Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Nagging Question: Does Eating Sweets Mean Restriction is Needed?

I have noticed on a few blogs this week that people are mentioning issues with eating too many sweets; this is leading to their thoughts of needing fills. This confuses me.

I was told by my doctor's office before I was banded that if sweets were my primary food issue (as opposed to generally eating too much of the non-sugary type of food), then the band wasn't for me. This is because sweets liquify and go down with no problem, band or no band. This is why many sweets are in the 'slider' category. This applies to candy, cookies, ice cream, pies, cakes, sodas, milkshakes, or any other type of sweet (although there are certainly other non-sweet sliders like mashed potatoes, chips, pretzels, etc. too). Unlike gastric bypass and other procedures that have 'gastric dumping' as a side effect of eating sweets, there are no controls on eating sweets with the band. This made sense to me based on what I've researched and read.

So I was told that if sweets were my main problem, then I could still eat sweets all day without the band causing any real obstacle to that. The surgeon's office was straightforward with me and told me that though they would love to have me as a patient, I should definitely know that information up front so that I could make an informed decision. I honestly told the surgeon's office that I do love sweets (chocolate especially) but that I also had a big problem overeating in general. It was decided that the band would help--but still would not help with limiting my intake of sweets. That would be up to me and my self control (unfortunately).

At the same time, I've noticed that some of you have said that you've gone through periods where you don't crave sweets and have attributed this to the band. I can't say that this has been the case for me. While I have also not wanted sweets during some periods as much as I have at others, this was the case pre-banding too. For instance, I might crave them more around my period, after commercials for certain kinds of sweets, or when someone at work was doing a Subway run (it almost always made me want cookies--two or three--unfortunately). Other times, my cravings have taken a back seat (THANKFULLY!!!). I have honestly probably gone through more periods of craving sweets than of not craving them, but I guess my point is that I really don't think my band has made those cravings diminish or has really had much effect at all on those.

There are possible exceptions, I suppose. Sometimes, as I'm eating a cake or cookie or something like that, I'll feel kind of full for just a little while...but it seems like there is something to the liquification thing because I'll go right back to my status quo soon enough. And if I eat a doughnut-type of sweet item, I can potentially get stuck because of the bread-like consistency. Lucky for me, I'm not a big doughnut fan (although the custard-filled, chocolate-covered ones are mighty nice at times--by the way, I'm not advocating sweet consumption just in case anyone is taking this post as such).

Again, I'm just stating my experience here, and I understand that we could all have different experiences with this. I hope I'm not stepping on toes here. I'm just curious about the sweet issue and restriction. Are there other issues making you guys think you need fills? Are you having issues with solids such as meat as well, or is it just the sweets? Do you subscribe to the above information about the sweets liquifying? Do you still crave sweets post banding? What are your experiences? I've long wondered about this from reading certain statements in posts, but I figured it was high time this was explored since there are so many addressing this lately.


  1. I still crave sweets all the time, I love them, love to make them and I don't think that will ever change for me. They were not my biggest issue though, over eating was my big thing--huge portions! When it comes to needed a fill I don't base it on cravings, I base it on hunger, how long I am staying full after protein and how much I can eat. I agree that most sweets are sliders so it will always be something I have to avoid, that is what I tell people that think the band is taking the easy way out...I could drink milkshakes all day, the band doesn't do anything about that, making the right choices is all me!

  2. I crave sweets after each meal. However, it's not a marker for me re: needing a fill or not. Mine is based on true hunger and not how much I can eat.
    In theory, it's possible that if they need a fill, they are currently able to eat more food along with a larger variety of foods, such as bread (and maybe other types of foods) which cause less stable blood sugar and in turn cause sugar cravings.

  3. Oops...I meant to say 'and how much I can eat' - not 'and not how much I can eat.' That doesn't make sense!

  4. For me, when I'm at a proper restriction level, I don't crave sweets -I don't really care much about food at all, I eat a bit, I'm full, that's it. When I'm looser I'm hungrier and have trouble finding satisfaction and often turn to treats.

  5. I agree with Angie, Im the same way. and I was told the exact same thing that you were about the sweets and the band vs. bypass.

  6. I was wondering the same thing! I mean, if you can 'cheat the band' can't you cheat it no matter what your restriction? At least, after the first few days of a fill? My issue has always been portion control and carbs. I love sweets too but the breads, cakes, pasta are the things that got me. I KNOW that my willpower is still going to have to be primary in my weight loss journey b/c here I am, a week out from surgery and already hungry and trying to convince myself that anything can be pudding consistency if I try hard enough! I'm using willpower to stay on soups, protien drinks and yogurt.

  7. I crave sweets when I eat sweets. If I don't eat them, I don't crave them. If I chose to have them, I have to prepare myself for the cravings that come when I am done. Oftentimes I crave other kinds of snacks (crackers and cheese or peanut butter) after having sweets. This is a thought provoking post. Thanks!

