I guess I’m kind of cheating because what I really want to talk about is body image…but now that you are reading you might as well continue and see if there are any juicy bits! 🙂
So I do quite often get questions about ‘the dirty deed’ and the band. The most common question…after much throat clearing and shoe scuffing: ‘Is there anything I can do that can harm it’, and the next, which deals really with body image: ‘How do I explain my scars’?
Question Number 1: No. As far as I know and from my dealings with over 4000 patients, the information I have read, the conferences I have attended, there isn’t much you can do that will harm your band. (But listen up so that I am not held liable, I am saying I haven’t HEARD of any problems…I’m a nurse not a priest…people don’t tell me everything…thank heavens).
Question Number 2: How do I explain my scars? Well, dealing with that is a very personal decision. Some people, and it doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with intimacy, are concerned about questions they may get regarding the small incisions from the laparoscopic surgery. Some individuals are very open and tell everyone about their decision to have lapband surgery. An equal number are very private. I have patients who choose to tell no one, not even spouses (not too many but a few). How do you explain the scars? Really they are no ones business but your own, but that may not stop some nosey-Parkers (where DOES that term come from?) from enquiring. For most they heal within a year to thin, barely noticeable white lines. Quite often when doing an adjustment I’m not even able to locate the scars. Really this is a topic you have to think about how you want to answer, and be comfortable with your response. I think in most cases a simple ‘minor surgery’ and change the subject will suffice. (If people are rude and persistent the gallbladder is in the same general vicinity and ladies…if a male partner is asking you know what to say to send them looking for the TV remote: “female things”).
So lets talk about body image. I really think that it is not unreasonable to say that a wide majority of the population, whether obese or not, have to some degree body image issues…it is the nature of being human. Throw in the disease of obesity and these body image issues have the capability of multiplying exponentially. Most obese individuals have dealt with these issues either for the majority of their lifetime or a very long time. Poor body image, particularly with females, starts at a very early age and becomes progressively worse as they get older. An article I read by SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre) cited a Harvard study that showed that up to 2/3 of underweight 12-year-old girls considered themselves to be fat. By the age of 13 at least 50% of girls are significantly unhappy with their weight and appearance and by the age of 17 only 3 out of 10 girls have not been on a diet. Heartbreaking findings. Although boys do go through a short phase of some dissatisfaction with how they look, in adolescence the physical changes associated with puberty, increase in height and muscle mass, brings them closer to the male ideal. (Having said this however research is showing that there is an increase in body-dissatifaction amoung boys.)
Why is this? Media of course. Media and us women who buy into it. Standards of beauty as shown on T.V., billboards, magazines have become harder and harder for ‘real’ women to achieve. According to research the current media ideal of thinness for women is achievable by less than 5% of the population…5%!!
So what can we do to change this? Stop supporting that type of media for starters. But deep issues with body image require some professional counselling to be dealt with sufficiently. It is important to be conscious of this. I truly believe that until underlying issues are dealt with satisfactorily you will have limited success with weight loss (band or not).
I have recently started an exercise/support group called “Burn and Learn“. A wonderful (no actually EXTRAORDINARY) bunch of women and myself, get together twice weekly to exercise in a non-threatening environment, work up a sweat, have some fun, and then discuss issues and concerns. Recently we discussed body image, and some of the stories were truly heart-wrenching and stories that so many people reading this could relate to. But to make a long blog short what was agreed upon at the end was that change must come from within. Society most DEFINITELY has to change the way obesity is viewed. Obesity HAS to be viewed and addressed as the disease…not weakness…that it is. But this will be a work in progress and will not happen overnight. Until this happens YOU have to change the way you view YOURSELF.
One thing that was agreed upon by all was the importance of looking your best. Dressing in shapeless sloppy clothes makes you feel just that…shapeless and sloppy. Example: My sister has (well thankfully ‘had’) a horrible green and purple coat that she wore when she was at her heaviest weight. As she started to lose weight the coat started to hang. But despite my kind and gentle prodding (“that coat looks like *@!#”) she refused to buy a new one until she lost more weight. It finally took her teenage niece saying “Auntie B…you look like Barney the Dinosaur in that coat” to get her to buy not only a new coat but a hot new pair of boots. She looked (and looks) GORGEOUS!!! And guess what? She felt better and carried herself better and was more motivated to keep going in her journey to feel better.
Which (“finally” you say!) brings me to the conclusion of this not-so-sexy post on Sex With The Band (such a tease I know). As one of my incredible ‘Burn and Learn‘ women quotes “We would worry a lot less about what people thought of us if we realized how seldom they do” (thank you M). Stop worrying about the rest of society and what they think. You are wonderful. KNOW THAT and BELIEVE THAT. You are doing your absolute best and although not every day may be your “best” day no ones is. Celebrate every victory no matter how big or how small and greet the world with a proud face. And if necessary go and buy a new coat.
Yours in Health and Fitness and Great Se…stuff,