Considering Lap Band
Weight Loss Surgery?

lap band stomach

Lap band weight loss surgery could be an answer to your portion control problems.

Could, however, is the operative word here. As with any type of bariatric surgery, gastric banding is simply a tool to help you achieve weight loss...'s no magic bullet.

Lap band weight loss surgery is a "Restrictive" type of bariatric surgery in which an inflatable band is placed around your stomach in order to limit how much you can eat. The band is adjustable and can be made tighter or looser in order to fine tune how much you're able to chow at one time.

Adjustments involve follow up care from your doctor, so before you choose a surgeon or go running off to Mexico for weight loss surgery, make sure you understand how often you'll be seen after surgery for adjustments. Your success depends to a large degree on those adjustments.

The surgery creates an area above the band that is considered your new stomach, or "pouch." The pouch will hold 1/2 - 1 cup of food at at time.

Visit my lap-band surgery site: Your Personal Lap Band Guide, devoted to all the nitty gritty details of gastric banding surgery.

How will you know how much to eat? 1/2 cup? 3/4 cup? 1 cup?

It's hard to say exactly. However, the band should create a feeling of pressure that will tell you when you've had enough to eat. (I like to call this feeling your Surgically Implanted Food Police!) If you ignore the signal, you could wind up overeating and, yes, vomiting.


Q: So if I'm hearing from the Surgically Implanted Food Police, and the punishment for not listening to them is puking, how can I fail?

A: Here's how. You could eat small amounts that don't bother the Food Police, but you could eat them so often that you don't lose an ounce! (Or, over time, regain your lost weight.) Also...

You could slip food by the Food Police by adding liquid to your meals. Food that gets past the pouch keeps you from feeling full! (More on this in a minute.)

How do you stay full on only 1/2 - 1 cup of food? Adhering to 3 basic nutrition principles:

  1. Eat your protein first.
  2. Separate solids from liquids.
  3. Eat small frequent meals.

Lap Band Weight Loss Surgery: Eat Your Protein First

Protein is the most satiating nutrient. That is, it fills you up.

That's why every meal you eat after surgery should be centered around protein: (e.g.: chicken, turkey, fish, lean meat, cottage cheese, lowfat cheese, eggs, egg whites, yogurt, beans, tofu, protein powder).

Or, as I instruct my patients...

...pick your protein food first. Then, add a small portion of vegetables, fruit, or starch.

For example, an egg white omelet rolled in a corn tortilla is a nice small, balanced meal.

A protein shake made with protein powder and fruit is also a good choice.

Lap Band Weight Loss Surgery: Separate Solids from Liquids

This means don't eat and drink at the same time. This is a hard one to get used to for many of my patients.

Think of the consistency of your food when you mix solid and liquids together. Kinda mushy and liquidy, right?

As I hinted at before, that consistency can slip right past the band, leaving your new "pouch" empty pretty quickly. The way to stay feeling full as long as possible is to hold food above the band as long as possible.

So avoid eating and drinking at the same time. Think of liquids and solids together as part of your old life.

As a general rule of thumb, you should try to avoid liquids 15 minutes before meals and 30 minutes after meals.

Lap Band Weight Loss Surgery: Eat Small Frequent Meals

After lap band surgery you'll need to get used to eating small, balanced (protein containing) meals every 3-4 hours.

I suggest having 5-6 small meals per day. Each meal should include 2 oz. protein (or the equivalent) plus 1 serving of fruit, vegetable or starch (starch only twice per day though). A single serving of fat can also be included with most meals.

(See MY lap band food pyramid, the one that I developed and use with my patients to plan meals.) You'll need Adobe to open it.

In fact, you can start eating like a lap band patient right NOW, in anticipation of surgery. That way it won't feel so foreign.

You can even contact me for help with meal planning!

No more starving yourself all day and having one large meal in the evening. Lap band makes that behavior no longer an option. Don't even allow yourself to get overly hungry and subsequently eat a large portion. You risk stretching your pouch by doing this and/or vomiting from overeating.

A stretched pouch means it takes more food (and therefore calories) to fill you up. It can also cause band slippage, which requires another surgery to fix.

Lap Band Weight Loss Surgery: Your entire style of eating will change

No more wolfing down meals mindlessly. Close attention to chewing thoroughly and eating slowly are essential.

Read more about how to eat after lap band weight loss surgery.

Waiting for surgery? Read more about the pre-bariatric surgery diet.

More weight loss surgery.

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