Gastric band tips to succeed
If you want to make the most of your gastric band, follow our top thirteen gastric band weight loss tips. These tips will help you achieve the changes needed to maximise your weight loss results.
13 band success rules for weight loss results
1. Eat three small meals a day: aim for three small meals each day, but if you aren’t hungry, then don’t eat. Even if this means leaving food on your plate, every calorie you have that isn’t required, will help you meet your weight loss goal. Don’t starve yourself and eat a large meal in the evening. This places a big strain on the band and can lead to stretching of the oesophagus (gullet) and area around your band, increasing the risk of band slippage.
2. Use a small plate: it can be difficult to say no to that last bit of food that is sat on your plate. Especially when you know how tasty it is. But the problem is you’ve put too much food on your plate in the first place – yours eyes were bigger than your belly. Well our cheat is to use a small plate. This way you can’t put as much on as you would. Don’t pile the plate though!
3. Put your knife and fork down: putting your knife and fork down between bites, and thinking of chewing your food at least twenty times will make you feel fuller before you have eaten all your food. It is because you’re giving your body time to send signals to your brain to acknowledge you are full.
4. Make eating a deliberate activity, not a time filler: when you’re at home, make it a rule to only eat your meals at the table. If you sit in front of the TV or somewhere else away from the table, you may indulge in ‘instinctive’ or ‘subconscious’ eating. This is when you are so distracted by a DVD or other entertainment, you are not fully aware of what it is that you are eating or how much you have eaten. When you have a gastric band, eating needs to be a deliberate, planned and conscious activity. In this way you will be acutely aware of calories the whole time and you will stop when no longer hungry. If you are distracted by the TV or DVD, you will almost certainly eat more than you intended and that always means lots of unwanted calories.
5. Focus on nutritious foods: with the band in place, you should only be able to eat small amounts of food. This makes it vital that your food should be as healthy as possible to give you all the nutrients you need. Foods that are high in protein (e.g. lean meats, fish, eggs, milk, lentils, beans etc) and foods high in complex carbohydrates (vegetables, cereals etc) are best. Don’t fill your new stomach with ‘junk’ food full of fat and sugar that lacks vitamins and other important nutrients. Be careful with fruits, some of which may contain quite a lot of sugar. You may eat apples and oranges, but try to avoid orange juice and apple juice.
Food such as asparagus, green beans and pineapple that contain many fibres can block the stomach. That’s because you can’t chew this food well enough to break it up into small pieces and your saliva can’t break it down. Highly fibrous food should therefore be avoided. If you would like to eat asparagus or other fibrous foods once in a while, then you must be sure to cook them well, cut them into very small pieces first and then chew thoroughly.
6. Avoid calorie-rich drinks and foods: liquids will go straight through the band and can be a major source of unwanted calories, so be careful to avoid sugary drinks. Remember too that very soft foods such as ice-cream and chocolate are quickly turned into liquids and these will also pass very easily through the band. When you take liquid or semi-liquid foods which have lots of calories, you can soon find yourself actually putting on weight even though your band is adjusted perfectly.
7. Don’t snack between meals: one of the most common causes of failure with the band is that the individual fails to get snacking under control. It’s terribly easy to take on board a large number of calories with just a few biscuits and the odd bag of crisps or nuts. Two digestive biscuits with your coffee or tea and you have added 150 cals to your daily intake. If you do this every day you will put on about 1 – 1½lbs of fat weight every month.
If you are getting hungry between meals it could be that your band needs adjusting and you may need more fluid added. In some cases snacking occurs not because of hunger, but from habit – and this is more difficult to get under control. The best way to become aware of this is to keep a careful daily record of everything you eat and drink. You may have some surprises. Pay close attention to this rule and don’t sabotage your band by snacking.
8. Eat Slowly: rapid eating can be a difficult habit to break but if you eat too quickly you can have eaten too much before you realise. It can cause food to ‘back up’ causing indigestion and regurgitation and does not give the brain time to register the feeling of fullness. It can also put pressure on the area around the band, potentially causing complications such as pouch dilation and in rare cases band slippage.
It is recommended that you chew each mouthful of food thoroughly then leave a further 30 seconds after swallowing before taking your next mouthful. This ensures that each mouthful has time to be digested. To help you to slow your down your eating, please use your provided timer and follow the instruction sheet.
9. Do exercise: this is absolutely essential to successful weight loss. If you can increase your daily physical activity you will not only accelerate your weight loss, you will improve your general health and fitness as well.
10. Keep a diary: recording what you eat, when you eat and your physical activity patterns is a very powerful aid to weight loss. It enables you to identify eating patterns and consumption of certain foods – ice cream, chocolate, cheese, biscuits etc – that may not be conducive to weight loss. Sometimes we eat when we are not even aware of it. By getting into the habit of writing everything down you get a true picture of what is going on and the opportunity for self-deception is much less.
11. Take Vitamins And Minerals Daily: due to eating much smaller amount, you may not be able to take in sufficient quantities of certain vitamins and minerals so a supplement is recommend in the long term. Until you are established on solid foods, the multivitamin/mineral supplement you take should be chewable, liquid or crushable. After this time you can go on to a tablet form.
12. Practice Environmental Control:everywhere you look nowadays, there are opportunities to eat. We are surrounded by food which is tasty, inexpensive and available 24 hours a day. Because we cannot control this external environment, we are always at risk of being tempted to eat or drink something which may sabotage our weight loss efforts. Remember – snacking is the biggest threat to successful weight loss with the lap band. By making some simple changes you can create an environment which will support your long-term lifestyle changes. The underlying principle is simple: If it’s there you’ll eat it – if it’s not, you can’t. So:
- Make a ‘banned’ list of your favourite, tempting foods, fattening foods (you know what they are!)
- Look through the cupboards, fridge and freezer at home and bin any of the foods on the banned list
- Don’t buy any of these items. If your partner wants to eat this sort of food, then try to agree that he/she should purchase these separately and keep them away from you – preferably in sealed boxes. It’s important that you enlist his/her support in this
- Only keep foods in the home which are included in the nutritional guidelines given earlier
- Don’t forget the working environment – you can’t control all of it, but you can certainly control what’s in your immediate vicinity. Look in your desk and bin any secret stores of biscuits, snacks and sweets
13. Stay in touch: it is important to understand that you have an implanted device which requires lifelong follow-up. That means that even if you are well and have achieved your weight loss goal, you must stay in touch with us and let us know from time to time how you are getting along. Plus we do love to hear from our patie