm finding it hard to avoid alcohol and soft foods. Especially since it's much harder to eat in the mornings, I tend to work around that by eating softer foods, which go down easier, but I am trying to stop doing that. I've been drinking less alcohol and much more water this last week so my weight loss has picked up again. When I was drinking a few nights a week it had slowed to a halt. There's a woman who comes into my work that has had the lap band for 4 years and she gave me a stern talking to about the alcohol consumption and made me realize it's not worth slowing down my progress. So I toned it down and it seems to be working. It's going to be much harder not to drink on the road since we'll be at a different club almost every night with drink tickets and everything... I will try though! No more vodka sodas, now I get vodka WATERS with extra lime. Meh, not so bad.

I scheduled another fill the day after tomorrow just because I don't want to go on the road for five weeks and be without a fill, so I thought I'd get a teensy one and stay on top of things. I've managed to eat a LOT in the evening time but not so much during the day. I'm trying to get in more fruit and water and less fattening sauces and soft things. We'll see how it goes. I'm already pretty tight, I don't want to overdo it!

I'm not sure if any bandsters read this at all anymore, give a shout out if you do! And if I haven't friended you I will friend you! Anyway, hope all is well! Stay in touch with me on here and on my youtube! We'll have internet on the road so I can be a comment-a-holic as I please! <3 <3 <3 Ash
Current Mood: excitedexcited
12 September 2007 @ 10:32 am
So I added a bunch of new friends to my friendslist. Welcome! I'm glad you could make it. You look nice. How have you been?

About a week ago I had my second fill. Jesse from NWWLS always says it usually takes 2-4 fills to really feel proper restrcition with your band and get to your "sweet spot" or optimum weight loss zone. At first I thought fill #2 was perfect. The first few days after a fill I always feel a LOT of restriction, but then the swelling goes down and I get to be able to eat more and more and then I'm like "hmmm, do I need another one?" Last time I went in the nurse was like "well you've lost 4 pounds in two weeks, and that's kinda like do you need another fill really?" So I'm skeptical. If I'm still on track, weightloss-wise, maybe I shouldn't go in until that slows down. But I still don't feel that much restriction. I can eat almost anything as long as I go kinda slow and chew really well. I'm still doing well with the whole protein-first and then vegetables approach. I'm avoiding carbs as much as i can (i order burritos with no tortilla or rice, and last night we had chicken and vegetable masala with no rice.) In that way I guess I'm doing really well, and it shows in my BOOBS. I had to go and buy new bras yesterday. I'm down a whole size. Luckily it's not a cup size, I'm still DD but instead of a 40DD I'm a 38DD now. It feels great, and I'm treasuring my huge boobs as long as I can hold onto them. I remind John to enjoy them every day, and he does pretty well. :)

I went to support group on monday and it was a little boring. They had some lady talking about yoga, and while I would love to hear her talk about yoga for like 15 minutes, I did not need 45 minutes of her explaining why yoga is awesome and why her classes are so great and why flexability is so fucking sweet. I came to support group to talk about my fucking lap band lady, shut the hell up and let us get into groups. I finally got to meet vespaskank which was awesome, and also a random lady grabbed my arm and was like I'VE SEEN YOU ON YOUTUBE!! YOU'RE SO FUNNY!! That was totally cute and nice. I like that I'm a mini lap band celebrity. Hooray.

In my group (the 2 months with a lap band section) we talked about ways to avoid drinking water with meals, different ideas for things to eat, what fills do and how they make you feel, and how many fills it can usually take before you feel restriction. It was good to be able to offer some insight to the people there who were feeling furstrated because they still didn't feel restriction. I could say from experience that even if your first fill didn't make you feel more tight, your second or third would definitely show you what restriction meant. Jesse also offered hopeful suggestion to get back into the NWWLS office and get another fill ASAP. It's so nice that they don't make people wait and suffer. A few people there were still experiencing a lot of hunger. My hunger has been only moderate to mild, I rarely get ravenously hungry like I used to be 24-7. That is so priceless I'm really enjoying it.

According to me I'm down about 25 pounds now. It fluctuates from day to day. Somedays I'm like yay 26 pounds down! Other days I'm like oh maybe 24 pounds down! But things are getting looser, my boobs are losing ground and people are commenting on how much they can see it in my face. I ran into a family friend and he was like "you look great! hows that band-thingy working for you?" i was like "oh you heard about that did you?" and he was like "yeah news travels fast in seattle" I think pretty much everyone knows about my Lap Band now. I haven't kept it from anyone, I don't see why I should have to. So that's cool. I didn't like the feeling that it was some sort of secret, I feel better now, even if I'm all exposed and succeptible to judgement. My life is an open book.

Last night while John and I were walking around Greenlake, I got a side-cramp. It was weird cause I usually only get cramps if I've eaten and then try to exercize or if I'm sitting in a position where my band is all smooshed up it can also be a bit uncomfortable. But this one I couldn't explain and it wouldn't go away. I had to take breaks from walking so it would subside a bit, but not much, and then give it another go. Eventually it faded but I still wonder what brought it on and what sent it on its way out. Ah well, we'll see if it happens again.

How are all you kids doing? Still losing? Staying on track? Any tips for me? I could use them. I've been cheating too much with the drinking during meals and drinking alcohol and stuff. I'm working on it though! We'll see if I can become a dedicated and motivated bandster. I think I'm doing alright :)
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative