Preparing for a Gastric Band (Lap Band)

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Many patients ask how they can prepare for a lap band.  Keeping your weight down is very important pre-surgery.  Some patients go on a ‘binge’ with food by eating all the foods they know they will not be able to eat post surgery and in large amounts.  This is not wise, as it will lead to weight gain, increase the risks of surgery and make your recovery less easy.  It is tempting to go on a last minute feasting session however those that have often regret it afterwards.  This is mainly your head telling you that you won’t be able to enjoy all those foods you do now after surgery.  It is certainly the case that you will not be able to eat the amounts and some of the types of foods you eat pre-surgery.  However you can learn to enjoy food again post surgery as long as you are making sensible choices about food.  As a lap band surgery patient you want to make the whole process easy for yourself and one way to do this is to get yourself in the best physical condition as possible.  This means starting to eat sensibly and making healthy food choices.  Your surgeon will want to see that you are committed and serious to making your surgery a success and preparing yourself for surgery is one way of doing this. 

Preparing yourself for the whole journey you are about to embark on when you have lap band surgery is important.  Those that have the most success after their surgery are those who have prepared themselves for the surgery and life after it.  So what does preparing for surgery mean?  This is often asked by many weight loss surgery patients, you should have advice on how to prepare yourself for surgery from your hospital or clinic. 

Watching your Diet before Lap Band Surgery

Diet is certainly one way that you can prepare yourself for surgery, by eating healthy foods and trying to keep your weight down or stable.  There are many other things you can to prepare for your surgery.  You should have a good idea of the types of foods you will be able to eat post surgery as you get advice from your surgeon or dietitian.  Some patients like to prepare their food cupboards in readiness for their return home.  This is a good idea, post surgery you may feel weak and in some discomfort a fully stocked cupboard is always welcome.  A trip to a busy supermarket can be stressful and tiring in the days immediately after your surgery.  If you have a friend or family you could ask if they wouldn’t mind helping you out by stocking your cupboard while you are in hospital.  It is always a good plan to be prepared; you could start researching recipes or even your own post surgery dietary plan, with advice from your dietitian.  Your aftercare should give you time and all the information you need to prepare your diet post surgery however researching foods will help you make a good start to your new healthy eating.  It can motivate some patients to know what meals they can eat longer term.  However over-planning is not necessary, you don’t know how you will take some foods so introduce new ones gradually.  You will be following a dietary plan, which includes a different dietary stage and will be advised on what food choices you can make.  At first you will be on only liquids, then puree foods and finally solid food.  Therefore there is no need to rush into thinking about meals much longer-term.  Being aware of which foods you can and can’t have at each dietary stage is time well spent, however your dietitian will help you will this. 

Exercise & Preparing for a Lap Band

Exercise should be part of your life post surgery, however like the dietary plan you will be building up your activity slowly and in stages.  Post surgery you will not be advised to do any type of activity other than very simple movements such as a short walk, stretching.  Your body will need time to heal so exercise will be uncomfortable and unwise soon after surgery.  As part of your aftercare you will be drafted an exercise plan.  Keeping active pre-surgery is a very good idea, walking and moving around the house such as walking up and down stairs are some simple things you can do.

Taking care of loose ends is a good way to prepare for surgery, things like making sure all the bills are paid and up-to-date, library books are returned, arrangements for someone to come round and collect the post if necessary.  Be as organized as you can before surgery, as these small things will seem like taxing chores post surgery.  Allow time ‘out’ of life, some patients do not make arrangements for their absence from home or work and end up rushing back to take care of their families or work.  Inform those in your life that you need time to recover and will be taking a backseat. 

Some patients like to prepare for surgery by starting a scrapbook of photos of themselves before surgery.  This can be fun and very rewarding to look back on during the years after surgery.  It can provide a great deal of motivation to realise how far you have come, perhaps when you are feeling a bit despondent about your new healthy lifestyle.  Not only this but you can amaze people with your transformation, especially those that only know you post surgery!

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