Thursday, May 8, 2008

VBloc Therapy, For What It Is Worth . . .

I'm a bit of a gastric bypass snob. I'll admit it. I love and admire and respect people that went with the lap-band procedure or the gastric sleeve or that are doing the Weight Watchers thang or are still clinging on to Atkins for dear, meaty vs. bready life but I am, at the end of the day, a gastric bypass purist.

I don't mind when people call it "stomach stapling." I don't mind when people ask crazy questions about the surgery itself or what it does or how it works. I was asked by a client a few weeks ago what my pouch was made of, for instance (I told her snake skin, for the record, and she believed me citing that she knew snakes could eat entire rats so they must be "stretchy." Only then (well, after laughing) did I tell her my pouch was made from my stomach. That she was slower to believe, oddly enough.) I don't even mind (any more) when people dismiss my decision to have gastric bypass as some "easy way out" of fatness or some "crazy" decision that I'll surely regret sometime soon or whatever.

What I do mind (and again, no disrespect intended here) are all these crazy new "cures" to fatness that raise confusion around gastic bypass, its validity and the obese condition itself.

Enter my latest nemisis . . . VBloc Therapy. The tool - still in clinical trials - is a tool that is inserted under the skin that emits electric signals to block the vagus nerve (a nerve that runs from the brain to the abdomen and is believed to control hunger). A sort of "pacemaker" for hunger, as the article I read explains. You have to wear a belt over your abdomen and under your clothes to make the thing actually work (a very small and subtle belt, mind you (ahem)) but - it is "safer" than gastric bypass according to the group doing the survey. Whatever that even means.

Now, let me take a minute to explain what could possibly be wrong with this procedure. In a word . . . NOTING. It is another great option for people to try to use in their battle against obesity BUT - a simple question for all the morbidly obese out there that are reading - when is the last time you ate because you truly hungry and stopped the minute you felt you were not truly hungry anymore? I've checked my extensive food logs and it turns out the last time I did that was November 7, 1979. At the age of THREE years old.

I mean COME ON. The procedure will supposedly help people lose as much as 20% of their excess weight in the first six months following the procedure but - uh - what then!? Six months, huh?! Sounds like the amount of time the average diet might last before people get bored, the weight loss slows and the excercise drops off, the pounds come back on and the search resumes for real help.

The clear difference between VBloc and all of these other "cures" and good ol' gastic bypass is that gastric bypass is forever. I had my surgery 14 months ago. In that time I have been hungry exactly ZERO times. I have eaten for no apparent reason (every time I eat it is because I know I have to or because I want to) and I have stopped eating after my little tiny portions of food are gone - not because my hunger nerve is happy. In other words - I have the benefits of the VBloc without the trappings and minimal weight loss and long term success of it.

Anywho - do whatever you want. Try the VBloc, get a lap band, try the gastric sleeve, go back to Jenny Craig. Whatever helps you lose your weight and makes you happy and helps you along your journey is, obviously enough, right for you . . . it just so happened that gastric bypass was, after all my searching and struggle, the only thing that was truly right for me.


Keza said...

I totally agree with your comments, what ever works for you & changes for life is great. I was not keen on bypass surgery or lap band & couldn't afford the cost of doing it either. I stumbled across a V Block therapy trail and I must say I WAS SCEPTICAL, extremely so. But it has seriously changed my life. I have struggled ever since I can remember with food, it controlled my life. Everything in my day focused on food, when I will eat next, what I will eat next etc. The surgery was minimal, I have to charge myself once, maybe twice a week for 90 mins, while I'm watching TV. Since having the surgery nearly 4 months ago, I have lost 19 kgs, far more than I ever imagined. I am exercising because I want to not because I have to, I feel like exercising to get rid of my excess energy. I am about to reduce & hopefully come off my blood pressure medication. I live each day eating what every I like, I stick to a calorie controlled diet, therefore I budget my calories but don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, I occasionally go over but have not binged for 4 months, never can I remember going that long. I don't wake up thinking about food, I don't spend all day thinking about food, food no longer controls my life, I feel like I finally have a life. I cant believe how close I came to not going through with this surgery, but am so thankful I did, it has been life changing for me.

Jai said...

Keza...I couldn't agree more...I am in the Recharge study as well...I had my surgery 3.5 months ago and am down 30lbs...30% of my goal. I like you am no longer consumed by food, have more energy, have the desire to work out, and haven't felt this good in 11yrs.

Part of being in a clinical study, is that you don't know the all the results yet...this could turn out to be another failure in the end, but I'm willing to take that chance. There is no belt to wear, just a battery to charge (externally) at night a couple nights a week.

Sean...congratulations! You have come a long way and done an amazing job...but, bypass isn't a cure mother had bypass 28 yrs ago, lost over 200lbs, looked and felt great for about 5 - 6 yrs...she has slowly gained almost all of it back. In the end, we have to change our view on food, weight, and exercise. I see this was written a few years ago, so I hope you have had continued success, and best of luck!

Anna Squillace said...

My lap band is my very best friend. I hope to never be without it! There really isn't one answer, I was not "allowed" bypass due to a diagnosis of celiac disease, so lap-band (at the time) was my only option. It's changed my life!