Weight Loss Surgery - Is it possible to develop an eating disorder with lap band?

04-27-2009, 09:29 PM
The reason I ask is that I have done some work for a fellow lap bander who is a colleague of mine and we had become friends as a result of this common bond, being we could identify with each other's struggles and victories with our lap bands.

With that aside, a recent issue concerns me. She was always a stickler for protein and water intake before, followed the band rules to the letter, and lost considerable weight, just as I had.

Well, in the meantime, she had been communicating with a guy for a little over a year and they'd gotten close, despite him sending mixed signals between outright flirting and some deep conversations. Things were great....until recently.

He'd gotten interested in some girl overseas and made it known he "liked" her. The girl is considerably younger and about 50 pounds lighter than my friend/colleague, though no supermodel herself. And she has a child, while my friend/colleague is childless. As for the guy, he decided he only wanted to "remain friends" with my colleague, and it sent her into a tailspin of feelings of abandonment, anger, depression, and self-image crashed altogether.

Her diet now consists of water, cigarettes, yogurt, toast, coffee, and diet soda. And she exercises more often than she had before; one hour before all this was sufficient, now it's two hours nearly every day at the gym.

I'm really worried she is going to do some serious damage to both her health and band. What do you think? I am at a loss on how to help but I don't want to abandon someone in their obvious time of need.

04-27-2009, 09:55 PM

I do not have a band myself, but my friend just had one put in. From what I know of her and what she has told me of the band (as any weight loss tool) it is absolutely possible to develop an eating disorder. Just as people can stretch out their "pouch" when they have a gastric bypass--- it has nothing to do with the food, but the mind. So, in your friends case the guy rejecting her must have triggered something in her mind and she is as you say in a tail spin. No banding or unbanding will help that..... she will have to talk it out with a friend/professional or resolve it in her mind on her own.

BTW, I am not a licensed anything..... but I know what my friend is struggling with..... and for that matter----- anyone who is losing weight.

04-27-2009, 10:03 PM
I think it's probably more easy for someone with a lap band to develop a new eating disorder than other people. I consider the chronic overeating/binging which goes into becoming obese to be an eating disorder, and from what I've heard, it's very easy to switch from one eating disorder to another, especially if it's not properly treated with physical and mental therapy.

Surgery is usually good, because doctors usually force their patients to go into therapy, and it allows people to begin to feel hopeful that things will change. However, I'm not sure that everyone who gets it has completely "overcome" their original eating disorder, which can be dangerous.

I hope that your friend seeks some help.

04-28-2009, 11:03 AM
yep!!! and as stated above, it's not the lapband that's doing it!!!! she needs some support - and it can take any number of forms, from private counseling, with or without meds, to support groups, to meditation. but bottom line, she's gotta change her HEAD here -

04-28-2009, 01:28 PM
The bariatric nutritionist who runs the support group I attend actually has a separate group for band patients because she said some of them exhibit many signs/behaviors consistent with eating disorders, so they need a different kind of meeting than those of us with the DS or RNY (not that ANY of us couldn't develop an ED, but, in her experience, it happens noticably more frequently with band patients).

04-29-2009, 01:44 PM
Poor dear, its a shame that he is making her feel that she is less desirable than the other girl.


04-29-2009, 02:31 PM
I got some good news this morning. I talked to Sherry and she let me know that she found a therapist that specializes in both patients who had WLS and those with eating disorders. She also knows I'm here for support. She's also been started on a low dose of Prozac and I know she's trying to make an effort to get back on track when she asked advice on various uses for protein powder! We're also going to do a Leslie Sansone walking video together tonight.:carrot:

04-29-2009, 02:32 PM
So glad for you and her!

04-30-2009, 09:33 AM
Good for her, nobody is worth that.

04-30-2009, 09:43 AM
YAY!!!!! don't ya love a GOOD, healthy decision?? she's gonna make it!!!!

and ps - she's more than welcome to drop by any time. we've heard it ALL!!!!!

05-02-2009, 01:49 PM
Just wanted to input. I know first hand about developing a new eating disorder with the lap band. I was/am an emotional eater. Prior to the surgery it was binging until sick. Now I know how my band works and because it is so tight I do Lap band binging which does not require too much food, but now I know how to make my self purge without sticking my hand down my throat. I know if I eat something really fast and then drink somthing it is just going to come right back up. I get the feeling of binging, but do not want that food in my system so I make sure it does not stay. I also work out every day and have extreme guilt that I constantly think about it all day if I happen to miss ... which does not happen too often. I am still seeing the same psychologist religiously/regularly and am totally honest with her regarding my behaviors. I fought to have the lap band to be healthy not switch one illness for another. I am trying to work through it and really do not want to cause harm to my body/esophagus. It is soooo hard to change the behaviors. I knew going into this that the surgery was not a quick fix and new that it was going to be hard... hence the reason that I have stayed with my counseling sessions. This has been going on for over a year and try everyday not to purge. Guess that is a reason that I lost so much weight in a short amount of time.

Glad to hear that your friend found a therapist and remind her that if she does not click or end up like the therapist she can switch. She is the one that is doing the hiring and there are soooo many counselors/therapist/psychologist out there. I was lucky that the initial psychologist that I ended up with was a good match. I always called her my fat advocate. She is like a size 0, but the way she viewed what I and obese people go through with life and society always made me believe that she understood (even though not having the weight issue how could she relate). She is very compassionate.