08 July 2010

Yeah.. I thought I could outsmart my band..

All of my efforts to modify my eating behavior have failed..
Hence - enter the band.
Warning:  this is a long post, intended to be more therapeutic for me than perhaps interesting to you.. read on at your own risk!

The purpose of the band (as I see it) it to instill boundaries with food consumption and provide warning signs during food consumption that limits are approaching.

The questions that still remain are:
Does the band truly  modify our behaviors?  OR
Does the band only provide a physical barrier to overeating.. but does not play a role in behavior modification?

Now many factors go into behavior and our reasons for taking on or releasing certain behaviors.
Obviously, everyone is familiar with Pavlov's Dog Experiment
  • Pavlov studied digestive system and secretion of saliva (started in dogs)
  • When  Pavlov feed dogs ...they salivated
  • Pavlov thought it was because the dogs saw the people in white lab coats that were feedingthe dogs
  • He tried to figure out the association with certain stimuli and the associated behavior
  • Hence the popular study dogs associated sound of bell with food.
  • When dogs heard bell, they responded by drooling
Now back to the story. .. Is behavior simply the result of positive or negative reinforcements with the hopes of modifying the behavior?  There is much written in Psych papers on Positive Reinforcements which provide a stimulus (reward) and Negative Reinforcements which are the removal of the stimulus. 
Think of this as good eating experience vs. bad eating experience.

Or can the behavior be learned through shared experiences (Don't touch the stove --it's hot).
How we learn may be the key to how our behavior can be modified.
Do we absorb and apply the knowledge?
Or do we need to have the experience of negative/positive punishment to learn that lesson.

How does this all relate to the band.. and behavior modification?
Well. take me for example.
I view myself as fairly bright, intuitive person, a "quick learner".. [remember this is my opinion here]
I know that I have good restriction, and I have read all of the literature, your many posts and first hand band experiences.
 I know that in the morning I have tighter restriction than through out the rest of the day.
 I know this because I have had a negative experience.

So I have cognitive knowledge, personal experience, understand the consequences YET my behavior has still not been modified.
Through impulse, I grabbed something to eat because I wanted it.

I knew better, I knew what the consequence would be; however I still proceeded with the behavior.
The band did it's job (and violently rejected the consumption) resulting in a very negative experience.

So what did I learn that I didn't already know?
Was the consequence enough to deter me?
Was the experience so negative as to NOT want to experience it again? Perhaps..

Still trying to figure this out... maybe impulse and cognitive thinking are where the disconnect is occurring.

I will get back to you when I figure this out... stay cool my friends...


  1. Interesting post. Food has a big hold on most of us and even those who have had the band for a long time sometimes slip. Also, I think there is the every present hope that this time it will be different. On the topic of weather, remember the blizzards and everybody was wishing for summer? Now here we are sweating our arsses off. I swear Mother Nature has a sense of humor.

  2. Great post! I am right there with you! When you figure it out, please let me know! I got the band to "physically" restrain me from overeating and hopefully fix my issues with behavioral eating. Ugh!!!

  3. I am right there with you. I guess I thought the new behavior would replace the old behavior much quicker but I still find myself making the same old mistakes.

    I think a lot of it is the amount of time we spent with our old anatomy and the amount of time we've had our bands. I think if we could all fast forward to our lives 4 or 5 years from now we may see that our behavior really has changed and we don't push the limits of our bands the way we do now. At least that is my hope!!

  4. Well, at least your in good company! Like the others say, when you figure it out, please share.

  5. Your post rings true to all my thoughts and feelings about food! I think it should be manditory that lap banders have to take a college class in behavioral psychology. Who knew how much of this work would be mental. I am amazed every day.

  6. The way I see it is that the band "encourages" us to take small bites, be mindful while eating, chew thouroughly, and eat slowly. I suspect that most naturally thin people follow these rules without effort. But every so often, the lure of those old food behaviors calls me and I eat quickly or don't chew or take a big bite. Sometimes I do it on purpose because I long for the "release" I used to get by engaging in these behaviors. I can only say that those behaviors served a purpose in the past and it is natural to try to recreate them, even though I know better.

    Thanks for a thought-provocing post!

  7. All I can say is ditto... when will I learn? I don't know but I am trying.

  8. I've had similar questions going 'round my head. I'd say the punishment of a PB has begun to retrain my mind about what and when I eat.

  9. Please figure it out and let me know, all wise, all knowing GF. I made a lovely piece of toast with butter last night and regretted it after the first couple of bites-but I ate it all and suffered. I was sad that I couldn't enjoy a piece of toast. I am so restricted right now it sucks. I think it is the heat. So very very weird my bright, intuitive friend.

  10. I am with you on the behavioral conditioning thinking (Pavlov) and thought about it and even posted about it pre-band.
    You may be expecting TOO much learning too quickly from yourself. Eventually: you WILL become conditioned against eating certain things if they are only associated with pain and discomfort.
    That said: you are a smartie pants and can probably outsmart the training by AVOIDING foods that you know are problematic or are KNOWN problems.
    As an example: I don't eat donuts, and typically avoid all cake and muffins too as a rule-- why? Because I am afraid of PB's etc. Could I possibly tolerate these items? Yes. But do I try it? No-- I just don't want to go there if I can avoid it.
    (I have had a few bits of muffin or cake-- but they scare me too much to be very much fun, to be honest.)

    A little fear factor is good-- so really get into whatever happened and recall the discomfort of the circumstances ... avoid the foods that get stuck in the band. Those are usually the ones we should stay away from anyway (chewy carbs like breads, pastas etc.)

    The other thing: when I'm at my best, I'm eating SUPER slow-- b/c when I do that, I really avoid problems. This makes the above counter-intuitive in some ways, as I can CAN eat some pasta, and even a slice of pizza if I GO SLOW.

    I don't even really know what I am saying anymore-- but the main thing is that you are exactly where you need to be now and keep learning, growing and experiencing.. you will GET THERE!!!

  11. I just had lunch and it took a while to go down...its gotta be the heat cause I had my last fill 2 months ago and normally I could eat lunch and dinner with no probs!
    The acupuncture helped last night and I was able to sleep but today I am feeling it more. Hoping it will go away...The needles create a heat sensation. Feels GOOD!

  12. I'm not sure when I'll learn, but I try. I get bad at pushing/testing when I'm really tight (like over the weekend). I knew nothing solid was going down, but I kept trying. I just needed to eat food mentally because I was stressed out and that's my comfort. I think I should know by now, but took me many years to learn these behaviors, so why did I expect to be perfect in a year with the band.

  13. You're a trip and my own little band guru...I love me a good pair of :smartie pants".
    As for me, I have less restriction than ever and am hungry in barely two hours after eating. Needless to say I'm trying to move my fill appt. up from 7/21 to sometime next week. I can't wait to say like Gilly...I love, love, love this band. Right now it's mild disdain.

  14. Very interesting post !! And I can only talk for what I think the band has done in me and I think that it has helped me change certain behaviors through association. What I mean is that when I see what I have accomplished with my body through the lap band it helps me make the right decisions not only in the amount of food due to the physical restriction but in the choice of foods I make bcuz I continuously ask myself "do I really want to eat that after all this hard work?" Dont get me wrong I still have my french fries here or there but never to the abuse level that was so common before.

    i think you're questioning is on the right track of figuring out your journey. I think that you like many others on here have continually astonished themselves in discovering just how strong we really can be and what we really are capable of accomplishing if we just let ourselves do it and stop the self sabotage !!