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Gastric band at Christmas

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Christmas Day is approaching and so that our gastric band patients can enjoy their Christmas Day meal, here are a few observations:

  • With a well adjusted band you should be able to eat small portions of most foods but you will need to chew well. The speed at which you eat, the size of the mouthful and how well you chew it all affect the performance of your gastric band. 

  • Once you have had a gastric band you cannot live as though you do not have one.  The purpose of the band is to encourage you to slow down your eating and to eat small quantities. You should eat only until you are no longer hungry, not to the point where you are completely full. You can only recognise the difference if you eat slowly.  Remember too that the gastric band is not designed to prevent you eating high calorie foods such as chocolate, mince pies and Christmas pudding or drinking lots of alcohol. If you indulge, be very careful

  • Don’t let others bully you into eating or, alternatively, don’t use someone saying “Go on, have another helping, it won’t hurt” as an excuse to keep shovelling it in. You are an adult! It’s your body! You can determine what and how much you want to eat.  Saying “Thanks but no thanks - I’ve had enough” is very empowering

  • If you are surrounded by “big eaters” and you haven’t told anyone you have a gastric band, it could be tricky. Now is probably not the best time to bring the subject up, so you may need to invent a stomach bug to account for your small appetite. It’s not ideal and I really do think honesty is the best policy with any weight loss procedure but if you have kept it secret, you obviously had your reasons

  • When food has been at the centre of your life, in Christmas’s past, Christmas Day will have been about consuming from dawn ‘til dusk.  You need to ring the changes this year. Start by telling people you don’t want chocolates or food as presents. You’ll probably still receive some but fewer than you would have done. Do also plan to take a Christmas walk or an early morning jog or bike ride – yes it is possible to get 30 minutes in even if you are hosting 20 for lunch. Exercising on Christmas Day brings its own feel good factor

  • Finally, don’t hit the booze too early. A gastric band provides no restriction on alcohol intake. I’ve no need to remind you that alcohol has a huge number of calories and our resolve weakens with each glass. There’s no denying it requires willpower to limit yourself if everyone around you is glugging it back. Let them be the ones to suffer


Remember that on Christmas Day there will be many people wishing they had taken the plunge and had a gastric band in 2011. You are one of the lucky ones. I wish you, and all our other patients, a very Happy Christmas.

Dr David Ashton
21st December 2011


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*Weight loss surgery results and benefits vary and are different for each individual. As such, Healthier Weight cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals.