So, as I was thinking over my latest fill (#2 for anyone counting) I started to think of how a fill reminded me of getting my braces tightened as a child. Upon further consideration, I found that there were a lot more similarities to be found in my metaphor. First, the actual band is like braces where both their goals are to reshape some area using restriction and compression of a specified area. Unlike braces though, gastric bands are permanent so there is no getting it removed in time for summer camp. Both braces and bands have to be supervised by a professional with semi-regular visits for calibrating the bands (this being the fill). When filled, or tightened for braces, both create pain and swelling that makes you have to stick to the liquids and solids for a bit of time.
Speaking of the swelling and pain, I was excited to have it this time around. This may make me a bit of a masochist, but the pain felt good and reminded me I was on track with my goals. It also helped me to get over the small plateau of 263 that I had been stuck at for seemingly forever. The first fill I had did nothing (seriously, for a while I was concerned that instead of a fill they had simply taken everything out of the band as there was no pain and NO restriction). The pain went away and I have a little less restriction than I would like, but it is good to know that, like pain signaling my teeth moving, I was on the right track with my weight.
Back to the bigger metaphor though as I still have more ways braces and bands are alike. Some people are so excited to get braces while others dread the day – this is not dependent on how screwed up their teeth are or how heavy they weigh. When confronted with braces, some choose to show it off with fancy colored rubber-bands so that everyone can see while others (including my teenage self) get boring grey every time. This part reminds me of how differently people think when it comes to telling friends and family members. Lastly, bands and braces are similar in the way people need or don’t need them. Some people are born with beautiful straight teeth that don’t need any help from orthodontia while others aren’t so lucky. This is like weight gains where those that do need help most often are the ones that were born this way. It reminds me that the band is a fantastic tool that helps correct naturally occurring problems, much like crooked or misshaped teeth, and that we should rejoice in the ability to use it.
There is only one stark difference with my braces/band metaphor that I do see (and it is a big one). While braces makes people smile less, from what I have learned so far the band makes people smile more. That’s a really good thing.