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Gastric balloon newbie



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So its been interesting reading so many people saying bad things about the gastric balloon, because for me, even though its very early days, it is going really well. I have lost 8kg since my procedure on May 21st (starting weight 134.9kg which I think is just under 300 pounds?, height 5'6), I am, as advertised, not hungry at all, and while the first week I was cramping somewhat, I haven't vomited or had any nausea at all. I haven't had any issues in the puree stage and am already finding some soft foods are okay too, though I do still feel more comfortable on liquids so I am dialing it back a bit and taking the transition slower as the fullness is hard to (lol) stomach.

Speaking of stomachs, even though I intellectually knew better, I think my mind always associated my stomach with my belly, so intestinal pains or discomfort sometimes translated as hunger pains for me I think. I have never been so aware of my actual stomach before and I think that's hugely important to learning how to change my lifestyle going forward. I can hopefully do a better job listening to my hunger and fullness cues because this balloon is taking me to actually listen to the right body part! I wonder if this is something anyone else has experienced as part of their bariatric weightloss journey?

I must say I did a LOT of preparation in the lead up to my procedure, I created a folder with all the info I needed for my different stages, as well as recipe ideas, info about possible health issues and troubleshooting for anything that might come up, tracker sheets for Water and medication, weight loss, exercise tips for recovery, measurements etc (like you might have in a bullet journal) and I am referring back to my folder and adding to it constantly - which is actually super fun and keeps me motivated! I got some info from my surgeon and dietician, as well as the usual orbera booklet (in digital form, so i printed only the relevant bits - why there are whole pages of slim people who have never needed to consider weight loss procedures in these things I will never know lol) and I also scoured the internets for resources from other hospitals, much of which is more aimed at surgical patients but is still really relevant for me.

I think it's a mindfulness thing, because I find that adding to my folder is great way to keep my mind busy and get out of old habits (And I have cute stickers that I put in there too). I was an emotional eater all my life but recently I am realising I am also a boredom eater - so trying to replace those boredom triggers with other things is my main goal, sometimes I find myself even though I am FULL, thinking about eating something out of boredom so I am learning how best to divert my brain with new fun things.

I think a lot of people go into the gastric balloon thinking is going to be a quick fix and obviously that isn't the case. Its a tool like any other. They say the average amount lost is around 15kg but as I am halfway there already, and I have at least a year of this, I am quietly hopeful that my goal is in reach ( I want to get below 100kg, so the total amount I want to lose is 35kg over the time I have this balloon). It's still early days for me but I feel hopeful. I can do this.

Honestly I'm not sure if my lack of vomming is because I am being so careful with how much I have at once, or because I am tracking the medication and taking that regularly as a preemptive thing, or if I am just one of the lucky ones.

Along with not being hungry (at ALL), I am not having any of my regular cravings. I tell people the fullness feels like.... say you stuffed yourself eating a huge meal then someone put a slice of chocolate mud cake in front of you and even though you KNOW it would taste good, the idea of even getting it near your mouth is the last thing you want. Or say you've had a big holiday dinner and now you need to go have a mid-afternoon nap to sleep it off. I feel like that almost all the time right now so there really is no room for temptation.

I'm happy to talk about my experience with the balloon insertion, why and how I chose the balloon (and why Orbera), how I put my folder together, or generally answer any questions. And I hope to come back and update on my progress to help keep myself accountable.

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7 hours ago, In Red said:

I'm happy to talk about my experience with the balloon insertion, why and how I chose the balloon (and why Orbera), how I put my folder together, or generally answer any questions. And I hope to come back and update on my progress to help keep myself accountable.

Sent from my SM-G965F using BariatricPal mobile app

I'm curious as to why you chose the balloon rather than a surgery that has a longer track record or is likely to cause more weight loss? Not trying to judge; maybe 100kg is a good weight for you, I can't see your stats/BMI. I know that my surgery center only does RNY and sleeve because they have the most evidence of safety and effectiveness.

