Undergoing bariatric surgery is a major life-changing experience. You'll have
a whole new set of lifestyle rules for maintaining your weight loss and health
goals. In the years leading up to the surgery, you may have struggled with
the physical, medical, emotional, social, and professional ramifications of
obesity. Bariatric surgery may signify the beginning of your healing process
in these areas.
Some people who undergo bariatric surgery find that it's helpful to attend
therapy sessions with a counselor. Talking to a professional about your previous
struggles with obesity and your current struggles with your new post-surgery
lifestyle can help you understand more about yourself, and help you stay focused
on your goals.
You may also find that being involved in support groups with other people
who have experienced similar struggles can be extremely helpful. Support groups
can help you stay motivated.
Carefully following the prescribed diet after surgery is essential both to
protect your body and to ensure weight loss.
Typically, for the first 1 - 3 days after surgery the diet will consist only
of clear liquids (water, broth, high protein fruit drinks, or other clear liquids).
After this initial period, the diet will include pureed or blended foods (yogurt,
pudding, cream soup, liquid supplements). After a week or so, you will be able
to gradually begin adding soft foods to your diet -- about 1 ounce of a new
soft food every 2 or 3 days:
- After 1 week: scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, low-fat refried beans, mashed
potatoes, hot cereal
- After 3 weeks: tuna salad, ground turkey, baked fish, canned vegetables,
bananas, seedless watermelon or cantaloupe
By a month after surgery, some normal foods can become a regular part of the
diet, although limiting food selections may become permanent. You might need,
for example, to avoid steaks and chops, apple skins, citrus fruit membranes,
incompletely chewed raw or fibrous vegetables, and fresh bread (because of
the tendency to form a solid "bread ball" in the stomach pouch -- toasting
may prevent this problem).
Although each person is different, and there are different recommendations
depending on the specific type of weight loss surgery you have, some of the
basic recommendations include:
- You will need to adjust portion size. In general, a small stomach pouch
will hold only about 2 ounces of food at a sitting.
- Food choices will need to be blended, soft, or easily chewed. Limit foods
that are dry (turkey, roast beef), sticky (peanut butter), gummy (fresh bread),
or stringy (fibrous fruits or vegetables).
- Eat a balanced diet that is low in fat, high in protein. Protein is important
for healing directly after surgery, and it's also important during weight
loss in order to help you preserve muscle mass. About 60 g of protein is
- Avoid foods that contain sugar, especially if you've had gastric bypass
surgery. Eating foods that have concentrated amounts of sugar may cause an
uncomfortable reaction called dumping syndrome (sweating, low blood pressure,
dizziness, abdominal cramping).
- Don't drink fluids just before or with your meals. Drink well before or
at least 30 minutes afterwards.
- Eat slowly (at least 20 minutes per meal), and chew your food very thoroughly.
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Stocker DJ. Management of the bariatric surgery patient. Endocrinol Metab
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Review Date: 12/21/2006
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Stanford University School of Medicine;
Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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