When the phrase “healthy diet” is thrown around, many of us envision nothing but celery, carrots, and broccoli. While it’s true some vegetables will play a big part in your post-surgery diet, it’s not all leafy green produce. But you will have to take extra care in choosing what foods to eat.

For the first two weeks after bariatric surgery, you’ll be limited to a strict all-liquid diet along with protein supplements. Soft foods high in protein will come along two weeks post-op, and then after the first month, solid foods will be introduced.

Almost immediately, the body will begin to adapt to having a smaller stomach and less intake of food and drink. These hormonal changes will decrease the number of hunger pangs you experience and will help you feel fuller, faster. Even though you’ll be eating less, you’ll still need to be careful of empty calories.

The reason is clear: If your stomach won’t hold as much food, it’s important to make the food you do eat count. A single bag of potato chips is taking up the space that healthier, leaner foods like chicken, should be occupying. In some cases, certain vegetables are off-limits, too. Fruit is kept off the menu until the patient has reached the goal weight, usually one to two years post-op.

Foods to avoid include certain high-starch produce. High-sugar foods like pastries or sweets will need to be removed from your diet completely. The same with fried foods or starches (bread, pasta, etc.). Remember – it was the over-indulgence of these kinds of foods that may have led to weight gain in the beginning.

While some fats or carbs can be useful for the body, they must be weighed against other foods that will help the body more. Because your food intake will be greatly reduced, you must be mindful of what kind of foods you put into your system.

Talk To Experts

That’s why it’s so important to talk with a dietitian before the surgery to get a fuller understanding of your diet plan right after bariatric surgery as well as the rest of your life. Fruits and some vegetables are high in carbohydrates and sugars, which will work against your plan to lose weight.

Not only will your diet change, how you eat and drink will change, too. In the weeks and months after a gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or duodenal switch, your body is adapting to the weight-loss surgery. But no amount of adaptation will help if you eat too much, too fast.

Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome is how the body reacts when there’s too much intake of food and drink for the stomach. When that happens, the stomach works to get rid of the food as fast as possible. This could lead to nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea because food and gastric juices are forced into the small intestine to fast.

This can also happen if you eat a meal that has too much fat and simple sugars. Concentrated sugars enter the small intestine and cause fluid to enter it quickly. Other guidelines include drinking at least 96 ounces of liquid to stay hydrated.

The liquid can be water, protein shakes, non-carbonated, non-caffeine, and sugar-free fruit juices. Although there are some that believe 30 minutes is long enough to wait for water, WeightWise recommends waiting 60 minutes after eating.

A Complete Program

Having surgery to make a smaller stomach and healthy eating habits in the months after surgery (and the rest of your life) will go a long way to helping you lose weight. But you’re not all the way there just yet. The best way to lose weight in the short term – and keep it off long term – is by adding physical activity to your lifestyle as well.

We offer all three aspects of weight loss at WeightWise. Before any patient is accepted into our program, they will have a consultation with one of our surgeons. This is where you’ll learn how exercise along with the surgery and improved diet will contribute to the overall success of your weight-loss plan.

Through laparoscopic surgery, many of our patients are able to return to work within a few days. It also means you will be able to begin an exercise program much faster than with open surgery. Check with your general care doctor about limits – if any – you may have that will restrict certain activities.

WeightWise exercise physiologists will talk with you about setting goals, proper techniques, and routines that will help with flexibility, cardiovascular health, and building muscle mass. You aren’t training to become a gymnast, marathoner, or weight lifting champion. But you will be living a much healthier lifestyle than you did before.

Is it time to turn your life around with a healthier lifestyle or do you want to be able to do all of the physical things you could do when you were younger? Watch our FREE online seminar to see why our program has been so successful over the years. When you are ready, schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons. We look forward to hearing from you.

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