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Rode my bike to lap-band surgery

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Rode my bike to lap-band surgery

Old 04-02-09, 04:42 PM
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Rode my bike to lap-band surgery

Yes- how screwed up is that? On Tuesday afternoon, I finally went under the knife. I rode down to the hospital, locked my bike up, and went in for surgery. My wife, who picked up my bike in the van that evening, thought I was kind of nuts to ride such a distance without food or water since midnight the night before.

I want to thank everyone at C&A for all of the encouragement that you give me and a lot of other lurkers. I've been reading the forum almost every weekday for two years. Since I read it during short breaks at work, I haven't felt comfortable responding while on the company clock. I'm at home now recovering from surgery, so I thought I'd introduce myself.

Until two years ago, I hadn't ridden a bike regularly since childhood. Two years ago, I started a new job in Cambridge MA, which significantly increased my commute time. I also felt this ticking time bomb associated with my health- at 6'3'' and about 350# at age 46. Definitely not good. I decided to commute by bike. I have a nice route with several multimodal choices. (My employer pays for a T pass.) My ride all the way to work is 24 miles round trip. I usually ride all the way when there is no snow/ice and rain is not threatening. I have the option of stopping at the 8 mile point and picking up the subway at Alewife. This shortened 16 mile RT ride is especially nice, since I only use pleasant suburban roads and the Minuteman Bike Way. I also have the option of picking up the bus (which has bikeracks) at Alewife and taking it most of the way home. This bus backup, which I use quite rarely, allows me to ride more often when truly terrible weather threatens. When the temperature is over 45F, I'll usually just use my raingear and ride in the rain. In the winter I use studded tires and still ride 2-3 times a week. My coldest ride this year was -5F. Over the last two years, I've commuted about 6000 miles. I don't think I'd have done it without the examples I saw on C&A. You folks have made it clear that my weight is not an impossible barrier to a healthier lifestyle. My heart and lungs and pretty much the rest of me thanks you. OK-- maybe not my butt, but you get the idea.

With all this riding, I only lost about 30#s. Now I have kept this 30#s off for two years now, so that is an accomplishment of sorts. I also dieted during this time, but as usual I would gain it back. I'm part of the 90% of people who regain lost weight. The biking has done great things for my health. Being active and fat is much better than being a couch potato and fat.

Unfortunately, 30# weight loss is not enough. Instead of waiting for my life to be first diminished and then
shortened by obesity-related diseases, I decided to do weight loss surgery. Yes, I know its all just calories in verses calories out. Willpower should always carry the day. In an ideal world, we could all just decide to eat less and reach a healthy weight. But I don't live in this ideal world. None of us do. Where I live, obesity is an epidemic which is rarely cured by dieting. Only 5-10% of dieters successfully keep weight off long term. I know from long exerience that I am in the other 90%. So I think that lap-band surgery was the right choice for me. And think how much faster my commute will be if I lose 100 pounds!

OK-- I'm climbing into my asbestos lined flame protection suite now...
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Old 04-02-09, 05:17 PM
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welcome to the other side as we say in wls circles..enjoy your journey..it is a hell of a ride
cheers
mark

gastric by pass
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Old 04-02-09, 05:35 PM
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heh...I'm sure your doc will get a good chuckle out of it, too.

If you live up where I think you do (MA) then yes, I can understand the obesity epidemic. All that rich clam chowder and seafood up North. I was just up there less than a month ago and still trying to recover (in more ways than one)

Tom
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Old 04-02-09, 05:52 PM
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Hey GOOD LUCK and do what ever gets your weight off and mind right for you . Gets your mind right and it a all work out .
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Old 04-02-09, 05:58 PM
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Good job on what you have accomplished so far. You have allready done more than what 95% of people ever will. I hope the surgery works out for you. Good luck. Keep riding, and be sure to post once in a while to let us know how you are doing.
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Old 04-02-09, 09:01 PM
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Good luck on the recovery.

