Although having a gastric bypass surgery is the first step for the obese or morbidly obese to losing weight, it is only the first step. Combined with a proper diet and physical activity, it’s scientifically proven to be the best way to lose excess weight and keep that weight off.
A Quick Look at Gastric Bypass Surgery
Also known as the Roux-en-Y, the gastric bypass procedure involves creating a small pouch in the stomach where it meets the esophagus. The rest of the stomach is sealed off, never to see food again. That small pouch is now the stomach, linked to the “roux limb” part of the small intestine.
Similar to other bariatric surgeries, this procedure is designed to help the patient lose weight by limiting the amounts of food allowed into the stomach at any one time. The stomach still performs the same functions, just on a much smaller scale.
That’s why the strict diet in the day, weeks, months, and years is so important. Let’s say you have a balloon that can hold a certain amount of air. When you try to put that same amount of air into a balloon that can only hold 25 percent of that air, what happens?
There really isn’t a danger of the smaller pouch exploding per se. But too much food or liquid at one time can cause discomfort, severe pain, and even injury. Other results of eating too much after a weight loss surgery include dumping. This is when food goes directly into the small intestine before being properly digested.
This is followed by a bloated feeling, feeling of nausea, and usually diarrhea. By forcing too much food intake, the surgery itself could also be compromised, especially shortly after surgery. That’s why it is extremely important to follow the personalized diet plan laid out by a dietitian or nutritionist.
Gastric Bypass Diet at a Glance
After the gastric bypass has been performed, you will begin the first phase of your diet. For the first two weeks, you will keep to an all-liquid diet augmented with supplements to help provide vitamins, protein, and other nutrients. During this time – and really for the rest of your life – it’s important to stay hydrated.
Water is the best way to do this, and you will need to drink at least 96 ounces every day to prevent dehydration. Because you won’t be getting any additional hydration from foods, it’s very important that you reach this goal every day.
This will help you feel full and along with the protein supplements keep your body nourished. If water is just too bland for you, consider throwing in a slice of lemon or another citrus fruit to add a little flavor. Talk to your dietitian about drinking protein shakes to meet your protein requirement.
Don’t gulp the water, but rather take little sips throughout the day. Remember, your stomach is much smaller now and won’t be able to handle too much. Avoid liquids high in sugar and stay away from carbonated drinks that may upset the stomach.
As the weeks turn to months, soft foods and then solid foods will be introduced to the diet. By this time, hormonal changes in your body will diminish the number of hunger pangs you feel and you’ll adapt to the smaller intake of food.
In the beginning, do not drink water with your meals. Your stomach will fill up before getting the amount of food you need. You still need the water, so wait at least 60 minutes before having a few sips. This will allow the stomach to properly digest the food you’ve just eaten.
Your long-term meal plan will include healthy, natural, or unprocessed foods. You will eat foods that are low in fat and sugar and you will be eating small meals for the rest of your life. This will be a complete lifestyle change, but an important part of living a healthy – and longer – life.
Are You A Candidate For Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Many weight-loss patients have heard the comments – that surgery is the “easy way out.” Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. There is still a long way to go and it takes a lot of determination to lose that initial weight and keep it off.
Unfortunately, there are some patients that don’t feel the need to change their eating habits or will decline to follow a workout schedule. That’s why before any patient is admitted into the WeightWise program, they will meet with a surgeon to talk about the past and the future.
This will include patient and family history, any injuries that may complicate meeting goals, and what brought about the weight gain in the first place. However, it isn’t a one-way conversation. This is the time for the patient to discuss what they want from the procedure and how to meet those goals.
It’s the first step of the WeightWise Program, designed to give our patients the best possible experience and care during this life-changing decision. Once accepted, you will then meet with our dietitians and exercise physiologists to talk about immediate and life-long changes to your lifestyle.
This includes what and how much you eat, including how to avoid foods detrimental to your weight-loss journey. Although our laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery has decreased the amount of recuperation you’ll need, your physical activity will start slowly and begin to increase as you gain strength, flexibility, and stamina.
We feel it’s important to provide all three phases of the procedure under one roof to make things as easy as possible for you. After all, you’ll be working on this new lifestyle for the rest of your life! WeightWise understands how difficult it can be at first, so we also assign you a patient advocate.
We like to refer to these staff members as your own personal cheerleader. Here to pick you up when you’re feeling down, answer questions, or just to listen after a particularly hard day. The first weeks or months can be hard so we want to be there for you when you need it.
If you’re thinking about a gastric bypass procedure or another type of bariatric surgery, watch our free online seminar for more information. When you’re ready, contact WeightWise and we’ll set up an appointment for you to meet with our surgeon. We look forward to hearing from you!