At WeightWise, we believe bariatric surgery is just one part of the excess weight loss puzzle. The best results occur when the procedure, such as the duodenal switch, gastric sleeve, or gastric bypass, is followed up with an improved diet and exercise. It’s been proven that all three steps together are the best way to lose excess weight and keep it off long term.
In fact, some might say the surgery is the easiest part. More than 95 percent of WeightWise procedures are performed laparoscopically, where many small incisions are used instead of one large one. This allows our patients to return to normal day-to-day activities almost immediately.
For many, the hardest part of the weight loss system is the complete lifestyle change that has to happen afterward. Your eating habits will need to change postoperatively, starting right after surgery. The first two weeks consist of a full-liquid diet coupled with supplements.
During the second two weeks, small portion sizes of softer foods consisting of high protein are introduced. In the months after surgery, solid foods are introduced according to the meal plan set out by your surgeon and other WeightWise staff, such as dietitians.
The goal of the early stage is to help your body prepare for small meals, low-calorie foods, and an overall healthier eating schedule. Physical changes occur in the body during this time as hormones go to work to allow patients to feel fuller, faster and lose weight more efficiently.
Deviation from the early diet can lead to complications, stomach pain, and even injury. Before any procedure, a surgeon will talk with a patient to discuss lifestyle changes that must occur. This is the time to find out if bariatric surgery is right for a patient or if another avenue is recommended.
During weight loss surgery post-op eating, here are some important must-knows.
Eat three meals a day
During later phases, it’s important to eat three meals a day, with no snacking. We understand that snacking can be a habit for many people, so this could require a little bit of practice to help break the habit. For your meals, be sure to take very small bites, chew food well and pause between bites.
Each meal should take about 20 to 30 minutes to eat. Take your time, eat slowly, and allow the stomach to process the food. Eating too fast or too much in one sitting defeats the purpose of the surgery and will affect how much weight you will lose – if any.
Know what to eat
Soft foods high in protein after the first two weeks can include things like light or reduced-fat cheeses, light yogurt, scrambled eggs, refried beans, chicken, or tuna (without condiments). For the remainder of this stage, you can transition to whole beans, skinless dark meat poultry, deli meats, fish that is broiled or baked with no breading, or tofu.
During the soft protein food stage, it’s important to continue staying hydrated with at least 96 ounces of non-caffeine liquid each day, sipping slowly. Remember, you should not be drinking fluids with meals for at least an hour after eating.
If you have questions about your post-operative diet, our team at WeightWise will work with you to help clarify everything you need to know. You can also take a look at our FREE online seminar for more information. We understand that you will be readjusting to new eating habits and will be your support system on your new weight loss journey.