I had this question allot when I first was banded by others who were on their journey or who were researching before their surgery. I will tell you from personal experience for me, it is a good thing to measure what I put in my mouth.
The reason is fairly simple. You then can be certain the exact amount of food you are eating. I know we think we are capable of eyeballing what is acceptable. I have to admit for me I was not. I love to cook, and I eyeball many measurements when I do. But when I thought I knew what a cup was of food, I was sadly mistaken. I was even more mistaken at 1/2 cup of food. 3 ounces of meat? what does that look like.....hmmmmm let me see
Yep that is correct 3 ounces of meat is equivalent to a deck of playing cards in thickness as well as length. WOW had I been over eating in all departments. When was the last time you saw anyone with that amount of food on their plates?
The American Heart Association states that for good cardiovascular health we should limit our intake of red meat to no more than 3 ounces. I bet the Steak Houses in the world hate to hear that. The smallest steak I have ever seen on a menu is 10 ounces I believe.
I was taught after my banding by my nutritionist that you should measure what your pouch will hold at any given time. For each of us that will be different since we all come in different shapes and sizes and with different fill levels no one pouch is the same.
To do this she suggested I eat cottage cheese until I am totally full. This should be somewhere between 4 and 6 ounces. This is NOT to be done immediately after surgery however. This is after you have had a fill or 6 weeks after surgery for those of us who did not have fills until much later. The reason, is then you know, just how much your pouch will hold, and you should never push past this amount. In fact she suggested eating an ounce less. By following this you do not risk stretching the pouch or dilating it.
So I can not say enough about measuring, and being certain. I think this helps us to stay on the straight and narrow. I use a small plate and baby utensils and I am almost four years out from surgery. I hate how a regular fork and knife feel in my hands they are huge. I like that they keep me eating smaller bites and remind me to chew my food.
There is much to relearn about nutrition and eating habits after getting the band. What works for one may not for someone else. This just works for me. I try to encourage those who ask not to "eyeball" their measurements. Because you are most always very wrong. How does this work when dining out, well you can always take a container with you that is the exact amount that you can eat and fill it with your food and eat it. I know that ordering a full meal will never do for me because just seeing that much food makes me feel ill, especially now with my "Green Zone" fill.
I have found that sharing a meal works best for me when I dine out. I eat off of Alan's plate most of the time. I carry my Lap Band card with me that I got when I had my surgery and I am not afraid to let the restaurant know about my band. Most are willing to accommodate you when they know you can only eat the small portion.
So to answer this post's question.......I think measuring is one of the essential rules for Lap Band success.