published by Bariatric Choice 12/20/2015
Weight loss surgery is an excellent tool to help you lose weight. To help ensure success, though, you must also follow the post-bariatric surgery diet given to you by your surgeon and/or dietician. This diet will go through stages, from clear liquids shortly after your surgery to full liquids, and then from soft foods to more solid ones. Typically, it takes about 9-12 weeks to gradually progress to eating solid foods again. “Here’s a tip that really helps,” says dietician Lori Rosenthal, who specializes in weight loss and bariatric issues. “If you don’t own a food, then you can’t eat it. So, if there are trigger foods that you struggle to control, get them out of the house.
There is enough temptation in life, overall, so you need your house to be safe. If people in your family want to keep the food in the home, let them know how crucial it is to your health that you keep it out. Family members can still eat the food – just not at home.” She also adds suggestions for when cravings hit. “This surgery is a major life event,” she acknowledges, “so you’ll need alternative coping methods when you are stressed or otherwise feeling negative emotions. That might be walking or listening to music or writing in a journal.” Ideally, you will have started to incorporate healthy eating habits before your surgery, such as eating more protein and eating smaller meals.
You’ll also need to take supplements to provide vitamins, minerals and nutrients – include protein – that you can no longer naturally absorb in your stomach and intestine. Plus, you’ll likely need liquid protein supplements for at least the first few months, post-surgery, and perhaps much longer, even for a lifetime. That’s because of the challenges presented by the minimum protein requirements for patients:
Supplements are typically portion-controlled and can include:
Post bariatric surgery diet guidelines will vary by surgeon and you must strictly comply with your surgeon's or dietician's diet guidelines. Here is a typical plan:
After gastric bypass surgery, your newly created stomach pouch, which is about the size of a walnut, is healing. It is absolutely essential to follow specific bariatric eating guidelines that will ensure that you properly heal, while obtaining adequate nutrition. In most cases, you'll will need to follow a very specific gastric bypass or bariatric diet for approximately three months. Once the pouch has healed, portion sizes must remain small with reduced caloric intake to continue your weight loss. Your gastic bypass diet, which your surgeon or dietitian will create for you, typically involves a four-phase plan. You will advance gradually through the phases, depending on your tolerance. Keep in mind, every person is different and will progress through the phases of the post-surgery bariatric diet at a different rate:
Avoid using a straw and continue to sip slowly throughout the day. In a 30-minute period, you should drink 1 to 2 ounces.
Continue to drink plenty of fluid, but do NOT eat and drink at the same time. Typical recommendation: stop drinking fluids approximately 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to eat, then wait another 20 to 30 minutes before drinking fluids again. To give time for your stomach pouch / opening to heal, pureed foods are usually eaten for three to four weeks.
During this phase, eat multiple small meals daily, During this diet transition, you will eat many small meals a day – perhaps six, transitioning down to four – and sip water as directed in between. Meals should include protein rich foods, such as:
You will usually eat soft foods for about eight weeks before progressing to regular texture foods, as recommended by your surgeon of dietitian. After three months, you'll typically progress to eating regular foods with three small meals and three healthy snacks daily. Lean sources of protein are crucial in each meal, along with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Your surgeon or dietician will usually prescribe a reduced calorie diet (1000-1200 calories per day) to continue your weight loss. Continue to limit your intake of high-sugar, high fat foods that are loaded with calories, but devoid of nutrients. You'll also need continue to take vitamin and mineral supplements for life, to compensate for the nutrients that you're no longer able to absorb through the bypassed parts of your stomach and intestine.
After you ask your surgeon and/or dietician about your specific needs, take a look at the bariatric vitamins and minerals available at Bariatric Choice plus the protein supplements and products we offer. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.