A Gastric Band – The Solution To Weight Loss? A gastric band operation is just one type of weight loss surgery that more and more people are turning to in order to solve their weight loss problems. Weight loss surgery is a huge step that should not be taken lightly and should only be used as a last resort, not an easy fix. If all other avenues have been exhausted and a person is morbidly obese (putting their health in severe danger), then weight loss surgery may be an option. Lets look at exactly what a gastric band operation is, and what it involves. A gastric band is a circular balloon (similar to an inner tube) that is surgically attached to the top part of the stomach and inflated. The band’s job is to form a small pouch in top area of the stomach which will now receive food. Any food eaten then bypasses the large part of the stomach which is below the band (this is known as a gastric bypass). There is also a procedure where the band is fitted but food still passes through a narrow opening to the larger stomach area. The area which digests food is now smaller, resulting in you getting full quickly and stopping you consuming large quantities of food. A gastric band will also help to decrease appetite and aid metabolism (due to the hormones released). The operation is done using keyhole surgery and takes around an hour. In the UK, the operation is available on the National Health Service if strict criteria is met. A gastric band operation carries a relatively low risk compared to other weight loss procedures, but there can be side effects. You will have swelling and bruising around the wound and you may feel sick after eating. You will have to start with liquids at first before moving on to food, you will then have to chew your food well and eat smaller amounts. A gastric band operation or bypass will only work in the long term if you are totally committed and willing to make permanent changes to your diet and lifestyle. Your stomach will eventually start to stretch, allowing you to consume more food, so you must keep your discipline. Just because you stomach had been shrunk, it doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. You need to adopt a healthy well balanced diet which is low in saturated fat and high in nutrition and fibre. as soon as you feel well enough following surgery, you should also start a regular exercise program that gives you a cardiovascular workout. Before considering surgery, give it your best shot to lose weight naturally. Make small permanent changes to your eating habits and cut your portions down. Take regular exercise and aim for between 1 and 2 pounds of weight loss a week. It will take real determination and a strong desire to change, but it can be a beautiful journey.