After your Lap-Band surgery, your doctor will advise you to not drink with your meals. If you are used to drinking a lot of liquid during your meal - especially if you have ever participated in Weight Watchers or another weight-loss program that advises you to fill up your stomach with fluids - this can be a hard habit to break.
Drinking with meals can cause foods to slide through your pouch more easily, leading you to eat more and undoing your hard work. Patients who ignore this rule and continue to drink fluids during meals tend to lose less weight than those who don't. Combining food and liquid can also lead to immediate PB (productive burping), nausea, or vomiting. You may be tempted to drink water if you feel like you have food stuck in your band, but this can often make the condition worse.
Drink enough water
You should try to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily in order to remain hydrated and healthy. Your doctor may recommend that you cease drinking one hour before eating, and wait 30 minutes to one hour after meals to begin drinking again. This can severely limit the time available to you during the day to consume enough fluids, especially if you prefer to eat four or five small meals throughout the day. Many Lap-Band patients also try to avoid drinking after 8:30 pm to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
Be sure that you are drinking water during the time available to you. You may want to buy a small timer and set it after your meals so that you know when you can start drinking again. Get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you - use an aluminum or BPA-free plastic bottle. Do not reuse plastic water bottles made of low-grade plastic, as they contain chemicals that can leach into the water during extended reuse.
Some Lap-Band patients find that they are able to drink right up until mealtime with no problems. If you find yourself unable to drink enough water between meals, ask your doctor if you can continue drinking until you start eating.
Take small sips with food
If you are eating dry or spicy foods, you may want to take small sips of water while you eat. If you have good restriction and are eating solid foods, taking small sips should not let your food pass through your band too easily and undo your progress. Your doctor may also prefer that you take small sips of water rather than coating your foods in calorie-laden condiments such as mayonnaise or salad dressing to help them go down easier. Just remember to take small sips, not large swallows, and do not consume more than ¼ cup of water during a meal.
Beginning these practices before you are banded will make it easier to stick to the rules after surgery and get the best results possible from your new Lap-Band!