Hope all goes well for you...

Eric...
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Old 04-02-09, 09:46 PM
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Welcome, 581----------------->199 via weight loss surgery and cycling.

Roux-N-Y, here.
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Old 04-03-09, 04:30 AM
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Congrats Jim, and great work on riding the bike to the surgery! At 425 pounds I wasn't riding any bikes when I had my RNY done almost six years ago now.

You're right. Don't waste your life away trying to do it "on your own." Do it your way, and get on with life. These last six years have been amazing (and frustrating.) But every time I get on a bike I'm reminded of how limited my life was before this.

You'll do great!
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Old 04-03-09, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
Welcome, 581----------------->199 via weight loss surgery and cycling.

Roux-N-Y, here.
Wow! That is quite an achievement.

As to the OP, hey, good luck to you. The goal is to get out of that morbid range. if surgery is what it takes to get you there, so be it.

Good luck to all those who are over 300#. I know it's too easy to get up there; not so easy to get back down.
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Old 04-03-09, 06:26 AM
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good luck
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Old 04-03-09, 10:27 AM
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I was at 385 when I started the physician monitored weight loss in Sept 08. I lost 15.5 pounds in six months. Not great. I had the lapband done on March 9. When the doc pulled my staples on April 18, I had lost 30 pounds from Feb 24-March 18 (almost 1 month). Rode my bike to the LBS on March 17. 11.65 miles round trip, with about 600 feet in elevation changes (both ways). My doc did not want me riding that soon, but I felt great...got a bit dehydrated, but it was a lesson.

Ok, went back for my first fill on April 1, have lost another 8.5 pounds. That brings my total official weight loss on since the start of this journey to 54 pounds.
I am now riding my Allez back and forth to work (9.65 miles each way).

It has been a great trip so far, and am I really looking forward to the journey down.
It is also a great feeling when the pants you have been wearing swallow you...
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Old 04-03-09, 11:21 AM
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You are now on the road to becoming hard-core! Riding your bike to surgery makes a statement.
Speedy recovery to you & all the best on the weight loss.
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Old 04-03-09, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by JimDDD
Yes- how screwed up is that? On Tuesday afternoon, I finally went under the knife. I rode down to the hospital, locked my bike up, and went in for surgery. My wife, who picked up my bike in the van that evening, thought I was kind of nuts to ride such a distance without food or water since midnight the night before.
...
Now that's hardcore - maybe not as hardcore as riding BACK HOME from surgery but still....
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Old 04-15-09, 02:57 PM
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Back on the bike

Hi everyone-

I'm back on the bike again with surgeon's OK two weeks after surgery- I took a ten mile spin this afternoon in the beautiful weather. The riding was easy, so I hope I haven't lost too much over the two weeks recovering from surgery. I'm also going back to work starting tomorrow. I needed to wait for the doctor's OK before I'm allowed to return to work. I'll start my 17 or 25 mile RT commute again on Monday, after building up a bit in the next four days.

I've lost 18 pounds in only 15 days since surgery. I'm not sure how I lost so much, but I do feel good. This is in addition to the 25 pounds I lost in the 10 weeks leading up to surgery. I'm lighter than I've been in a long time.

Thanks for all the encouragement in the posts above.

Jim
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Old 04-15-09, 06:57 PM
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Be sure you eat enough

