If you are considering bariatric surgery, your goal is to lose weight. Most of the pounds you lose will be after your weight loss surgery, but it’s a good idea to try and shed some pounds before your surgery too! Educating yourself on nutrition and exercising are great ways to get in the mindset you’ll need to be in after the surgery.
After your surgery is where the hard work and dedication continues. Depending on which weight loss surgery you have and your individual needs, the guidelines your surgeon sets for you may vary. But the progression of your diet to normal foods will be the same. After bariatric surgery you will need to start with a liquid diet and progress to pureed, soft and then solid food over the course of 3-4 weeks. It’s important to follow your doctor’s guidelines for your health and to maintain your weight loss.
During your consultation with our bariatric nutritionist, you will learn a great deal about portion size and the right foods to eat. You will receive a booklet that serves as your guide to progression of your diet after surgery. With your surgery comes new eating restrictions. Your stomach is nowhere near the size it used to be, and it simply can’t hold all the food it previously did. While your body knows this, your mind may not. Here are some things to remember after surgery to keep your diet on track.
Drinking in between meals keeps you hydrated and helps you feel full sooner. You have to be careful with this though and remember to not drink with your meals. Because your stomach size is significantly reduced after bariatric surgery, it fills quickly and can’t handle very much at once.
If you are usually a fast eater, slow it down. Chewing your food well makes your meal last longer and aids the digestive process. Also your stomach is not large enough to handle a lot of food at once. Eating too fast can cause problems like pain, and even vomiting.
A trick to get used to your new portion size is using smaller plates instead of your normal plate size. This makes it seem like you have more food. You will feel full with just a small amount of food, generally between 1 and 3 ounces.
Eating foods with lots of sugar or fat isn’t good for weight loss, and can be hard on your new stomach and even your body.
Learning new eating habits after bariatric surgery is a very important component to weight loss but that’s not all there is to it. To lose weight and get healthy you need to exercise regularly. Exercise will burn calories and help speed up your metabolism. Some activities will be restricted after surgery while you heal, but it is important to find an exercise routine you can maintain. This includes starting slowly and working up to your exercise goals.
Another subject worth mentioning is finding the right support during your weight loss journey. With all the changes that come after weight loss surgery it can be bard to keep up. Having your friends and family support you is wonderful, but sometimes it can be helpful to talk to others who are going through the same thing. People who attend support groups after bariatric surgery often lose more weight than those who don’t. We have a free monthly support group that meets on the fourth Tuesday’s of every month at SRMC.
So along with finding the right support system for you, remember to stick to your diet guidelines, and your exercise routine. Listening to your body and what it is telling you is key. If you remember these tips you’ll be well on the way to your weight loss goals!