  8. Hi Bandita,
    I've been reading (and loving:)) your blog for several months - I was banded in Oct 2009. On the issue of sweets, I agree w/ you and Southern Belle. I'd like to comment/pose a question regarding gaining back the weight. In addition to worrying about if I'll regain the lost weight, I really worry about keeping the band. Have you (and this if for Bandita or anyone in banding blog-land) ever seen a case where someone had the band for years and years w/out having it replaced or removed. I mean, I'm starting to think that if I can hang on to my little my band for just 5 years, I'll be lucky. I'm interested in others' thoughts on this.

  9. I am a sugar lover...granted I have made the switch to splenda and other sugar-free things...but oh my, I loved it all...gummies, cakes, doughnuts, chocolate, and well...anything that was sweet.

    This past week, I have made a discovery. It was the week that Aunt Flo is visiting...and well, like every other normal woman, I craved sweets. **I have been pretty good about keeping them away, and only going after sugar-free jell-o or sugar-free fat-free puddings** But damn, I needed that chocolate. So I broke down, and bought it. I ate a bite...and well, didn't taste as good. I don't know if this is because of my taste changing with the band (which I have heard so much about) or the fact that I haven't done sugary foods in so long...gummies dont even taste as good.

    I am thankful and a lil sad at the same time! Thankful that the funky taste will probably keep me away from it...and sad because I don't have that yummy taste/feeling anymore...but I guess it is all about changing habits. I will take it as a blessing.

    I am not sure how to decide when/if I need a fill...I haven't had one yet...I don't have as good as restriction as I did in the beginning fresh out of surgery...but I by no means can pack away the food and still get full after a small portion size. (Last night I had 3 oz of fish and like 10 green beans and I was DONE) So I cannot really comment on the fact of craving sweets meaning I need a fill...

  10. I wonder if mine was one of the posts you read. ;-) I got my fill because I was overeating period (e.g., bigger portions, etc). I just used the cookies and ice cream to demonstrate that in the past when I had good restriction I had no problem just having one cookie and leaving the others for another day. Or having one scoop of ice cream. But with limited restriction I was finding the ability to eat more. It's important to note that cookies and ice cream are not slider foods for me. At good restriction, I can't eat more than one scoop of ice cream (my band reacts really strongly to cold). Good questions lady!!

  11. hey, I think its more of a carbohydrate Craving. I dnno, nice cupcakes... yum!

  12. I think my post was a confusing one too. I don't need a fill because I'm eating sweets - I need it because I'm hungry and feel like I'm eating all day. This week was bad because when I was confronted with sweets I did a "well I've already screwed up, I might as well eat them"- not good.
    I got the same warning about sweets not working with the band and have pretty good in general. I allow myself a treat every once in awhile.

  13. Good question. When I am at my Sweet Spot I absolutely do not crave sweets. The desire, or compulsion, or whatever, simply disappears! And it is amazing.

    For me, if I start having any kind of craving, or feeling like I am always unsatisfied and looking for food, then I need a fill. Sweets were not my big problem necessarily - more like carbs in general, including chips, cereal, crackers, etc. I start turning to these things when I have lost my sweet spot.

    My doc and his team never really brought up the issue about sweets and the band. I think it is hard to distinguish between overeating sweets and overeating carbs - both can be done with the band if you really want to.

    I agree with Linda that having a small treat once in a while helps to limit issues with sweets. My fave is dark chocolate, as you know...but I had to lay off that when it was becoming a regular habit!

  14. You know, it's funny, but I find myself "craving" things when I'm reading other bandsters' blogs. They'll talk about something they've had or want or are avoiding, and it makes me want it.

    Just like that picture of all the very pretty cupcakes? Mmmm, now I want a cupcake although my tummy is telling me I'm still full from lunch 4 hours ago!

    I kind of relate it to yawning or looking at your watch. If one person does it, it is quite contagous and the next person is going to do it too.

    But I think for me, at the times I'm not reading blogs, I'm craving carbs when I've eaten too many. So if I've had a few meals that are heavy on carbs, it creates in me a need for additional carbs, i.e. sweets.

    I know I just need to get back to the original reason I got the band in the first place: lose weight to get pregnant. I find that if I keep that thought in the forefront of my mind, I do better. I am also at that point where in past diet attempts I've become complacent. Therefore I need to power through this "Oh I've done so well I can now sit back and relax" and get my butt kicked into a higher gear!

    So far, I haven't thought that because I'm eating a lot of sweets, I need a fill. Last week I was eating a lot of food due to losing the awesome restriction I had during a cold, and knew that a fill was needed.

    Let's hope my mind will prevail in the battle of the sweets, as we all know, the band can only do so much.

  15. I really only crave chocolate around TOM or when I am super tired like after my recent gastro bout. I try to choose nutritous foods as I now eat so little and so sweets don't really cut it and too many make me sleepy and I crave them more. I would base the need for a fill on hunger. Great post

  16. Sweets are my downfall, but for me it has nothing to do with my restriction level. That craving never leaves, I just have to wrap my head around making the right choices. Most days I do, some days I don't.