HI,
Be sure your Dr knows how active you are watch your Ca/Potassium levels, things can change very quickly when you drastically reduce your carb intake due to obstuction from the lap-band.
you may start burning muscle if your not getting enough energy foods.
So your weight loss may be mixed muscle and fat.
doug
Most Dr and dietician are geared for sedentary people not Bike riding people
My Dentist thinks I am fibbing when I say I ride 30 + miles a day at 230lbs.
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Old 04-15-09, 08:17 PM
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Well Done
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Old 04-15-09, 08:37 PM
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Inspirational.
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Old 04-16-09, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by djnzlab1
HI,
Be sure your Dr knows how active you are watch your Ca/Potassium levels, things can change very quickly when you drastically reduce your carb intake due to obstuction from the lap-band.
you may start burning muscle if your not getting enough energy foods.
So your weight loss may be mixed muscle and fat.
doug
Most Dr and dietician are geared for sedentary people not Bike riding people
My Dentist thinks I am fibbing when I say I ride 30 + miles a day at 230lbs.
This is correct, and one of the great things about my doc. He recommends that his patients take 70g of protein per day. So, I drink protein shakes on a daily basis.

Costco has the Muscle Milk Lite- 20 g protein, 24 pack for $27
Smoothie King has the Galdiator- 45g protein, 1 g carb (in a 20 oz). I usually get it with peanut butter and banana in chocolate powder...that adds extra protein, potassium and omega 3s.
There are lots of other options...including Synergy's flavorless protein that you can add to just about anything (at 10 g per scoop).
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Old 04-16-09, 08:38 AM
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Congratulations on all your progress!

From your posts, it still looks like you somehow feel guilty for getting help to accelerate your weight loss. DOT FEEL BAD! You have taken back control of your body. From what I've read in the press, weight loss surgery in and of itself is not a guarantee that you will loose weight and keep it off. However, by cycling and geting active you are adding a critical piece that will ensure your long term success. By riding daily you'll get and keep your body healthy.

Good luck and happy riding,
André
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Old 04-16-09, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by djnzlab1 HI,
Be sure your Dr knows how active you are watch your Ca/Potassium levels, things can change very quickly when you drastically reduce your carb intake due to obstuction from the lap-band.
you may start burning muscle if your not getting enough energy foods.
So your weight loss may be mixed muscle and fat.
doug
Most Dr and dietician are geared for sedentary people not Bike riding people
My Dentist thinks I am fibbing when I say I ride 30 + miles a day at 230lbs.
The office staff is well aware of my higher level of excercise-- I'm asked about daily excercise at every visit. Because of my height (6'3''), the nutritionist in my program has me on 80mg of protein/day.This is not easy to reach, even with supplements. And multivitamins and extra D, of course. They also do blood draws to track vitamin/mineral levels on a regular basis, escpecially before and after surgery. Malabsorption is less of an issue with lap-band than other weight loss surgeries, but they are still concerned about deficiencies. The patient "contract" that I signed committed me to lifelong followup including tracking of vitamin/mineral levels. These guys are really thorough. This is one of the benefits of going to an academic medical center (Beth Israel/Harvard, in Boston).

The main thing to watch with the riding is fluid intake. Rehydration can be a challenge so shortly after lap-band surgery, so I've been told to make sure I'm well hydrated (even over-hydrated) BEFORE riding. And, of course, drink constantly while riding and monitor my thirst. Better to stop for bathroom breaks than find yourself rehydrating with an IV.

I'm sure I'll lose some muscle mass, along with the fat. Maybe even a lot. This is probably biologically unavoidable. This doesn't concern me too much as long as I have enough muscle left. I can rebuild in a few months. I do this most springs anyway, as I shift from low milage weeks in the winter to full-on commuting. The weight, on the other hand, is a decades long battle.
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Old 04-16-09, 01:34 PM
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Also try Optimum Nutrition's 100% Whey Protein. I mix mine with skim milk, others use Soy milk. The taste is good and you get 24g of protein per scoop. A 5+lb jug is ~$40 which lasts quite awhile (way more than the pre-packaged drinks in a can). Good luck on your continued success!
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Old 04-16-09, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JimDDD
Originally Posted by djnzlab1 HI,


The office staff is well aware of my higher level of excercise-- I'm asked about daily excercise at every visit. Because of my height (6'3''), the nutritionist in my program has me on 80mg of protein/day.This is not easy to reach, even with supplements. And multivitamins and extra D, of course. They also do blood draws to track vitamin/mineral levels on a regular basis, escpecially before and after surgery. Malabsorption is less of an issue with lap-band than other weight loss surgeries, but they are still concerned about deficiencies. The patient "contract" that I signed committed me to lifelong followup including tracking of vitamin/mineral levels. These guys are really thorough. This is one of the benefits of going to an academic medical center (Beth Israel/Harvard, in Boston).

