One of the most common questions we receive from our clients during a consultation is how soon they can get back to their normal life. Usually, there are no physical limitations a day or two after gastric bypass surgery and they can return to work almost immediately. It’s a different story, however, when it comes to their diet.
Many clients come to Weightwise in search of a new lifestyle, and a gastric bypass or other bariatric surgery is just one factor in that change. Changing what they eat and how they eat is a major aspect of any successful weight loss surgery. A specific gastric bypass diet is critical for the first two weeks after surgery.
The reason is two-fold: first, your body needs time to heal after the procedure. Eating too much or too often in the weeks after surgery can cause discomfort, pain, and even injury to the smaller stomach. This diet also helps prepare the client for the rest of their life. Hormonal changes begin to take place as the body gets adapts to taking in less food.
Types of Food – Post Surgery Gastric Bypass Diet
So what kind of food is included in a post-surgery gastric bypass diet? Although every situation is different, and Weightwise will outline a specific diet for you, there are a few common guidelines. The first two weeks are focused on hydration and protein supplements.
Hydrating fluids are the most important part of this immediate post-op phase. Hydrating fluids include anything that is low calorie (<15 calories), decaffeinated, and non-carbonated. Protein supplements can be utilized during this time but these supplements do not count as a hydrating fluid.
Drinking plenty of fluid also keeps the body hydrated. Caffeine can cause dehydrating, so it’s important to avoid during this time as well. Good options for hydrating fluid can include broth, decaf tea, propel or Powerade Zero waters, sugar-free jello, or diet juices. You should avoid cream-based soups, juice, milk, and other sweetened beverages.
After 2 weeks of liquids, your body has healed enough to incorporate soft proteins. There is a very structured list that you will follow during this soft protein phase. This inclusive list will be provided to you during your pre-operative appointments. But it can include foods like scrambled egg, greek yogurt, and beans.
It is NOT necessary to puree or liquefy foods at this point. After doing liquids only for 2 weeks, the goal is to start the process of teaching your new stomach how to handle foods again. Your stomach will learn this process naturally by slowly increasing the density of foods supplied and by eating slowly with small bites.
During this time, and as solid foods begin to make an appearance, it’s important that you learn to identify your body signals. Learning how big of a bite your stomach can handle, how slow to eat, and what fullness signals you have are important aspects of intuitive eating. Your portions will remain small but there is no specific guideline for the volume of food you are required to eat. The goal is to eat three meals each day and identify when you are truly hungry. We want you to develop long-term, healthy eating habits.
One Month After Surgery
About one month after gastric bypass surgery, regular consistency foods can be eaten. Lean meats and vegetables are your primary focus. Continue to work on your eating behaviors of small bites, chewing well, and eating slowly. At this point, the surgery is healed, but the diet still needs to be reinforced. In fact, these guidelines become less of a diet and more of a lifestyle.
Lifelong habits will equate to long term success. Eat slowly and spread each meal out over 30 minutes – consuming your food as fast as you can create complications. However, this method of eating will just be part of your normal mealtime routine.
And that’s the point of the gastric bypass diet. Most of our clients come to Weightwise because they need help establishing a healthy lifestyle. The gastric bypass diet is designed to not only help the healing process but help our clients lose weight and develop a healthy way of living. We are changing the way our clients look at food and their lifestyle.