I’ve had several women write and ask my thoughts on the gastric band (which has been brought to my attention is different to the gastric sleeve). For those unfamiliar with the surgical procedure, it involves a silicone device that is positioned around the top portion of the stomach in order to treat obesity. By restricting the digestive ability and flow of food through the stomach, the idea, in theory is to slow down food consumption to assist in weight loss. Sounds full on huh? The gastric sleeve, I’ve been made aware, is a procedure that involves removal of a large portion of the stomach which permanently reduces its size. I’m relatively new to the later, but here are my thoughts around the concept.
I recently read that around 50% of those who have a gastric band fitted and lose weight, will regain it. Hmmm. It leaves me wondering how this is actually any different (besides requiring invasive and sometimes risky surgery – because all surgery comes with risk I must add) to a restrictive diet? As we’ve come to learn, restrictive diets that involve calorie counting, limited food and sometimes starvation and don’t work long term, for most. But why is that? We eat or overeat for two main reasons as far as I can understand. A force bigger than us drives us to do so (aka our hormones) or we eat to fill a void, be it boredom, emotional needs, stress and so on. So very quickly, you’ll see, you don’t need to be a NASA scientist to understand why the gastric band can never actually treat your PCOS or hormone imbalance because in no way can it set about re-balancing your hormones. Not ever. And of course you can exercise and get moving like a toddler on red cordial, but if your hormones are out of kilter, exercise isn’t going to change that either.
In both my e-courses, I tackle these very issues. In Debunking PCOS we dive deep into how to re-balance your hormones, PCOS or otherwise and my 5 easy steps to overcome hormone imbalance including weight gain. One of those steps is learning to manage your stress – easier said than done. Debunking Stress was a direct answer from the gaps I was left with after making Debunking PCOS and me telling you, that the main way to sort out those hormones was to better manage your stress. All good and well (not Well & Good – haha!) in theory. You see, every kilogram gained from stress (over 4kg) switches over the way your body (and hormones) begin to work – and they will sadly start to work against you and it’s actually a matter or retraining the brain in some instances on how to regulate hormones correctly once again.
You see stress triggers cortisol and adrenaline to be released (this is a normal body function in a time of danger – to shut down your internal systems and pump blood to your arms and legs so you can run faster than Forrest Gump (or longer) to escape danger). This process interferes with the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Bearing in mind, we are designed to stress in times of danger, just not at the rate we are currently finding ourselves banging our heads against the wall from pressure. The modern day stress epidemic is very real and leaves us constantly trickling cortisol from our adrenals instead of it being a result of the fight or flight response. We are, living at a time where stress is a bad habit. One that’s freaking hard to break out of, but equally something we must get a grip on.
Lack of serotonin can cause food cravings – especially refined carbohydrate, as refined carbs make tryptophan (precursor to serotonin) more available for the body to utilise. At the same time, cortisol and adrenaline instigate the release of more insulin. So eating sweets for example, leads to increased insulin, starting the cycle all over again. High levels of insulin cause the body to dump magnesium into the urine. Magnesium is needed to produce serotonin. This isn’t just a viscous cycle – it’s many micro cycles leading to one big mess!
So you see, no restrictive diets or surgeries or otherwise can actually balance your hormones if your hormones are telling you otherwise. For some, the gastric bad may be enough to really shake things up, but relying on this or even other medications like metformin can never solve the crux of the issue.
Coming back to understanding your body deeper allows you to make informed decisions. Only you should really, know what you innately believe to be the right solution for your own self – when we come from a place of empowerment properly understanding your body, you can easily go on to make sound decisions.
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