10 diet tips for gastric band surgery patients
When you have a gastric band, the surgery is only the start of your journey.
You will need to make many lifestyle changes to accommodate your band and maximise its effectiveness so you can achieve the best long-term results possible. The way you eat, drink and control portion sizes will all change and make way for a new, controlled and healthier diet.
Here are our top 10 diet tips for gastric band success:
1. Eat slowly
Remember that gastric band surgery is a weight loss tool rather than a solution, with that in mind, you need to work with your band to get the most out of it. If you are used to eating fast, then you will have to adjust your eating habits and take your time. After gastric banding, it is totally normal for meals to take around 20 minutes. Remember not to spend any longer than this, though!
2. Be sure to eat and drink separately
Avoid taking a mouthful of a drink directly after a mouthful of food. This can do one of two things:
- Cause the mouthful of food to lodge above the band, causing discomfort.
- Loosen/soften the food too much and cause it to pass through the band more quickly. This will mean that the nerves in the stomach wall are not stimulated as much, meaning you won't feel satisfied for as long.
If you really feel that you need a sip of a drink during a meal, just make sure you wait at least 40 seconds after swallowing a mouthful of food to allow it to pass through the band.
3. Say no to carbonated drinks
Fizzy drinks after gastric band surgery can cause bloating and it can be difficult to burp and dispel the cause. In addition, if they are not diet/sugar-free varieties, they can slow down your weight loss journey. As part of your bariatric surgery diet, you should also do your best to avoid high calorie drinks such as milkshakes as these types of beverages contain empty calories and have little nutritional value. Think about alternatives such as drinking plenty of water as well as considering low fat milk and decaffeinated coffee and tea.
4. Stop when you feel satisfied
Your gastric band will reduce your appetite so once you've reached your optimum band adjustment you should feel satisfied with a smaller portion. It is important that once you are satisfied you don't continue to eat. Think satisfied not full!
5. Stick to three meals a day
After your gastric band surgery, it is really important to get into a routine and to establish regular meal patterns - breakfast, lunch and an evening meal. Try to stick to three meals a day to curb snacking habits which you may have had pre-surgery. Snacking works against the band and can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake - in turn, slowing down your weight loss progress which may lead to weight gain.
Remember after your gastric band surgery you will have access to dietetic support from our team of highly experienced dietitians.
6. Remember your vitamins
Listen to your dietitian! It is absolutely essential that you take a lifelong daily multivitamin and mineral supplement after your gastric band surgery to help prevent any nutritional deficiencies. Your specialist dietician will advise you on exactly what supplements you will need to take.
7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Whilst you are drinking, take small sips of water rather than large mouthfuls to avoid any discomfort whilst your body gets used to the changes in eating and drinking following your gastric band surgery. Drinking enough helps to keep the muscles in your food pipe active, which means it is much less likely that you will feel uncomfortable when eating.
Aside from the weight loss benefits of drinking water, it is also beneficial for your skin, hair, nails and general health and wellbeing.
8. Focus on protein
In the simplest terms, your main dietary aim should be to follow a protein rich, low calorie healthy diet. Protein should be your priority after gastric band surgery because it is essential for your body to function properly and helps you feel satisfied for longer. Your dietitian will have specific guidelines and advice regarding exactly how much protein you should be including in your new diet.
9. Take small bites and chew
Take the time to chew food properly over your meal and to stop eating once you feel satisfied. Try to find a happy medium as eating excessively slowly could actually work against the band - don't worry, over time you will get used to your new way of eating with your gastric band and find what works best for you.
10. …and remember, slow progress is still progress!
Gastric bands are designed to help you lose weight gradually. The amount you lose will depend on your commitment to a healthy lifestyle which means following your dietitian's advice to get the best results for you. In other words, you're doing a great job, keep going!
At The Hospital Group, we're here to look after you. After your weight loss surgery, you will have access to our team of highly experienced dietitians, a dedicated weight loss support team who can help with booking appointments, emotional support, practical ideas and solutions as well as a dedicated 24-hour emergency telephone helpline. Our aftercare support means we are here with you every step of the way so together we can achieve your weight loss goals.
Still considering weight loss surgery? Speak to our team of experts to find out more about different procedures available.