We all know about the benefits of eating healthy food and exercising. The sad truth is that many people don’t do so well at controlling their dietary intake. For some, the temptation to avoid “bad” foods may be too great. And, for others, there could be medical reasons why they can’t control their weight.

One of the most successful ways to control what you eat is by undergoing gastric band surgery. It’s a medical procedure that helps you to limit your food intake and works well for many folks. If you have trouble controlling your weight, should you consider gastric band surgery?

What is a gastric band?

In a nutshell, a gastric band is a balloon shaped like a tube that gets fitted around your stomach. The contents of the balloon can get sized by injecting fluid into it during surgery.

The way that it works is simple. Rather than allowing all food to flow into your stomach, it limits what gets entered. The food gets kept in a “pouch” above the band. That means you feel fuller quicker than you used to before the surgery. The result? A lower intake of food means that you can better control your weight. And it also means you can lower your food consumption.

How well does it work?

Many scientific studies got undertaken into the effects of gastric banding. They show people that use them often lose around half to two-thirds of excess weight within two years.

Getting a gastric band means you have a long-term way to control your weight. You do have the choice of getting it removed in the future if you wish that to happen.

Are there any risks involved with the procedure?

The process of having a gastric band fitted takes just 60 minutes. It gets done using keyhole surgery, meaning you don’t need to have a large cut done on your abdomen.

As with any surgery, there are some risks involved with the procedure. But, in general, it’s quick and easy to get carried out and with no major side effects. You may feel some discomfort after the surgery, but that can get taken care of with pain relief.

Should I get gastric band surgery done?

The answer will depend on your circumstances. Doctors usually suggest the surgery if your BMI (body mass index) is more than 40. Sometimes it’s also recommended if it’s 35 or over, and you have diabetes or high blood pressure.

A gastric band isn’t a miracle weight loss cure. Doctors that suggest you have it done will ensure you make changes to your lifestyle too. For example, eating less junk food and doing regular exercise.

Are there any alternatives?

The conventional way to lose weight is by lowering your calorie intake and exercising. Smartphone apps like MyFitnessPal make it easy to document what you eat each day. That way, you will know whether you’ve reached your calorie limit or not.

Simple exercises can get taken up, such as walking, jogging or cycling. You could also join your local gym and do things like CrossFit and swimming too.