Making good food choices and eating a balanced diet will help you achieve lasting success with bariatric surgery and maintain a healthy weight for life.
Dietry changes after weight loss surgery actually begin before you have your surgery. In this blog I will discuss with you some of the key elements and the reasons why it is important to know about these changes so that you can set yourself up for lasting success.
Different phases of Diet after Weight Loss Surgery
There are three key phases of dietary changes after any weight loss surgery and it is important to prepare yourself for these in consultation with your bariatric surgeon and the dietitian’s.
Your bariatric surgeon and dietitian will advance you through each phase until you’re ready for the final, lifelong phase.
Phase 1 : Before Surgery Phase
Prior to surgery your surgeon will instruct you to make certain dietary changes for a variety of reasons. There are a few key reasons for the pre surgery low calorie diet .
Here are the 3 most important reasons
1. To shrink your liver so that the surgery can be performed laparoscopically
2. It assists with your post-surgical recovery as every kilo of the weight you lose BEFORE surgery will help you recover faster AFTER surgery
3. Pre surgical weight loss kickstarts your weight loss journey by giving you a mental boost until such time that the effect of surgery takes over.
Phase 2 : Eating After Weight Loss Surgery Phase
Immediately after surgery, you will most likely have an X ray do look for any issues or complications with the procedure. This is generally done the day after surgery. Once the X ray has being cleared you will be started on a dyett which will allow you to gradually progress in texture.
The table below outlines the progression for most bariatric surgery patients. Remember, everyone is different and will progress at different speeds. Eating after weight loss surgery will become easier over time, as you progress through the post surgery diet plan.
First 14 Days after Surgery
During the first three days following your surgery, your doctor will most likely instruct you to remain on a clear liquid diet. This allows your stomach to heal from the procedure. In general patients are not too hungry right after surgery. However, it is very important to hydrate yourself well to prevent dehydration.
Some suggestion of allowed fluids are
Tea, Coffee, Soups, Optifast or Optislim and Water
My 3 tips for this phase
- Avoid sugary liquids, likes apple juice
- Focus on keeping yourself well hydrated .Use protein powder if you like
- Have a short walk after having a drink.This will allow your stomach to handle the fluids better
Two weeks after Surgery
During this time you will typically move on to a pureed diet. This type of diet consists of foods with a consistency thin enough to be sucked through a straw. Be sure to eat plenty of protein during this time to continue healing well and build muscle mass as you lose weight.
You might want to try “Gut Reset Smoothie” during this phase
Three weeks after Surgery
During this phase you can begin adding soft foods into your diet. Acceptable foods include mashed potatoes, avacadoes, scrambled eggs and other foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Try to avoid dry foods, which may cause discomfort. As you begin eating soft foods, be sure to take your time. In order to avoid nausea and vomiting, cut your food in your plate in small pieces and chew thoroughly before swallowing. Do not rush into finishing eating.
Phase 3 : After surgery Life Long Phase
During this phase you will be eating regular food. You will need to eat slowly and you’re your food well to prevent it from getting “stuck”. Some good rules to follow here are
- It is a good plan to schedule your meals evenly through the day.
- Eat small and often.
- Try to not skip meals since it will have the potential of making you hungry and causing you to be thinking about food frequently. This will likely make you eat faster and too much at your next meal.
EATING MINDFULLY FOR LIFE
When eating solid foods, you’ll feel full much quicker. A few bites can fill you up because your stomach pouch can only hold a small amount of food, about a tablespoon. Eating mindfully really means that you have to be focused and paying attention to your knew stomach size vile having meals. And then you are full you should learn to push the plate away. Also try and avoid eating while working on computer screens or watching movies. Is is normal for your stomach pouch to l expand slightly over time. Once it’s larger, the pouch will hold up to a cup of food.
Mindful eating habits will prevent it from stretching out excessively causing weight regain.
General guidelines to follow after weight loss surgery:
- Eat your food slowly and make sure to chew it completely.
- Swallow food only when it’s smooth because the opening between the intestines and your stomach pouch is small. If your food isn’t chewed well, it can block that opening.
- Take 30-40 minutes to eat your meal. If you eat too fast, you can get sick or experience pain under the breastbone.
- When you feel full, i stop eating.
Don’t mix solids with liquids as this will cause the ingested food to slide down quicker making you hungrier more often and causing you to over eat.
When drinking water, always take small sips. Avoid consuming liquids 60 minutes after eating. During mealtime, don’t drink anything. Liquids can make you feel full quickly and prevent you from eating healthy.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure to choose:
1. Protein food FIRST
2. Vegetable SECOND
3. Fruit THIRD
4. Starch/grain LAST if at all
For your after-surgery diet, make sure your diet has enough vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Proteins are the most needed, especially after your surgery. They will help build your muscles and tissues and even help with your healing. Eating plant based sources of protein like tofu,quinoa and beans also helps in building good gut bacteria.Avoid foods with high in calories, alcohol, and sugary and carbonated drinks.
Weight loss surgery is a big undertaking for the body and requires time for adjustment. Every individual is different and their needs vary based on bear individual requirements and the type of surgery. Always consult your surgeon and the dietitian and work closely with them.
Our team is here to support you on your journey before, after and well beyond your weight loss surgery.
People who work closely with their Dietitian and Surgeon to achieve their weight loss goals are far more likely to achieve the lifestyle changes they want.
Nutrition is critical for success so early counselling with a dietitian prepares you for the long-term diet and lifestyle changes you must implement and set up for success after surgery.
Dr Arun Dhir.
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