Written By: Emma Squillace
The gastric balloon is a device that we put in your stomach – without using surgery – for 6 months. This balloon (or multiple balloons), takes up room and helps you lose weight. People who have the balloon implanted say they feel full after eating small meals, and go for longer without feeling hungry. But maybe even more important than the actual balloons is the habits that are learned during the time with these devices. Here are 5 health habits our balloon patients say have helped them, not only during the time with their balloons, but after their balloons are removed also. These habits are great for both the active weight loss phase, and the maintenance phase as well.
- Drink lots of water. One important habit when you have a gastric balloon is to drink more water than you’re used to. Keeping water in your stomach helps the balloons stay buoyant. Think about how you feel when your stomach is full with food: when you feel that pressure at the top of your stomach, you know you are truly not hungry. Drinking water can help create that same feeling with balloons. Water helps the balloons stay afloat. This same technique can help without balloons. Drinking enough water before meals can help reduce feelings of hunger, and can help you feel more satiated.
- Pick your calories wisely. When you have a balloon, your meals are going to be small because there is not enough room in your stomach for what most of us consider ‘full size’ meals. When your meals are smaller, you need to pick your foods carefully because it’s still critical to get in all your nutrients. Balloon patients learn how to ensure they’re getting enough protein and veggies with every meal. This is a great habit for anyone: start with protein, fruits, and vegetables. Once you’ve eaten those, if there is room for a moderate amount of carbs, then that is fine too. Picking wisely is all about balance and priorities.
- Go for walks. When you have a gastric balloon in place, it may be difficult to do rigorous exercise like running. However, balloon patients know that something lower impact – like walking – is an excellent way to get into an exercise routine. If you are trying to lose weight and feel discouraged by your inability to jog for long, or do a high intensity spin class, do not be so hard on yourself. Even light exercise will help. That will give you time to build up to more intense exercise as you see progress.
- Avoid perfectionism. Did you eat a piece of pizza, even though that was the opposite of what you planned to do? Keep in mind, no one’s weight loss plan was ever ruined by a single piece of pizza. There is NO such thing as a “perfect diet”. The most important thing is that you eat and choose well most of the time. If you have some birthday cake, a margarita, or a meatball sandwich now and then – that’s ok. What’s more important is that most of the time you make choices that will lead you towards your weight loss goal. Do not let one ‘unhealthy’ choice derail all of your progress.
- Track small goals. If your ultimate goal is to lose 80 pounds, it’s important NOT to think of that goal as your everyday measure of progress. If you do, it’s easy to feel discouraged when you’ve lost “only” 5 or 10 pounds. Instead, our most successful patients celebrate small victories. It’s up to you to decide what those are. Maybe it’s losing 10 pounds. Maybe it’s walking 2 miles without a rest. Or maybe it’s bringing your lunch to work every day for a week. Whatever your mini goals are, they’re so important to your ultimate success. Balloon patients know not to let themselves get lost in one big goal, that seems insurmountable at first.
If you have a gastric balloon, you are likely learning lots of weight loss lessons during your initial 6 months with the balloons. But even if you have not had weight loss surgery, or a non surgical solution like the weight loss balloon, you can benefits from the lessons our patients learn on their journeys. And if you feel as though you want an additional tool to help in weight loss of 30 – 100+ lbs, give us a call. We can explain your options, and answer any questions you have. We can be reached at (855) 690-0565.