Fine-Tuning Your Diet After a Weight Loss Procedure

Fine-Tuning Your Diet after a Weight Loss Procedure

Everyone knows that active lifestyle combined with a healthy diet is the best way to lose weight. Exercise and dieting often fails to succeed, however, calling for further weight loss measures. Weight loss procedures such as laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), the gastric balloon, and the gastric sleeve resection may help you regain control over your body, lose extra pounds, and improve your quality of life.

Aside from helping you achieve a more slender figure, weight loss procedures may also improve your overall health, resolve medical conditions, and prolong your longevity. Your decision to undergo the procedure, however, does not mean that you can forget about proper eating habits. As Dr. Lee Au explains, a weight loss procedure will deliver the best results when combined with dietary modifications and exercise program.

A highly experienced board-certified surgeon, Dr. Au has performed bariatric procedures on hundreds of patients at PacificMed Health Group and has developed his own techniques to minimize risks and improve safety of the procedure. He explains that patients should carefully follow their dieting guidelines after undergoing LAGB or other weight loss procedure.

Dr. Lee Au

Of all the information available on this topic, Dr. Au has found the article by Dr. Paul O’Brien, “Gastric Banding and the Fine Art of Eating,” to be particularly useful [1].  He expects that all of his patients will read the article and follow it closely, even if they underwent a different weight loss procedure other than gastric banding.

In the present article, Dr. Au will summarize a few key points from the article while incorporating his own insights on maintaining a healthy diet.  The first portion of the article reviews in detail how the band really works.  The first step in understanding the procedure is visualizing the band sitting around the top portion of your stomach, with the food (chewed until it becomes like mush) passing through the band completely before each swallow.

After the band is placed, your physician will adjust it until you are in the green zone where you can be satisfied with small amounts of food (half a cup 1-3 times a day), allowing for good weight loss results.  The red zone is where the band is too tight and you may have GERD, nausea and vomiting, night cough, or difficulty swallowing.

The Fine Art of Eating: Eight Golden Rules

1 ) Eat three meals or less per day.

2 ) Do not eat anything between meals.

3 ) Eat slowly and stop when no longer hungry.

4 ) Focus on nutritious foods.

5 ) Avoid calorie-containing liquids.

6 ) Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.

7 ) Be active throughout each day.

8 ) Always keep in contact with us.

What to eat:

Your ideal diet should consist of high quality foods rich in protein. 50 grams of protein a day is sufficient. Fish and poultry, in particular, are rich in protein and are easier to break up with chewing compared to red meat. You can also rely on dairy and eggs for your protein sources. If you are trying to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet, beans, nuts, lentils, and chickpeas are all excellent sources of protein. In fact, vegetables and fruit should make up an essential part of your diet. In particular, Dr. O’Brien recommends vegetables that contain less sugar as compared to fruit.

For best weight loss results, you should strive to consume high quality, natural foods that are rich in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates. Keep in mind that solid foods are preferable because liquid food passes too quickly across the LAGB. Dr. O’Brien’s study also stresses that each meal should amount to half a cup of food (i.e., 125mL or 125 g). If you feel satiated in the middle of the meal, do not force yourself to finish whatever is left on your plate and discard the leftovers.

The rule of thumb: Of the half cup of food, one half should be protein-rich food, another half should be vegetables or fruits, and whatever space left in the half cup should be reserved for the starches.  (Chewable multivitamins are also recommended once per day.)

When to eat:

When placed successfully and properly adjusted, the LAGB reduces hunger throughout the day. Many patients will not feel hungry after waking up in the morning and may skip breakfast. This is a key point – don’t eat if you are not hungry!

As hunger develops during the day, it can be satisfied with a small meal in the afternoon. If you miss a meal, try not to make up for it later in the day. Most importantly, refrain from snacking in between your meals.

How to eat:

Always take a small bite and chew your food thoroughly until it loses its texture and is converted into mush. As scientific research suggests, chewing food for a longer period may help you lose weight [2].

Make sure that each bite goes across the band before taking another bite. Some people can actually feel when the food goes through but, if not, wait about minute each time you swallow. Your meal should consist of about 20 small bites. This means that your entire meal should last approximately 20 minutes.

On the contrary, if you consume large bites and eat too fast following your LAGB, you may experience symptoms such as heartburn, reflux, or vomiting. In some cases, poor eating practices can lead to enlargement of the stomach pouch above the band. This complication may require revision or even band removal.  Unfortunately, even with the best dietary modifications, some people may eventually need the band to be removed.  Should this be necessary, you may resume the same eating habits you maintained before the surgery.  To prevent regaining weight or promote further weight loss you may be a candidate for gastric sleeve resection.

Are you getting full too soon? – Most likely you are eating too fast!

Are you still hungry after the meal? – You may need an adjustment to get to the green zone.

Lastly, to achieve the best possible results, you should strive to follow this golden rule: Eat a small amount of quality food slowly.

Once you commit yourself to proper aftercare guidelines, you should be able to get the most out of your weight loss procedure and realize your weight loss dreams.

Any questions?  You can email me at [email protected] or call (800) 555-5551