Gastric Band Diet
The regime after your procedure progresses from a liquid, to pureed/soft and then to a modified normal diet. This progression is intended to allow your body time to heal. At first your capacity to eat will be somewhat limited due to swelling from the procedure. One of the changes patients often comment about is the concept of wasting food. After your procedure you will eventually be satisfied with much less.
You may also be surprised how the surgery changes your wants and desires for certain foods. Foods you may have previously liked, you may now find you are less interested in and vice versa. To maintain a healthy weight and to prevent weight gain, you must develop healthy eating habits. You will need to be aware of the volume of food you can tolerate at one time and make healthy food choices to ensure maximum nutrition from minimum volume.
After your Gastric Band you will be required to start on a fluid regime for up to 3 weeks and will be instructed accordingly by our Bariatric team.
The first few weeks after your Gastric Band Surgery
0-3 weeks post operation
You are allowed only fluids from the time of surgery for two to four weeks afterwards.
This is to allow your body time to heal. At the hospital, a selection of clear fluids will be offered.
Fluids are defined as liquids that are of a consistency that will go through a drinking straw, although drinking through a straw is not recommended as the intake of air will cause wind.
If you are offered anything other than liquids please do not consume it.
If you do not adhere to this protocol you could seriously jeopardise your recovery and weight loss goals.
At this stage you may not have an appetite, you may feel bloated, uncomfortable and may experience a change in bowel habits. Don’t worry this is all normal and you will be assessed and advised regularly by the team.
Your appetite will return eventually over the next few weeks.
Over the coming weeks you will experience a mixture of feelings, anxiety, relief and excitement. All these are normal and coincide with hard work, determination and discipline. Some may say it’s like a “roller coaster ride”.
After the first few weeks of weeks of your Gastric Band procedure
2-6 weeks post operation
The soft diet phase is a relief to many patients, you will feel you have turned a corner and start to feel more “normal”. Think of yourself as a baby being weaned back to solid food. Don’t rush the phases, they are only a guide - consider your appetite and portion sizes.
Soft foods tend to be anything well cooked that can be mashed with the back of a fork, for example mashed potato.
Drinking at the same time as eating is not recommended. Old habits die hard, but try to remember that with a band you will flush through all the food that needs to stay above the band (blocked up sink effect). With the other procedures you will fill up too quickly , you may feel bloated, vomit and your nutrition will be compromised.
6-8 weeks onwards after having a Gastric Band
You will look forward to this stage, as you may resume normal textured foods. However, this does not mean visiting your local fish and chip shop! By normal foods we mean healthier wholesome options not junk food. We recommend smaller portions, smaller mouthfuls, chew well and stop when you feel full.
You are not going to experience that “Christmas day” effect, this full feeling is almost described as dull ache, or pressure feeling. Whichever surgical option you are having the indicators are the same, stop eating, put your knife and fork down. The conditioning to eat everything that’s on your plate that we have all heard has to go! You are encouraged to take regular exercise and physical activity as a key part of your weight loss routine and success.
Difficulties and eating techniques
Symptoms resulting from the body’s inability to digest the cow milk sugar called lactose.
Swallowing food in chunks may cause a blockage. This can be prevented by eating slowly, chewing food well and following the post operative regime. If you do experience something getting stuck, stretch your arms in the air, walk around, do not panic, gravity will do its work! A very small amount of carbonated drink may help.
This can be a feeling of pressure in the centre of your abdomen, just below your ribcage and/or a feeling of nausea, regurgitation or heartburn. Indications of fullness may not be the same as before Gastric Band Surgery, and may not be as obvious. Foods that may be difficult to tolerate are bread products, cows milk, fatty and fried foods, carbonated drinks, bran products, corn and peas, dried fruits/skins of fresh fruit, coconut, red meat and some rice products. Many foods can cause discomfort and vomiting; do not avoid food just because you vomit once after eating it, you should try that food again as tolerance may improve over time.
Excess saliva/frothing when vomiting and with reflux symptoms, may indicate your band has been adjusted too tight, this isn’t common but is easily recognised and treated.
Some patients feel cold, and hands and feet can tingle. This is not common and is a physiological side effect of rapid weight loss. The cause is currently unknown. It eventually subsides and no treatment is required.