Bariatric surgery is an excellent surgical tool that can help limit the amount of food you consume and reduce unhealthy weight. After bariatric surgery, it is essential to significantly improve your eating habits and lifestyle to achieve maximum results. You will lose weight quickly after bariatric surgery and a proper bariatric surgery diet is necessary for proper healing, maintaining lean body mass and skin elasticity, staying hydrated as well as for minimizing hair loss.
The Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence at La Peer Surgery Center is made up of a talented team of bariatric surgeons and weight loss specialists. These doctors have received many years of intensive medical schooling, residency and training and they continue to exude excellence in the area of bariatric medicine, including general patient care and support.
Ideally, your diet should have improved before bariatric weight loss surgery to get you into healthy eating habits. Immediately after bariatric surgery, your eating habits will have a permanent impact on your lifestyle. It generally takes about 9-12 weeks for you to gradually progress to eating solid foods after the surgery.
Here are several primary nutrition guidelines to follow post surgery:
- Talk with your doctor about an adequate diet which will promote weight loss while maintaining good health at a lower weight
- Consume required amounts of protein to minimize loss of lean body mass and promote healing
- Drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration
- Incorporate vitamin and mineral supplements
Eating Methods After Bariatric Surgery
After bariatric surgery, most patients will be on a liquid only diet for two to three weeks. About three weeks post-surgery, the bariatric diet is typically advanced to soft foods for the next six to eight weeks. Gradually, the patient will transition to regular consistency foods within the next six to nine months.
It is common to feel a sensation of fullness from liquids after bariatric surgery. In the first several days after surgery this sensation may limit your ability or desire to follow the necessary dietary guidelines established by your doctor. In time, you should find it easier to meet the daily goals of your post-bariatric surgery diet.
Protein is essential to promote healing and maintaining muscle mass after weight loss surgery. It may also help decrease hair loss, which can often be associated with rapid weight loss. Talk to you doctor about the amount of protein you should consume per day. High protein liquids are a great alternative to hard foods until you are able to eat foods of regular consistency. During the first several months, you may still need to get some of your protein from supplements until you are able to eat enough solid food to meet your nutritional requirements.
Because you are not able to eat large amounts of food at once after bariatric surgery, it’s recommended to plan small meals four to six times each day.
Pay close attention to when you are full. Indications of fullness may be a pressure, tightness, or heaviness in the middle of your abdomen. Feelings of nausea, regurgitation, or heartburn can be indications that too much food has been eaten or the meal was eaten too quickly. The amount of food you are able to eat will continue to be limited post bariatric surgery so choose foods wisely to avoid filling up on foods with little to nutritional value.
Common causes of eating related discomfort include: eating too quickly, not chewing food well, eating large amounts of food at once, eating solid foods too soon post surgery, or drinking liquids either meals or too quickly after meals.
Once you have mastered how to eat after your bariatric surgery and have healed properly, you can start to incorporate more foods in time and transition to solid foods. Eventually, you will likely be able to eat most of what you were eating before you had the surgery, but in much smaller amounts.
For long-term success, it’s important to speak with your doctor about healthy food choices including lean meat or vegetable protein, low-fat dairy, incorporating fruit and vegetables into your diet, and avoiding foods high in fat and sugar.
5 Bariatric Surgery Diet Tips for Success
1. Eat slowly and be aware of when you feel full. When you feel full, don’t eat more! If you continue to indulge, you may develop intense chest pain or begin to feel nauseated.
2. Chew your food! You need to make sure you chew your food well to make digestion easier.
3. Avoid drinking fluids with your meals. If you fill up your small gastric pouch with liquid first or during meals, you will not have room for food. In addition, the liquids may accelerate passage of the solid food from the stomach and could cause discomfort.
4. Drink enough fluid between meals to meet your fluid requirements. To prevent dehydration after bariatric surgery, you need at least six to eight cups of fluid daily.
5. Avoid food and beverages high in fat and sugar after bariatric surgery. High sugar foods can cause what’s known as “dumping syndrome.” Post bariatric surgery, some patients’ feel light- headed or even faint after consuming concentrated sugar. High fat foods could make you feel nauseated. High fat foods are high in calories as well and will slow down your weight loss.
Contact the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence Today
If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our weight loss specialists, feel free to call the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence at (888) 391-0182 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to talking and working towards a course of treatment as well as provide counseling on a bariatric surgery diet after your operation.
Next, read about post operative bariatric care.