Today I am interviewing Gloria Samuels from Banded Living. Gloria and Sandi Henderson are the web mistresses of BandedLiving.com, a comprehensive web site for people exploring Lap Band surgery or living life as a Lap Band post-op. They are also the authors of Is Lap Band Surgery for Me?. Join me as I learn more about this dynamic woman and her vision for Banded Living.
[Tom]: Welcome, Gloria. I am happy that you are joining me today to talk about your Banded Living web site. Tell us a little about how you came to be an author, web mistress and blogger for the Lapband community?
[Gloria]: Tom, my story is like that of so many others. I struggled with obesity since childhood. I’ve been yoyo dieting as long as I can remember, down 40 lbs, up 50 lbs – you know the rest. Weight loss surgery changed my life and I felt responsible to share my experiences with others, to let them know that there is hope. I toyed with the idea of writing a book in “my spare time.” I met Sandi Henderson when I first started exploring lap band surgery; Sandi was my mentor. We decided that we wanted to start a pair of retrospective blogs, sharing our stories and experiences. We realized that people were relating to our stories and using the blog comments as message boards, so we started www.bandedliving.com. Our mission is to educate, inspire, and support. At the same time we also started working on the book. Publishing the book has been an amazing experience.
[Tom]: Gloria, I see that the page banner for Banded Living reads “Living free from the Burdens of Obesity”. Can you give my readers some insight on how you chose those words and what they mean to the members of the Lap Band community?
[Gloria]: As you can imagine there is a lot of emotion behind those words for both Sandi and I. We both battled obesity most of our lives. Living Free for me was about finally having a life where I am not consumed about my feelings about being overweight. I’m finally living in my body and have found that I have so much more to share without the burdens of obesity literally weighing me down. If you would ask Sandi, she would say for her living free from the burdens of obesity is about actually reclaiming her life, being able to walk and do everyday activities that the rest of the world takes for granted. Living Free from the burdens of obesity is a very individual thing; at the same time it’s what our members at Banded Living strive for everyday.,
[Tom]: Banded Living is a nice mix of support forums, blogs and resources for the Lap Band community. I personally like weight loss surgery web sites with this format. It gives me a one-stop-shop for support and education. What do you want the typical person to take away from their visit to Banded Living?
[Gloria]: Thank you Tom. This was our intent. Our goal is to provide practical, available information, inspiration, and support, by patients for patients regardless of who makes your band, who did your surgery, or where you are on your journey. It is our hope that people will find what they need to help them on their journey in an honest, safe, and positive environment.
[Tom]: I see that you have developed a nice community in the Banded Living forums. I know that forum membership is free and gives us bandsters access to these great message boards. I like the separation of forums for pre-op and post-op. You really have some interesting threads going on right now. Can you give us a taste of what the hottest topics are right now in the forums?
[Gloria]: Fills, recipes, pre-op/post-op support, success stories and scale and non-scale victories (NSV’s) are always hot topics. You can always check out the latest topics by checking our home page in the “What’s Happening on Our Forums?” section. Right now a few of those topics are:
- · Who have you told?
- · Surgery on 4/21
- · Good Food Choices
- · I got my rings on!
- · Re-banded
[Tom]: I find your success story and Sandi’s success story to be very motivating. It’s nice to see the people behind Banded Living putting themselves out there and being a role model for other bandsters. The community member success stories are as equally compelling. I have read them all and thank each one of the storytellers for their stories that come from their hearts. Can you share why you think weight loss surgery patients should tell their personal stories?
[Gloria]: Deciding whether or not to tell, or when you are ready to tell is a very personal decision. I strongly believe that there is no wrong or right answer. I was very much in the closet for years, afraid that I would fail again. I needed to finally come t terms that this time was for real before going public. Sandi on the other hand became involved in support groups immediately and mentoring patients provided motivation for her as well as inspiration for others. I would definitely encourage other wls patients to share their stories, when they are ready. It certainly helped me to see and learn from other successful patients. It gave me hope, help and inspiration. Now sharing my story is one of the tools I use to maintain my weight loss.
[Tom]: Let’s talk about your book, Is Lap Band Surgery for Me?. I commend Sandi and you for writing this book. It is always nice to see people who have lived the weight loss surgery experience sharing their knowledge with others. Can you give my readers the Readers Digest version of what they will find in the book?
[Gloria]: Our book is a labor of love. When Sandi and I first started researching surgery, it was very confusing. This book is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide that will help you de-mystify the process to answer the question: “Is lap band surgery for me?” We will take you through a journey of self-discovery so that you can answer that question for yourself. If you choose to proceed, you will know how the lap band works and what it takes to achieve success with lap band surgery; you will know what to expect and what you need to do. And if you choose not to have lap band surgery, you will know why.
[Tom]: I have focused my post-op life on the pursuit of happiness after weight loss surgery. For me, knowing that a proper diet, staying physically fit, and concentrating on my health and wellness helps me achieve happiness. What new avenues have opened to you in your post-op life and how have you changed the focus on how you are living life after Lapband surgery?
[Gloria]: My life has changed on so many levels. I now live in my body instead of despite my body. My physical world has opened up to me. Now instead of being a spectator, I participate, whether it’s a run on the beach, meeting friends for a Pilates class or learning about exercise and nutrition. These are all new passions of mine that would not have been possible before. I believe that things happen for a reason. I’ve taken a sabbatical from a long, successful career as a corporate technology executive. I struggled with obesity for the first 40+ years of my life. Now I get to share what I’ve learned with others and pay it forward and in doing so I’ve written a book, launched 3 websites, met some of the most amazing, inspiring people, and have had the opportunity to go to Washington DC to advocate for prevention and treatment of obesity. My world is full of possibilities and new doors that have opened.
[Tom]: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. I hope that my readers join you over at Banded Living. It is a valuable resource for Lap Band patients and those considering the surgery. What parting thoughts do you want to leave us with today?
[Gloria]: Tom, we want to thank you for also paying it forward. Your story is so inspiring. We want all of your followers to know that hope is out there. If we can do it so can you!
Helpful Banded Living Links:
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We really appreciate the opportunity to share our stories and do this interview. We’re looking forward to “seeing” your readers at bandedliving.com.