Long Term Success after Lap Band Surgery

One dictionary definition of complacent is: Satisfied with the current situation and unconcerned with changing it, often to the point of smugness.

Well I am not too sure about the smugness part, but I do know that any time on my journey from 424 pounds to a healthy life that I became complacent I soon found myself in trouble.

Details Matter

Take for example when I decided I did not need to weigh and measure my food because I was pretty much eating the same things each day so I knew their calorie and protein count? This happened to me for the first time about 6 months into my journey and then again at various times along the way. I was either losing weight with textbook regularity or maintaining my new weight. What happened was simple – my jeans began to feel tighter, my joints began to hurt a little more AND I found myself hungrier throughout the day…..oops, back slide, back to weighing, measuring and tracking my food. Then the jeans fit properly again and the scale was my friend in many ways.

Logical Consequences

How about the time I stopped keeping track of how much water I had consumed in a day? What happened then? Well, once I began keeping an eye on it, I realized I was barely squeezing in the 64 ounces my doctor “prescribed.” I found that perhaps the cause of my headaches, muscle weakness and fatigue and all over malaise and achiness could be traced back to my lack of hydration – not to mention the constipation that the lack of hydration caused, or the fact that I was hungry all the time. Hmmm – easy fix, set up a plan for getting in the 80 ounces of water minimum that my body likes.


Then there is fitness.

For the first year, my only fitness was walking into and around first the grocery store, then the big box stores, and finally the mall. I was slow as a snail, but I was doing it. I totally ignored my doc’s recommendation of 30 minutes per day and just did what “I could”. Then the weight loss started slowing down and I did not like that. The solution was obvious even though I chose to ignore it for many months more: a regular fitness routine. Mind you, I was still over 3oo pounds, and my joints hurt so I decided to get into the water and within 6 months built up my swimming laps from one lap to swimming for 30 minutes to an hour 7 days a week. As the years passed, I added first a little treadmill and some strength training to my routine, and now I strength train for an hour twice weekly and elliptical for 45 minutes those same 2 days and swim 5 days a week for at least 45 minutes. I work out with a trainer so I am constantly challenged there, and I challenge myself on the elliptical by “running” high intensity intervals. It took me several years to work up to it and now I am running at least a 5k (3.11 miles) in 45 minutes on the elliptical.

At 68 years young, I am proud of that.

The Bottom Line

What is my point here you ask? My point is simply that I take nothing for granted. I KNOW what it takes to be a successful weight loss surgery patient and to reach my goal and maintain it, which is the truth. The not so apparent truth is that unless I CHOOSE to take the actions that fit my new healthy lifestyle the majority of the time I cannot and will not maintain my weight and my freedom of movement and my health at this level that I enjoy.

My question to all of you on your journeys is simply – Have YOU become complacent?

If your answer is yes, What are YOU willing to do about it?


About the Author – Sandi Henderson

In 2004, Sandi weighed in at 424 pounds. Comorbidities such as arthritic knees and asthma were strangling her life. She felt her mortality and knew obesity was killing her.

In May 2004, at 55 years old, Sandi had Lap-Band® surgery. Within 28 months, she had lost 250 pounds.

Today, she maintains that weight loss, is off all medications and moves freely and vigorously through her new life. She is in the gym working out every morning by 6:30 – swimming laps for an hour, working on the elliptical, or on weight training.

Sandi is an advocate for surgery as a means to fight the disease of obesity and its comorbidities. She wants people to understand that there is a solution for someone like her, someone who was more than 250 lbs. overweight.

Sandi is a member of the Board of Directors of the WLSFA and works tirelessly to help assure that weight loss surgery is available to those who do not have insurance coverage and who cannot afford it. Her passion drives her to action, her example is motivation for all, and many have benefited from her efforts.


NOTE: The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America is a 501(c) 3 Nonprofit Organization. We have earned the Guide Stars Platinum Seal of Transparency. The WLSFA is a 100% Volunteer Organization with no paid executives or staff. We are fellow weight loss surgery patients, paying it forward since 2010.

Questions? Please contact the WLSFA at 415-234-9074 or email us at info@wlsfa.org

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