I want to discuss your eating during weight loss surgery recovery not so much from my own experience but because of what I read way too often on this site and others I’ve visited about others’ experiences.
I will say from the get-go that this is a real sore point with me for many reasons. The biggest reason is because of the newbies that may be looking into lap band surgery for themselves, and the bad choices of others may harm those seeking advice about getting a band.
Every one of us will be put on a very restrictive diet following lap band surgery. The terms may vary from doctor to doctor, but overall the rules are the same: a period of liquids followed by a period of mushies eventually followed by solids. Those are the rules. Some doctors may even split your liquids phase into two parts — clear liquids followed by soups.
However, too often I read where people are eating foods that are too solid for the phase they are in — usually during the liquid phase. They justify it by saying, “I chewed steak until it was totally mushy, so it’s almost like it was liquid.” This is NOT okay! You are not on a liquid phase for torture, as a dietary restriction, or for grins and giggles — your stomach is healing from surgery, there are newly placed stitches keeping your band in place, and the natural spasming that your stomach does when it is given food can dislodge your stitches and cause your band to slip. It may not happen the day or the week you break the rule — it may be a year down the road.
Look, we banded people know you’re probably hungry. I wasn’t hungry for weeks after surgery, but that’s my experience. I know you may be or may think you are. Heck, it may even just be head hunger. The hardest thing for me was going a month or more (pre-op and post-op liquids) of not chewing anything. We get it.
But the fact is, just because you were ABLE to swallow that piece of steak or chicken or pizza three days after surgery doesn’t mean that it’s okay to do so. You not only set yourself up for losing your band in the future, you harm others who are still deciding if they can or want to do this. If you give out this information and have others thinking they can do it too, you are hurting them as well as yourself.
I am certainly not what one would call a band success — in November I will have had my band three years and I am down the same 50 or so pounds (with my biggest loss having been 75 pounds — so yes, I’ve gained). I cheat. I stress eat. I don’t exercise like I should. I don’t come from a position of grandstanding, because I still battle my own demons.
However, I DID go into this a thousand percent and followed all the rules — especially during my recovery. Please, if you do nothing else, follow your doctor’s rules after surgery.