Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Forum vs Blogs?

Okay...I'm going to start this blog today with this confession...I am obsessed with all things lapband.  It is all I can think about these days.  I'm researching like crazy.  I'm reading blogs and forums and signed up to get my surgeon's newsletter.  I've already read one basic lapband book and now have ordered a book recommended by my doctor to attack the psychological issues that come with overeating.  The very wise Amy addressed this in her blog not too long ago about whether or not the obsession is healthy.  At the time, I believe I commented that for me, it is healthy but now I'm not so sure.  I keep going back and forth on this and now that leads me to why.

I frequently stop by and read through the pre-op, post-op and general discussion boards there.  I have the hope that if I see what everyone is going through in their process that I won't be too surprised when these things happen to me (i.e. slim to no weight loss during bandster hell).  I'm sure I'll still be surprised as hell when I have my first PB or worried that I did something to mess up my band the first time I work out but I'm confident that I am going to be as prepared as one can possibly be when (not if) my surgery date finally arrives. 

Here is my issue, it seems to me that the people I read on the forums have a lot more issues than those who write the blogs I read.  My husband and I have been trying to figure this out and we have a few theories. The first is that people who are having issues are more likely to post in the forum than those who aren't.  People who are doing great with the band don't feel the need to post about it in a forum because they're busy living their new, wonderful, thinner lives!  The second theory is that perhaps people who blog are somehow held more accountable for their progress so they are less likely to fall off the wagon too badly.  They'll keep up with their fills, etc. because they don't want to pubicly admit that they are failing.  I know being banded isn't all sunshine and roses and I see the struggle in the blogs I read but it seems that there is a light for the people who blog.  They know they'll overcome whatever obstacle they are met with and be successful while the posters on the forum seem to have an air of hoplessness about them. 

I find lots of reasons to rationalize why this poster or that poster isn't doing well with the band (and believe me, I realize how ridiculous it is for me to pass judgement seeing as I don't even have a band yet, but I digress).  It seems the most common thing I see is, "I've had 2 fills and it's been two years and I've only lost 10 lbs!"  Well, my question to them would be, "Do you really think 2 fills was enough?"  Then I see, "I was too ashamed to go back to my doctor."  While I can sympathize, it seems like after going through surgery and all that, you would want to be holding the doctor just as accountable as yourself for your progress and whether or not you're reaching good restriction.  Another one: "I can't keep any food down so all I eat is ice cream and candy."  Ummm...ok...seriously?  I mean...I guess for me, it's that old saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."  After months of not losing weight doing what you're doing, wouldn't you try something different?

I know this post is coming off as judgemental but I guess I just really want to understand.  Most of the blogs I've read (and I admit I haven't read through all the ones I want to yet...darn work gets in the way) are full of positive thinking and successful weight loss stories...even if they haven't reached goal weight yet.  But the people on the forums seem to either just be starting out like me so they're just really excited or have been banded for quite some time and just aren't losing weight.  It's seriously driving me crazy because I go back and forth between the positive light that are the bloggers and the negativity that seems to haunt the boards.  I want to be one of you delightfully witty, successful bloggers but I worry that I am going to be posting on the forum 3 years from now,15 lbs lighter, wondering where everything went so wrong!

So my question to you, my faithful followers of the blogosphere, is which is a more accurate representation of those with a band?  Do more people fail than succeed?  Why do you think there is such a discrepency between the struggles those anonymous people on the forum face vs the successes of those in blogville?


Stephanie said...

You bring up some really good posts. When I first started this journey and began doing research, I was addictedto and it was through reading a lot of those posts (some very old) that I found the world of Lap Band bloggers. I still post on the Lap band Talk board occassionally, not to whine, but to just chime in on things people ask.

if I want to whine, I'll do that in my blog (today was proof positive!) because I know that my readers understand and can relate to me, while providing me positive advice. In the forums, there can be an assload of negativity as it is all anonympus. Blogs can be too, to an extent, but when we are openening our hearts and minds to one another, the anonymity begins to slip away and friendships are forged, which strengthens the support network.

I honestly don't know if I would have made it this far without all the advice, comments, suggestions and words of wisdom from my fellow bloggers.

amandakiska said...

There was a 12 year study performed by the group of physicians that developed the Lap Band. Here is a link to the data:
It looks like according to their study that the average person lost 43.7 KG (96.14 lbs.). In addition, the average participant continued losing each year for the duration of the study. They also break their stats down by participants who were obese and super obese. It is very interesting (and hopeful) information.

Bonnie said...

I think you already alluded to the answer - the band is only going to help you as much as you let it. I mean, who in the hell gets a band and then doesn't get the fill? Who expects that eating ice cream and candy is the way to go? I understand where you are coming from - I am obsessed with getting information about the band and hearing everyone's stories. However, I have decided that I am only going to focus on the positive stories and by doing that, I will turn into a positive story. I haven't looked at very much because I came across more negative than positive. I think that the community here is so much more supportive and positive - I love it! You won't be posting 3 years and with only a 15 pound weight loss because after a few months if you haven't lost more weight, we're going to say what the heck, girl? Pull it together! In a nice way, of course. We are so close timing wise on this journey. I'm here for you. We will be successful together.

Miss Tori said...

I think that in any forum, not just LBT, people tend to hide behind their anonymity, whereas on a blog, we tend to reveal our true selves.

So in a forum, you are going to see people say rude things, be more direct (without being nice), and sometimes, just plain mean.