The main thing to watch with the riding is fluid intake. Rehydration can be a challenge so shortly after lap-band surgery, so I've been told to make sure I'm well hydrated (even over-hydrated) BEFORE riding. And, of course, drink constantly while riding and monitor my thirst. Better to stop for bathroom breaks than find yourself rehydrating with an IV.

I'm sure I'll lose some muscle mass, along with the fat. Maybe even a lot. This is probably biologically unavoidable. This doesn't concern me too much as long as I have enough muscle left. I can rebuild in a few months. I do this most springs anyway, as I shift from low milage weeks in the winter to full-on commuting. The weight, on the other hand, is a decades long battle.
I always wonder about the muscle mass thing, if one is morbidly obese and loses say 50kg, then some muscles used to haul that extra 50kg around, may not be needed anymore, and losing it isn't a bad thing. Obviously the muscles needed for cycling are not ones you want to lose, but your working on those anyway.

You probably should look into other exercise, that is more upper body oriented, and one thing to remember, walk as much as you can, it works the leg muscles not used for cycling, which tends to work some muscles more then others.
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Old 05-22-09, 08:24 AM
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Hello again from the OP-

I went in for my 7 week post-surgery checkup, so I thought I'd give an update. I've now lost 25 pounds pre-surgery and 35 pounds post-surgery. I'm obviously happy with 60 pounds in four months, but I'm especially happy that I'm unlikely to ever see that weight again! At the beginning of the year, I was carrying about 145# in excess weight (weight above a BMI of 25), so I've lost about 40% of excess weight. It's quite unlikely that I will reach and then maintain a longterm BMI of 25, but I'm pretty confident that this 60# is gone forever. I'd break out the champagne, but I'm supposed to avoid carbonated beverages...

I got a 2cc "fill" for the lapband yesterday-- the band is inflated with saline using a port just under the skin. I'll probably do this every 4 months or so for the first two years. The fills reduce the size of the exit from the upper stomach pouch, allowing food to stay in the pouch for a long time. For me, this seems to almost eliminate hunger for 5-6 hours after eating a 3-4 oz meal. I do need to pay a lot of attention to hydration, though.

I'm riding 60-80 miles a week, most of it commuting. I expect to be back to my typical fair-weather milage of 90-120 miles a week starting next week. Although I've been riding since the second week, I've been waiting for the 8 week post-surgery mark to up my milage again.

So what is my experience so far? It's way too early to tell what my final opinion will be, given that weight loss surgery is somewhat drastic. I certainly do miss sitting down to a big meal, especially in social situations. I have no trouble eating out, per se. (I have started putting a small cooler in the car with some ice packs when I go out. I sometimes carry it on my bike, to. That way, when the food looks more tempting then my stomach can hold, I know I can always take it home for later. Besides being economical, this also reduces any feeling of depravation.) The lap-band provides satiety, but it does not change the social/cultural/psychological aspects of food. I've developed the small-portions habit easily for the 95% of routine meals. I may always feel a loss the other 5% of the time. This is one of the costs for the health improvement.

That's life for now in lap-band land.

Jim
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Old 05-22-09, 08:49 AM
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Congrats, and good luck!

As for this:
Originally Posted by pipes
Hey GOOD LUCK and do what ever gets your weight off and mind right for you . Gets your mind right and it a all work out .
Well, I'm sure you got your mind right!

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Old 05-22-09, 12:32 PM
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Let me get this straight--the surgery DECREASED the amount of riding you were doing before? What was the point of it?
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