We all have our favorite mantras…”Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often” (Mark Twain). “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without” (Confucius). “Be as you wish to seem” (Socrates). “Get off my back” (Duncan children).
My FAVORITE and most often touted mantra for those living with the lapband come from lapband guru Dr. Paul O’Brien (of “The 8 Golden Rules”). His mantra: “Eat a Small Amount of Good Food Slowly“. Those 8 words hold so much valuable advice for bandsters and non-bandsters alike.
Anyone who turns on the TV or reads a newspaper knows that obesity rates in North America have been rising steadily and at an alarming rate for the past 4 decades. In the early 1960’s the average American male weighed 168 lbs and the average woman 140 lbs. Today the average male weighs in at 191 and female 164.
Why the rise? Three things: portion size, quality of food, lifestyle. We eat too much, often poor quality food and we eat it too quickly. Eat a small amount of good food slowly.
Portion sizes have increased drastically in the past 30 years and we have come to see these sizes as ‘normal’. Remember mom brownies? They were homemade and came in an 8×8 pan cut into 1 1/2″ pieces. And they were a treat and every bite was savoured! Now you can go to Starbucks and for the price of a large cup of horrible coffee (sorry…I’m a Tims fan..writers perogative) get a brownie the size of your fist. And we have come to believe that this is a normal portion size. If the kid at the fast food joint doesn’t ask “do you want fries with that” or “would you like to super-size that” he is reprimanded, especially in the United States. Portion sizes are out of control and our bodies are rebelling. “Eat a SMALL amount of good food slowly”.
The quality of our food since the past 4 decades has also taken a dramatic downturn. In the 1960’s most food was prepared at home and eaten at home. Life was more simple. Dad was home at 5:30 and everyone ate together at the kitchen table. Since the 1960’s there has been an astonishing increase in the mass preparation of food. This switch from home-made food to mass-prepared food has lead to increased quantities and varieties of foods consumed (Cutler, Glaiser and Shapiro). Foods today are full of saturated fats, trans fats (luckily that one is disappearing from many foods), refined carbohydrates (sugar), genetically modified ingredients, additives, preservatives and goodness knows what else. We need to get back to preparing our own food, and preparing good food. The amount of food you are consuming with your band is far less than it was pre-band…so make that food count! Make sure that the food you are eating is high quality, protein rich, solid food that you love. When you have a 3 oz steak make it beef tenderloin, cooked to perfection, pink on the inside and thinly sliced. Skip the deep-fried fish and chips and go for the grilled salmon fillet with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lemon. Savour every bite. Remember too that most often whatever you order at a restaurant will not be as healthy as what you could prepare at home. This isn’t to say don’t eat out! Eat out and enjoy it but do so in moderation. Skip the fast food junk and save up for a special meal. “Eat a small amount of GOOD FOOD slowly”.
I think everyone can connect the dots between todays fast-paced, frenetic lifestyle and obesity. We work long hours, go to school, volunteer, raise families and often times at the end of the day we seem to have little time left to sit down and properly enjoy a meal. For a banded person this type of food consumption just doesn’t work and here’s why:
- You simply can’t eat solid food quickly with a well-adjusted band. Eating quickly leads to ‘sliming’, and vomitting…two very unpleasant experiences.
- To acheive satiety with the band you need to eat slowly. As Dr. O’Brien explains in his “8 Golden Rules” (see previous blog of that title) you need to chew a small bolus of food well before swallowing. When solid food is swallowed it takes between 2-6 squeezes of your esophagus to push that food across the band. Feelings of satiation (or ‘absence of hunger’) are generated with each squeeze. As Dr. O’Brien explains taking approximately 20 minutes to eat a meal, and waiting around a minute between bites generates enough signals to achieve satiation (not ‘fullness’…big difference). This is why slider/mushy foods/ liquids don’t produce satiety, as they take fewer ‘squeezes’ to get across the band and result in you feeling hungry again in a shorter length of time. Eat a small amount of good food SLOWLY.
Yes with a band you may often be the last one eating if your band is well-adjusted. Yes, your food may end up a little cold by the time you finish your meal. This doesn’t mean however that meal time shouldn’t remain special. Set your table. Use the good china. Light a candle. Turn the TV down (did I say ‘down’? I meant ‘OFF’ :)). And enjoy every bite and the benefits you will reap from a well-adjusted, properly used band.
Yours in Health, Wellness and Fine Dining,