Long Term Lap Band Success – The Rules – Why Do We Resist Them?

by sandi on July 12, 2017

As I am embarking on my 14th year after weight loss surgery and maintaining a 250+ pound weight loss people often ask me how I do it.  My answer is really not very complicated – I followed the rules my doctor gave me before surgery and I continue to follow them all these years later.  The typical response to my reply is the glazed eye look and the statement “but it’s so hard to________”.  You can finish it with whichever rule or rules you choose to put in there.

Here’s what I was told I would need to do after surgery:

  • The Rules - Why Do We Resist Them?Eat 1000-1200 calories per day, no more
  • Make at least 70-80% of it firm protein for at least 60-80 grams
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day
  • Stay away from high carb foods that my band probably wouldn’t like anyway such as bread, potatoes, rice, anything fried or breaded, chips, cookies, cakes, ice cream anything highly processed
  • I was told to chew small bites 20-30 times and put my fork down between bites
  • Put on my plate ONLY what I intended to eat and make meals last for 15-20 minutes, no more.  Get up when done.
  • No drinking during or for 30 minutes after a meal
  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Don’t drink my meals
  • Move my body on purpose for at least 210 minutes each week (30 minutes a day)
  • Learn to enjoy the art of dining – tasting my food, enjoying tastes and textures
  • Listen to my body and my surgery and STOP when I had enough, not when I was Thanksgiving Day full
  • No grazing, no snacking
  • Take good quality vitamins and supplements

WOW!  Sounds like a diet to me.  Why would these rules work after surgery if I couldn’t stay on a diet long term before surgery? 

The Rules - Why Do We Resist Them?What I learned was that this was a permanent lifestyle change and it was up to me to change my relationship with food.  The surgery, regardless of which surgery I chose, could only do so much.  It would help me eat smaller portions of firm protein at one sitting – I had to choose protein first and make my “sittings” about 20 minutes.

I knew a lot about dieting.  I had been doing it successfully for 54 years after all.  What I had never done was commit to changing permanently.  It had always been about getting off xxx pounds and I did, and then I returned to the same food addict I was before.  I had to work out for myself what the root of the food/sugar addiction was and I was able to do it once I cleaned my body of the sugar/carbs with my post surgical food progression and began focusing on the rules.

The hardest rule for me was giving up sugar and processed foods.  They go down so easily, don’t cause “stuck” episodes and taste so dang good.  I felt better than I had in ages and the weight kept falling off.  Intermittently, over the past 13 years I have let them back into my life again and the result is always the same – feeling crappy and weight gain. 

The next hardest rule for me was getting regular exercise going.  Today, if I skip more than 2 days (some weekends) of formal fitness I start feeling the same crappy as I do when I eat sugar….Now what might happen if I was eating sugar and NOT working out at the same time?  I don’t even want to know.

The rest of the rules became part of my lifestyle habits beginning day 1 after surgery, and they work.  As time progressed I found out what worked best for me within the parameters of the rules:

  • 80 oz of water is my sweet spot
  • 80-100 grams of protein is where I function best
  • I can drink water up until the point my meal is served and still be satisfied with a small portion.  I do still wait 30 minutes after eating to let my brain catch up with the satiety my stomach feels.
  • I have my own fitness program that includes swimming laps, elliptical time and weight lifting which I devote 300+ minutes to Monday – Friday first thing in the morning.  Weekends are my “rest” days and often include hikes, bike rides and beach walks so I am rarely sedentary.
  • If I meal plan and prep my meals and portion them out I do better at staying under 1200 calories per day
  • I have my own regimen for taking my vitamins and supplements throughout the day
  • Sugar and peanut butter and Cheetos are NOT my friends

The Rules - Why Do We Resist Them?The rules work – I eat only delicious food and this has helped tremendously in keeping my weight in check.

As I age (I will be 69 years young in September) these rules become even more critical to follow.


Why do folks think they can do it “their way” and win after weight loss surgery?  I enjoy helping others to let go of their resistance to the rules and watch their journeys take off and take them to places they never in their wildest dreams imagine they could go.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Linda July 26, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Hi Sandi, Thank you I needed to read this, as over the last couple of months I feel I have slipped back into bad eating habits. Grazing on processed, high sugar foods all be it, in smaller quantities, but I have gained weight. I have now committed my self to getting back on the wagon, and following the rules and most of all making use of this wonderful tool that has helped me to loose weight. Linda.

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