Lap band too tight?

By lapmin July 16, 2010

    There are a great many memorable quotes from that great paragon of southern female friendship, “Steel Magnolias”. But my favorite was said by Clairee, when viewing the mayor’s wife in her new dress from the back: “It looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket.”

I know everyone reading this (or at least I hope it’s not just me) has experienced something like this situation. You try on an outfit, or add a belt, but it just doesn’t fit well because it causes a tight spot and your tummy (hips/butt/thighs) bulges out around it. Something that doesn’t fit just doesn’t let the outfit work, no matter how beautiful or expensive or perfect you might think it is.

Many of our patients think that making their gastric band tighter and tighter is like trading up from a Gap canvas belt to a Neiman Marcus alligator belt. If it’s tighter, it must be better. But the Lap Band works a lot like the sabotaging accessory when it’s too tight. Instead of allowing you to eat three small meals a day without being hungry, an overly tight band forces you into bad habits which will ultimately undercut your weight loss.

A Lap Band that’s too tight doesn’t allow very much through – and what goes through easily tends to be junk food. Ice-cream and chips will almost always go through because they are slick and greasy and largely liquefied by the time they reach the band. Steamed veggies and grilled chicken need a fairly open band to pass through well. Which of those food groupings are more likely to help you achieve your goals? (Hint: not the ones found in the snack aisle at the grocery store).

So instead of focusing on how much better you think the band will be if it’s tighter, try thinking about what actually “flatters” your stomach, i.e., what actually lets you use the band to help you lose weight. Eating three protein rich meals per day will keep you satisfied far longer than frequent grazing on high-carbohydrate junk food. And eventually eating all those healthy, satisfying meals will let you wear the clothes you want to …and look great in them. Then it’ll be bye-bye pigs in a blanket, hello perfect ten in a miniskirt. Remember, the band is not supposed to cause surgical bulimia. It’s not supposed to keep you from being able to eat. It’s supposed to allow you to diet without suffering from the hunger and cravings that dieting usually entails.

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