I hope you get the results you want!

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I'm curious as to why you chose the balloon rather than a surgery that has a longer track record or is likely to cause more weight loss? Not trying to judge; maybe 100kg is a good weight for you, I can't see your stats/BMI. I know that my surgery center only does RNY and sleeve because they have the most evidence of safety and effectiveness.

I hope you get the results you want!

Hi there liz!

While I know everyone is different, for me at 35 I was not comfortable with a permanent surgical option. Perhaps if I still need help in 10-20 years time I would opt for surgery, but for where I am in my life currently, the balloon is most suitable.

Alongside that, the cost for surgery was well and truly out of my budget (Just doing quick conversions, around 20-22k US for surgery here in New Zealand, not including initial appointment costs or extra and hidden costs, compared to about 7500 US for the 2 balloons back to back that I have). To do something now it has to be this otherwise it would probably take me a decade to save up for surgery, and as I don't even own my own home... well. Money definitely was a huge consideration for me.

While I do hope to lose more in the long term, getting below 100kg is my goal for the year while I am using the orbera balloon and it is a milestone that I feel I will be comfortable with if I am unable to lose any further weight.

I say a year because I opted for the orbera b2b - back to back. One balloon for 6-8 months, then a second balloon immediately after which can have more liquid in it if you have reached a plateau with your weightloss at that point.

I was a very active person when I was younger so I feel that for me the balloon is a way to kick start my health journey and regain control of my health and my life - I am excited to feel physically able to get moving again, perhaps return to martial arts which I loved as a teenager. I've lost almost 20 pounds now in just over two weeks (about 9kg. constipation has been a recent problem and my usual bloating during my period, but I am glad to still have lost weight despite those things!). This means if I lose 1 pound per week over the next year I will be on track to reach my goal!

Getting below 100kg is, I feel, a realistic goal for me, and it's also one that will allow me to shop in regular clothing store sizes again. If I am able to continue my journey beyond that, I will certainly try to, but I will reevaluate after the balloon phase of my journey is complete default_smile.png&key=c7f7f3b9d6cf127cae811ee1f47ab94bd104c6b640ca298b4b4f1076c40ef73e

Thanks for your questions!

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On 6/1/2021 at 4:54 AM, In Red said:

I'm happy to talk about my experience with the balloon insertion, why and how I chose the balloon (and why Orbera), how I put my folder together, or generally answer any questions. And I hope to come back and update on my progress to help keep myself accountable.

Hi! Any update on your progress with the balloon? Considering it myself. My BMI is a little over 40. I don't want to rush right toward a more permanent surgery. I've read the balloon is recommended for people with BMI's 30-40. Did you have any issues getting approved for it if your BMI is over 40?

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Hi! Any update on your progress with the balloon? Considering it myself. My BMI is a little over 40. I don't want to rush right toward a more permanent surgery. I've read the balloon is recommended for people with BMI's 30-40. Did you have any issues getting approved for it if your BMI is over 40?


Hi gn,

Yes my BMI was 47.5 when I got the balloon. I was concerned for that reason too having read that 30-40 range. but my surgeon often inserts them for higher BMI's. There has been recent research too regarding using gastric balloons such as orbera as a pre-treatment for those who are not yet at a safe weight for surgery, so ultimately this did not concern me or my doctor as he has seen very good results for the 40-60 BMI range in his patients over the last 5 years - in my country it is approved for use if your BMI is above 27, I can't say I know how the FDA stuff works so I imagine that is a discussion to have on a case by case basis and some centres may have a policy otherwise.

I am down a little over 9kg (a bit over 20 pounds) since my procedure. I am averaging a pound a day at the moment though I expect that will taper off as I am able to eat more. My BMI has already dropped by 3 points which is pretty exciting.



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@In Red appreciate the feedback! Glad to hear they do the balloon for higher BMI's. Congrats on your progress thus far! Sounds like it was a great choice for you.

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