Eating habits

Inserting a ring in your stomach does not guarantee that you will become slimmer. It is an effective tool, but it will only help if you adapt your eating habits to the ring, to lose weight, prevent vomiting and complications, and also guard against a lack of nutrition. Careful consideration must be taken of the advice below to increase your chances of success.

Eat slowly

For maximum weight loss, after two or three weeks of adaptation to the ring, it is extremely important you eat essentially solid foods, not liquidised (liquid food regimes, however, prove useful in the first few days after the operation). To allow the food to negotiate the passageway created by the ring, you must chew thoroughly so that you swallow only "mouth-liquidised" food. Food which has been chewed can fill you up, and also be digested.

If you eat liquid, creamy or blended foodstuffs, these will move through your system but will not fill you up. If, on the other hand, you eat solid foodstuffs but do not chew, you will feel ill, and this increases the risk of bouts of vomiting in the short term, and failure in the long term.

So you should not be surprised if your meals last much longer, even if you are eating much less than before. Take your time with your meals. Prolonged chewing will also allow you to better appreciate the taste of the food you eat, since it will be in contact with the taste buds in your mouth for longer periods of time.

Your meals

Amounts :

At meal times, as soon as the upper pouch in your stomach is full, it sends a signal to your brain to tell it you have eaten enough, and you will feel sated. Look out for this sensation, learn to recognise it, and stop eating when you notice it.

If you regularly go past this stage, you will feel ill and have bouts of vomiting. Moreover, your stomach will stretch out, lose its tautness, and the ring will become ineffective: you will lose no more weight, and you may even regain the weight already lost. Also, you could experience stomach problems, swelling of the pouch, for example, and this would require further surgery.

At the beginning, force yourself on a daily basis to eat three small meals a day slowly.

Preferred foodstuffs:

Your body needs are not altered in any way by surgery, and so your diet must be balanced for the sake of your health and your body shape. Your three meals per day should ideally contain the following:

  • Bread or starchy foodstuffs, rich in vegetable proteins and slow glucids. These are sources of energy for the brain, body organs and muscles.
  • Vegetables and/or fruit as fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Foodstuffs containing animal proteins: meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Try to eat fish at least twice a week, particularly fatty fish as a source of fat for your skin, the arteries and the brain.
  • Some fatty materials, particularly oils (colza and olive oil in particular). These are rich in essential fatty acids.

Foodstuffs to be avoided:

There are two categories to be avoided:

  • Food you will have difficulty digesting: particularly fibrous vegetables such as the centre of lettuces, leeks or asparagus, and perhaps meat or rice. It is difficult to plan in advance which foods will not "go through", since different people react in different ways.
  • Food which will harm your weight loss process, since they are unaffected by the ring in your body: blended food, creamy or liquid food. So you must not eat purées, compote, ice cream and dairy products which are too creamy or which contain too much sugar: these will prevent you losing weight. Be careful, too, with fatty foods (oils, butter or margarine), which are extremely rich in calories and move quickly through the system: eat these only in moderate quantities.

Beverages :

If you drink with your meals, the food will become too liquid in your stomach, and this will accelerate its movement through the new passageway, rendering it less effective. You should therefore refrain from drinking until two hours after the meal. There is one exception, if you are so inclined: a glass of good wine, not to slake your thirst, but rather as a kind of "condiment" with your meal.

Between meals

Food :

Since you are eating only small amounts, you may feel hungry between meals. If you do feel hungry, have a snack which will not pose any risk to the slimming process and is rich in essential nutrients. For example: a slice of wholemeal bread and cheese, a piece of fruit, a yoghurt or soft cheese, dry biscuits, cherry tomatoes, gherkins or other crunchy vegetables.

Beverages :

Since you are advised not to drink at meal times and for two hours afterwards, you will have to drink at least one and a half litres between meals: water, of course, but also, depending on your preferences, coffee, tea, infusions etc. Do not take these with sugar (although you can use sweeteners), and avoid sugary fizzy products and all fruit juices, since these are rich in calories and are not stopped by the ring.

Unsweetened fizzy products ("light" beverages) should be limited to one or two glasses per day, since otherwise they may increase the attraction to other foodstuffs containing sugar. It is also important not to drink them during the hour preceding meals, since this creates disorders in your taste mechanisms.

As at meal times, do not drink anything with your snacks between meals, since the food would then move through your stomach too quickly, and would not satisfy your hunger so easily.

Vitamin supplements

Depending on your needs and your eating habits, you may need certain vitamin and mineral supplements to guard against a lack of folates, for example (or vitamin B9), vitamin B12, iron or calcium. These supplements, however, are dangerous if they are taken in excess, and do not take the initiative yourself; only your doctor can determine which of them you need.

The problem of medication

As a general rule, after the operation you will continue to take the medication you needed before. However, if some pills are too big and have difficulty getting through the new passageway, you will have to cut them up or dissolve them in water. Your surgeon or doctor may also advise you not take certain medicines which are too aggressive for your stomach, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatories.

As you slim down, certain obesity-related complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure or hyperlipidity will probably improve, or even revert to normal. In this case your doctor will probably suggest you reduce the dosage, or even discontinue treatment completely.

Other measures

Inserting a ring in your stomach will make it much easier for you to lose weight by making you eat more slowly and reducing the size of your meals. Do not, however, forget the following:

Physical exercise:

Our advice, as soon as you have slimmed down enough to be able to move around without any danger to your heart or your joints, and following consultation with your doctor, is to make sure you spend three hours a week on some sporting activity, or an hour a day on non-strenuous activities (walking, cycling, walking up stairs, housework etc.). This is extremely important for the long term success of the operation.

Psychological back-up:

This is important, particularly if your intake of food is largely related to your emotions or to external events.

Complete success in your project

To adapt this advice to your own situation, to prevent any loss of nutrition, and to lose weight in the best possible manner, you should see your doctor or a nutritionist 6 – 8 weeks after the operation, and subsequently every 2 months.