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diet-after-lap-band-surgeryEating Responsibly After LapBand Surgery

New proceedures have helped thousands of morbidly obese patients gain a newfound sense of control in their lives and to begin a path of weight loss that has changed their lives.  Loved ones have been delighted to see homebound, embarrassed family members become full participants in life after having spent sometimes decades homebound and looking forward to very little.  However,Lap Band weight reduction surgery is not for everyone.  And not everyone who is overweight is a candidate for LapBand Weight Loss Surgery.  LapBand surgery is a viable option for morbidly obese patients. Morbid Obesity is the stage of obesity where excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it is adversely affecting health. 

Practice Realistic Eating Habits Post-Surgery

Determining whether a person is morbidly obese is currently calculated using Body Mass Index (BMI). A person who is 63 inches tall (5'3") and weighs in excess of 225lbs. has a BMI of 40 and is morbidly obese.  Only persons qualifying in this manner are granted surgical intervention.  If this surgery is for you, then a realistic approach to preparation and after care is needed.  After surgery you will need to make drastic changes in your eating habits. These changes are necessary to produce the desired weight loss and to prevent pain and vomiting. It is important that patients eat the appropriate diet after lap band surgery to prevent band slippage or obstruction.

The decision to choose lapband surgery as a weight loss solution can result in a dramatic improvement in the quality of your life but carries with it a dedication to practice responsible eating habits after lapband surgery and make the necessary lifestyle changes as your specialist monitors you. Your diet following lapband surgery will change not only the amounts and kinds of food you eat, but also the methods you use to eat your food.

Learning how to eat after lapband surgery involves eating very slowly and chewing your food until it reaches a very mushy consistency. This will help ease the passage of food. Taking large bites and swallowing chunks of food may block the opening of the band and prevent food and nutrition from passing through. Some steps to help you eat slowly:

  • Set aside 30-45 minutes for each meal.
  • Take very small bites of food - best to use a baby food spoon.
  • Chew very well, actually count the number of bites it takes you to chew your food, aim for 30-35.
  • Prevent your family from rushing you through a meal by placing EAT SLOWLY signs on the table and explaining the negative consequences of eating too fast or eating too much.
  • Pay attention to the taste and learn to savor your food. Eating is now about tasting the flavor and feeling the texture and consistency of the food you eat and no longer about sustenance.

The key to eating responsibly after lapband surgery is stopping as soon as you feel full. Continuing to eat after you feel full will result in vomiting and can stretch the pouch that was created by your band. How can you tell when you're full?  Use the following as a guide:

  • Feeling pressure or fullness in the center of your abdomen just under your rib cage.
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Pain in your shoulder and chest area.

Vomiting is a negative side effect of lapband surgery and can be prevented. Vomiting can indicate that your band is blocked or it may have slipped. If you get sick and continue vomiting throughout the day stop eating solid food and sip clear liquids like juice, broth, and tea. If the vomiting continues for longer than 24 hours contact your doctor. Most vomiting episodes are preventable by knowing their causes:

  • Eating too fast or not chewing your food properly.
  • Eating too much at a meal sitting.
  • Drinking any kind of liquids too soon after a meal.
  • Lying down right after eating.
  • Eating foods that don't agree with you.
Once again, the decision to have this surgery requires a serious lifetime committment to following surgeons directions and to caring for yourself and your nutritional intake.  With careful consideration, this surgery can change your life.
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