When you have followers of a blog, the people who are following care about you. They are building up a rapport with you. Their interaction with you is going to be more like a friend talking with a friend. In a word, blogs tend to be more friendly.

As far as accountability, when you have that close relationship with your followers (or even if you have no followers), a blog is your personal record, where you record your feelings, thoughts, actions, non-actions, etc. If you can't be 100% open and honest on your blog regarding your progress with the band, or anything else you are doing, why even bother with having a blog.

What I think you will notice is that if someone has a blog and doesn't post for a long time, they have either fallen off the band wagon, or are truly struggling and are shy about asking for help (unless of course they are away on vacation).

I am finding that in both the band community and the IF (infertility) community of bloggers, we become so close to each other, that whether a person verbalizes her struggles or not, the followers will know. And they will jump in with an encouraging word.

Carmen said...

I was totally you not that long ago. I'm curently unemployed, so I would spend ALL DAY on those darn forums. My friend, who had the bypass, warned me to not get too involved in other people's stories, because it'll just drive me crazy LOL The thing I found about the forums, is that there are a lot of DUMB people there. I won't give examples because I'm sure you already know LOL So lately I have been on there much less, only to check for things or people that I already responded to etc. Blogs to me are much more helpful!

Linda said...

I used to go on LBT a lot pre-surgery, but not so much now. It's a good forum, but like any there are preachy people and really dumb people - I can't imagine how many posts I've read about "why am hungry after surgery?". I think a lot of people don't get much education fro their Dr.'s so they go there.

THE DASH! said...

Miss Tori hit the nail on the head - several times. I love my blog and I love reading blogs. It's a rare thing when someone says anything negative (that said: I've NEVER EVER had a horrible thing said to me.. not once...) and I know I avoided the forums because to me, they were negative etc. I did do a lot of research on the band but it was all positive influences. I knew the risks etc but the gains so outweighed anything else I felt I was on a winner.

And I was. 70 plus pounds down later - I love my band and even if I was a little obsessed early on (with the band and my blog) things ease off over time and now things feel more normal. :)

Kristen said...

I'm not a huge fan of that forum either.. I do go on there once in a while. But there so many different points of views and was hard to wrap my head around the thoughts of what would be "my story" ..after reading so many different things..

so I stick to my circle of blogs that I read.. :)

I think of fourms as a place to vent or show off how great something is.. one or the other.. kinda like when you read travel/hotel reviews.. more people take the time to write something that's negative then the positive..unless it's outstanding..

Sorry to ramble.. but I've been thinking about this a lot too.. great post!

Band Groupie said...

After my initial 'research 24/7 phase' on LBT I mostly stuck to the blog area and wrote my blog and tried to support others. I do believe that the forum is mainly not frequented by those doing well...what thread would you start besides...this is great, I'm losing weight finally...and how often can you say that? I was also amazed by how many uneducated people there me, getting a band was the same as someone getting a new appendage...I needed to know everything possible on how to make it work the best to support me. The blog has made me more accountable and has definitely been a support system for me. We ALL were afraid that we would be the one person this wouldn't work for, but the more you know, the less chance there is that that will happen.

You're going to do great!

carla said...

I agree with pretty much everyone above. I still go on LBT but not as frequently as I did originally. I think its great to go there before surgery as long as you can take everything with a grain of salt. I read about the complications, the slow losers etc and as long as I was aware that everyone is different and that some complications do arise I felt better educated. I think that having a blog and reading the blogs is a more positive experience and holds us more accountable. I know that when I have had a bad eating day I can go on here and vent and no one will be judgemental or put me down. I also know that I will hear that people have had really good days and that motivates me to do better tomorrow

LDswims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LDswims said...

Sorry for deleting the comment - it was just too long and basically said what everyone else already said...

Amy W. said...

Oooh, everyone said it so good. I use to go to LBT like 9 times a day. Now I maybe go once a month. The deal-eo is...exactly what you said.

I dont ever post my success on LBT. Well, I did the 100 pound loss thread, but I feel like I am bragging and don't want people to think I am full of myself. I can brag on my blog bc people know me well enough to know that I also brag on my failures.

I have said it so many times that I feel I have lost more than the average bear...bc of my blog! A blog is a relationship with temporary strangers. They dont stay strangers for long and you bc this odd sort of that knows so much about you but may have never heard your voice.

One of the trends I see as well is those who have gained lots of weight back have not seen their doctors in forever! I just dont get it.

Great post :)

BanderificBeauty said...

What is the name of the book that deals with psychological issues? I dont know if I will lose this blog in the mix but Id really like to know. I need all the help I can get lol and of course I cant resist a new book ;)

MandaPanda said...

It's called the Beck Diet Solution - Train your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith Beck. There's also a workbook you can buy. You can get both on amazon for around $22

Catherine55 said...

I still go on LBT now and then because I like to reach out to the newbies to tell them to take before pics & their measurements. I regret not having more before pics (since I used to crop and delete LIBERALLY) and wish someone would have told me to do this.

Having my own blog and getting to know other bandster bloggers (both on-line and in person) has been a huge source of support and encouragement for me. There is a limit to how much I can talk band & weight loss with my non-bandster friends. That's especially true now that I'm close to goal and getting to the point where I may be thinner than some friends soon.

It seems to me that people who blog stay accountable, are open to getting advice from others, and are really engaged in the process. I don't think you have to blog to be like that, but it definitely helped me.

BTW, I've blogged about some negatives (e.g. gaining 5 lbs during Bandster Hell. . plateauing & bouncing around on the scale), but this experience has really been overwhelmingly positive.