Sometimes you cannot help it—you know better, but now something is stuck in your Lap-band, and you have vomited, and it is not coming up. There are a couple of simple choices—but often times this means you will have to see your weight loss surgeon and the device will have to be emptied to allow the food bolus to pass. Sometimes a bit of a carbonated beverage will allow the food bolus to pass but only do this under your weight loss surgeon’s direction. As a rule, carbonation is not something we like to advocate, but there are some exceptions. (Again, some weight loss surgeons think carbonation will stretch the pouch, and some don’t think this will be a problem at all. No matter what, most carbonated beverages are filled with calories that you do not need). Do not do this without your weight loss surgeon’s permission or intervention. As we said in an earlier chapter, radiologists use this trick all the time (they have “fizzy” pills) to remove a food bolus. If you have something stuck—make certain your weight loss surgeon is involved in the removal of it.

Avoiding foods getting stuck is a key to Lap-band surgery. You will be more comfortable following some simple rules then being uncomfortable and worrying whether your device has slipped.

Learning how to feel full after Lap-band surgery

What is feeling full?

This might be a new sensation for you. Once you have a good fill, and feel the lack of hunger, you need to learn that sensation of not being hungry (satiety). This is a sensation to learn, and not to overdo. You don’t want to have PB – you don’t want to vomit, you don’t want to feel uncomfortable. The best way to learn this is to experiment – with some solid food like tuna, have a tablespoon of food, and wait a few minutes. See if you can have another tablespoon – and wait again. It takes your brain a few minutes to register that your stomach is stretched – feel that, memorize that sensation – and promise yourself to not do that again.

lap-band surgery provides a tool that can change as your body changes

There are no bad foods; there are only bad quantities of food

USDA Food plate the new food pyramid showing a variety of foods

Now there are always those who will disagree with me, and sometimes talking to bariatric patients who have been successful at losing weight is like talking to alcoholics about an occasional glass of wine. I have some patients who have become religious in their avoidance of certain foods because they feel they are poison. Food really isn’t poison, unless you take too much of it. Remember the saying, “moderation in all things, including moderation.” As with alcohol, some people can never just have a glass of wine, and some people cannot just have a bit of cake. You have to judge this for yourself. Obesity is a life long disease for which weight loss operation is only a tool.

Again, the Lap-band is a tool that can change as your body changes. This means after the operation you will eat a “normal diet.” Now, it might take some education in order to learn what is normal, but you certainly will be satisfied with less, and the key to this procedure is in learning the meaning of “normal.” Normal is not fast food, normal is not milkshakes. Normal is high quality proteins (low fat, or fats made from olive oil or fish) and low glycemic index carbohydrates. You will not only eat healthy foods, you will achieve weight loss without feeling hungry—and that 3 o’clock candy bar won’t tempt you. Bariatric patients who have had either the small bowel or the duodenum bypassed, need to concentrate on protein first and to take in up to 100 grams of protein a day. With the lap-band, there is no reason you need to take in more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).

What to eat:

  • Normal Foods
  • High quality proteins (egg whites, fish, low fat cottage cheese, soy products)
  • Low glycemic index carbohydrates
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

The lap-band is the new revolution in the fight against obesity

It is a great tool, so use it well.

Proper aftercare cannot happen in the absence of self-advocacy.

—Melanie Magruder,

bariatric patient of Dr. Robert Rabkin