As an Amazon Associate, BariBuilder earns from qualifying purchases.

Eight Steps To Nailing Your Lap Band Pre-Op Diet

Eight Steps To Nailing Your Lap Band Pre-Op Diet

Deciding to undergo lap band surgery is often a difficult and arduous process. Not only do you have to go through surgery and anticipate side effects and risks associated with a procedure, but you also have to change your lifestyle. At BariBuilder, we want you to succeed in your health and weight loss goals. Adhering to your lap band pre-op diet is often a window into how you will succeed in your weight loss journey. Here are eight steps to help you nail your lap band pre-op diet so that you are ready for surgery and the lifestyle changes.

Step One: Learn Everything You Can About Lap Band Surgery

Educating yourself about lap band surgery is paramount. Understanding how your anatomy will change after surgery can help you plan for the behavioral and lifestyle changes you will need to make. Yet, learning about your surgery goes beyond the operating room. For example, you will need to know your surgeon's requirements before surgery, your recovery, and how your diet will need to change after surgery.

Similarly, you must understand why a pre lap band diet is essential for your success. If you can follow a diet before surgery, you will be able to prove to yourself, and your doctor, that you are ready to make permanent lifestyle changes to meet your health goals. Also, a pre lap band surgery diet can lower your risk for severe complications during and after the procedure.

Do your research and reach out to people and healthcare professionals to learn more about lap band surgery.

Step Two: Set Health Goals

Whether you are trying to complete a degree, save a certain amount of money, or lose excess weight, goal setting is essential. Write out your health goals on paper and then envision how you will meet them. You will want to go beyond just listing your goals by creating a road map of how you will achieve them. For example, if you're going to lose 50 pounds, go beyond the number on the scale. Getting very specific is helpful. Here are a few examples you may want to consider:

  • I will go on a 4-mile hike with my partner next fall.
  • I will find a physical activity that I enjoy doing three times a week.
  • I will meet with a bi-monthly support group following my lap band procedure.
  • I will plan out my weekly meals and shop for groceries on Sundays.

Step Three: Educate Yourself About Nutrition

Regrettably, many Americans are uneducated about nutrition. We do not learn about food and our body's nutritional needs in school, and we often don't get that information from home either. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons obesity rates are climbing in the U.S. and other developed countries. Nonetheless, anyone can learn about nutrition at any stage in their life. And, if you are considering weight loss surgery, knowing your nutritional needs is a must.

Your bariatric surgeon likely works together with a nutritionist in their office. This person will be a valuable resource before and after surgery. Connecting with your nutritionist right away can help you succeed in your pre-surgery diet for a lap band. Furthermore, there is so much information available online about nutrition. An excellent place to start is ChooseMyPlate.

Working with a nutritionist can help you better understand your unique nutritional needs as you prepare for lap band surgery.

Step Four: Prepare Your Kitchen

A great way to begin preparing for a lap band surgery diet is to clean up your kitchen. You will need to scour your kitchen if you want to succeed in your lap band surgery pre-op diet. Often, our kitchens lack the right tools to prepare healthy meals. Also, we usually store foods that will not support weight loss, so it is essential to give them away or dispose of them to limit temptation.

Things to consider when you are preparing your kitchen:

Pantry/Cupboards - Non-perishable foods often contain highly processed ingredients that will not support a healthy lap band diet pre-surgery or post-surgery. Study your pre lap band surgery diet carefully and get rid of any foods not listed. Once your shelves are clean, only add foods on your diet (like your protein powders and meal replacement shakes).

Refrigerator - Like the pantry, purge your fridge of any foods that are not on your pre-op lap band diet. Also, be critical about condiments, as they tend to be high in sugar and unhealthy fats.

Secret Stashes - If you want to succeed, do not test your self-restraint. Instead of keeping a secret spot for treats, get rid of the temptation entirely. Instead, look at approved treats on your lap band pre-surgery diet and keep a few of those on hand.

Tools - Chances are, you will be preparing your food a little differently. For example, you likely will benefit from a blender to make smoothies. Some handy kitchen tools include:

  • Meal prep containers
  • Mixing bowls with lids
  • Blender and blender bottle
  • Food scale
  • Measuring cups
  • Portion control plates
  • Meat thermometer
  • Vegetable spiralizer
Prepare your kitchen before you start your pre-lap band surgery diet.

Step Five: Start Meal Planning for Your Lap Band Pre-Op Diet

Meal prep will be a key to shedding pounds and maintaining your weight loss. When we don't meal plan, we leave too much room for making poor choices that lead us to unhealthy meals. Be strict on meal planning and prep. Choose a day that works best for your schedule to plan, shop, and even prepare certain items ahead of time.

Step Six: Talk To The People In Your Circle

The decision to undergo weight loss surgery, and change your lifestyle and eating habits is very personal. However, the people around you will also be affected (and one hopes that it would be a positive change for everyone close to you!). Yet, even though your mind is set on becoming healthy, the people you live with may not be on the same page.

Be open about your weight loss goals talk to them about what changes you will be making. Specifically, make sure they know how important your lap band pre-op diet is, and how you will need to utilize your space in the kitchen a little differently. Designate your shelf in the pantry and fridge just for your foods so that everyone can meet their needs.

Being open with your loved ones about your dietary needs pre and post lap band surgery is crucial for your body and relationships.

Finally, there is a lot of emotion involved in weight loss surgery for you and those around you. Being open with your loved ones is crucial, but sometimes you also need support outside of your circle. Talking with a therapist specializing in bariatric weight loss can help you, your partner, children, and other loved ones if this transition is challenging.

Step Seven: Know Your Vitamin Requirements

Bariatric weight loss requires a calorie deficit. Unfortunately, that also means that you inadvertently have a nutrient deficit as well. People who have lap band surgery (and other bariatric surgeries) need personalized vitamin regimens to prevent nutrient deficiencies such as iron, folate, vitamin D, and calcium. Your bariatric surgeon and nutritionist can help identify your unique nutritional needs in your pre-op lap band diet.

Step Eight: Start Exercising

Many bariatric surgeons will require that you lose a specific percentage of weight before they operate. There are two reasons for this in a lap band procedure. Firstly, weight loss helps reduce your risk of complications during and after surgery. The size of your liver is of particular concern, as an enlarged fatty liver is common in obesity and increases your risks for complications. Also, decreasing the size of your liver helps your surgeon to see better during the operation. Following your pre-surgical diet for lap band is the primary way to shrink your liver. Secondly, pre-surgery weight loss helps solidify your commitment to making lifelong changes to improve your health.

Starting a regular exercise regime can give you a jump start on your weight loss goals and reduce your risk for complications from surgery.

Want to discuss this article or ask a question? Join our Facebook community of peers just like you.

Julia Rae Walker, RN, BSN, BA


Julia is an experienced critical care nurse with a background in pediatric and adult patient populations. Her passion is helping patients maximize their quality of life.

Gintas Antanavicius, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Medical Reviewer

Dr. G is a co-founder of BariBuilder. A US-based expert surgeon with over 10 years of bariatric experience, he regularly publishes research in medical journals like SOARD, Obesity Surgery, etc.