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LAP-BAND Diet

The LAP-BAND makes it easier for you to lose weight as you will feel fuller longer, even after eating smaller portions. However, you also have to make significant lifestyle changes in order to achieve your goal weight. Changing your eating habits is a challenge, but patients who are self-disciplined and take our surgeon and nutritionist’s advice, are the most likely to succeed.

Part of what changing your lifestyle entails is retraining yourself how to eat in an appropriate, healthier way. While your body will adapt to the band limiting the amount of food you can eat, your mind may not keep pace. You’ll have to learn to be satisfied with eating less and not seek food out of boredom or fluctuating emotions.

After LAP-BAND surgery, the three most important aspects of your new diet are quality, quantity and frequency.

Quality

Your daily menu plan will have to change substantially after LAP-BAND surgery. Eating nutritious food is important, especially because you will only be able to consume a limited number of calories every day. While no foods are strictly off limits, patients should make an effort to avoid high-fat, high-calorie, and high-sugar foods. The diet should consist of high amounts of protein and fiber, but lower amounts of fat, carbohydrates, salt, and sugar. Every meal should have at least one high protein food and a fruit or vegetable. Foods rich in protein or fiber can help with a feeling of satiety, and help you keep your portions small while getting all the nutrients you need in a restricted-calorie diet.

Whenever possible, avoid foods that are highly processed. If you’re unsure if a food is processed, look at the ingredients list. Chances are if the food has more than five ingredients, or contains ingredients you can’t pronounce, it was made in a laboratory by a food scientist and is processed. Choose “real” foods whenever possible, such as 100 percent whole grain items that have few additives. If you want to add more salt or sugar, you can add it yourself.

Part of life with the LAP-BAND is learning to prepare more food at home, which means you’ll have to become supermarket savvy. Each section of the traditional food pyramid can be represented in your grocery shopping cart, including:

Whole grains - Breads, cereals, pasta, and rice should be whole grain, as these are the least processed foods available. When choosing bread and cereal, check the ingredients list to aim for at least 3-4 grams of fiber per serving, and the less sugar, the better. Choose brown rice over white rice, and add new foods to your diet in the whole grain category, such as quinoa, bulgur, or barley. If you aren’t used to whole grains and don’t like the taste or texture, you can start out with whole-wheat blended products before slowly transitioning to 100 percent whole-wheat pasta and bread.

Fresh fruits and vegetables- When grocery shopping, try to spend the most time in the produce section, and select a rainbow of different colors. These different colors reflect the vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content of each item. Fruit and veggies also have plenty of fiber, which helps with satiety and regularity, all in a low-calorie package.

Lean meat, fish and poultry - Be sure to choose the leaner cuts of meat, and remove skin from poultry. If you are buying red meat such as steak, opt for round, top sirloin, or tenderloin cuts, and trim off any visible fat. Try to get fish into your diet about twice a week, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Watch your portion sizes for any meat you consume, and prepare the meat in a way that doesn’t add too many additional calories.

Low-fat dairy - These foods are a good source of calcium and vitamin D, which are good for your bones, especially for LAP-BAND patients who are eating a low-calorie diet and are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. Select low-sugar yogurt, or Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, and pre-portioned cheeses as a snack. Use skim milk to add to cereal or coffee.

Other quick tips on quality:

  • Instead of eating on the run, always make an effort to eat at a table instead of your car, desk, or on the couch.
  • Try not to drink while eating. Drinking can push food through the band too quickly, which will make you eat larger portions before you feel full.
  • Stay hydrated between meals, and try to get 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages such as beer, champagne, and soda. These drinks can stretch the stomach pouch, cause the band to slip, and are generally high in calories.
  • Avoid high-calorie beverages, such as cocktails, milkshakes, specialty coffee drinks, soda, fruit juice, whole milk or cream.
  • Savor your food. Even though this may be a new experience for you, learn to enjoy the taste of your food and take your time to finish your meal.

Quantity

The main benefit of having LAP-BAND surgery is the fact that the band helps you feel full after small quantities of food. Many obese individuals gained weight by skipping breakfast frequently, not being physically active, snacking throughout the day, and binging in the evening. Many formed a habit of eating in the car or in front of the TV, but rarely at the kitchen table.

LAP-BAND patients feel satisfied even after eating small portions because the newly formed stomach pouch above the band only holds about one ounce of food. Another benefit of the band is that patients feel full longer because food travels slowly through the band to the lower part of the stomach, and on to the rest of the digestive system. Patients should eat small portions and cut their food into tiny pieces, while savoring every bite. Food must be chewed thoroughly, as the pathway where the band is placed is about the size of a dime, and large pieces can cause stomach obstruction.

Remember to keep portion sizes reasonable, and become informed on what sizes are appropriate for which types of foods. For instance, a serving size of eggs is one medium egg, or a portion of meat is the size of your palm. One slice of bread is a portion, and a quarter-cup of nuts is a serving. Raw vegetable servings are one cup, and cooked is a half cup, but because these foods are highly nutritious and low-calorie, you can eat more than one serving of vegetables if they are prepared in a healthy way, such as steaming or grilling them.

If you are unsure about serving sizes, ask your LAP-BAND nutritionist about how much you should eat.

Frequency

Some patients find that old habits die hard, and even though they don’t feel hungry around the clock, they still eat portions that are too large or snack too often. However, you can make a lasting change if you follow your surgeon’s advice and give yourself time to change your lifestyle. Even the most successful LAP-BAND patients adapt from their old eating habits. They begin to learn to plan out their meals ahead of time, enjoy smaller meals and eating more nutritious foods.

Never skip breakfast, as this can stall your metabolism and make you more likely to binge later in the day. When you’re very hungry after skipping any meal, you risk eating too fast, too much, and the wrong foods. This behavior is counterproductive to weight loss and making a lifestyle change in your dietary habits. Plan your meals ahead of time, whenever possible, and maintain your focus and positive mental energy.

To learn more about diet after LAP-BAND, please call our offices at 1-855-690-0560.