The Lapband Solution
By Ken Walker-
Even those who didn’t catch a news report about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s recent lapband surgery likely saw a clip from David Letterman earlier where Christie joked about his weight problem.
Obviously, since soon after that appearance the governor checked into the hospital, he felt a sense of desperation and urgency about his obesity. I know what feels like. Had I had the resources before undergoing double bypass five years ago I might have resorted to the same solution.
I don’t begrudge anyone the means to reduce their weight. With Christie shedding 40 pounds in the first couple months, it obviously has helped him get a handle on the problem.
Not Necessarily the Solution
Still, having lived through the weight battle (and I don’t think it ever ends), I would offer a few observations. The first is that not only is this an expensive alternative, it is not necessarily a long-term solution.
Knowing a man who went through this procedure several years ago and still struggles with obesity, I checked and found a 2011 ABC News story about it. It said about half the patients who get the bands have them removed because of erosion or other malfunctions.
Aside from the potential problems, lapband surgery strikes me as the kind of solution that can be compared to the desire for a “magic pill.” Rather than modifying behavior and using self-discipline, many want something that will take care of the problem quick, simply and with a minimum of effort.
I know that sounds harsh, and I don’t mean to be, since I am sympathetic to everyone who struggles with weight. Plus, I know someone who has had success with lapband surgery. Yet without changing our reliance on fast food or convenience items that one can pop into the microwave, our nation can’t expect to address our obesity crisis.
After years of yo-yoing and ultimately failing on several different programs, a vegetarian lifestyle worked for me. Although fighting a raging sweet tooth, I have managed to maintain the weight loss I achieved during the first three months of a lifestyle program at the hospital where I had bypass.
That sounds radical to most people, especially considering around 98 percent of the population are carnivores. Indeed, it was an earth-shattering step for me, the original steak-cheeseburger-double-cheese-pizza lover.
However, five years later, I have little taste for meat (though at holidays I sometimes grab a few of those ubiquitous barbecued meatballs at parties.) A couple years into my regimen I decided to have a cheeseburger as a change of pace. After feeling like I had swallowed a bowling ball, I went back to veggie burgers.
A Five-Step Plan
In our book, Winning the Food Fight, Steve Willis proposes a five-step plan to transforming the way we eat:
Step 1: Make up your mind to be different: “You must first make up your mind that you want to change—that you need to change,” he says. “This isn’t just about being thin. It is about being healthy and seeing your children eat well, live well and love well.”
Step 2: Seek God’s grace: This step addresses our need for a Power greater than ourselves. As Steve says, if willpower alone could do it, we would have already conquered the problem.
Step 3: Develop a plan: The biblical prophet, Daniel, is a prime example. He followed a vegetable-and-water diet for 10 days. As Steve says, all successful plans are specific and measureable.
Step 4: Enlist help for accountability and support: Winning food battles is best done in a group setting. There were nine of us in that lifestyle program that launched me towards success, which offered camaraderie and a mutual support system. I never could have made it on my own.
Step 5: Practice self-control and persevere: Steve says that we must be aware that this will be a fight, one which calls for making good choices daily and persevering until reaching our goal: “Reaching our goals and fulfilling our plans is an act of godliness. God is a planner who succeeds. In achieving success by His grace, we become more like Him.”
Naturally, while this all may sound simple, it isn’t. But for those who either don’t have the money or the kind of health insurance that will pay for surgery, it is worth taking the steps that will help you shed weight and live a healthier, happier life.