Emory Decatur Hospital’s team of professionals at our weight loss center are asked this question frequently, as many patients want to know what eating will be like after bariatric surgery. The changes that were made to your gastrointestinal tract are going to require some permanent changes in your eating habits. Successful weight loss management means that you will have to permanently alter your eating habits if you want to be successful in your new life after bariatric surgery.
Post-surgery dietary guidelines vary from one bariatric surgeon to another. You may hear about post-surgery guidelines that are different from the ones you receive; however, it's important to remember that these guidelines will be different depending on the surgeon and the type of procedure. The key to bariatric weight loss management is to follow your surgeon's guidelines, and the comprehensive weight loss center can help you determine specific guidelines for your own situation. For your convenience, we have listed some of the generally-accepted dietary guidelines below to help you maintain a healthy diet after bariatric surgery:
- When you start eating solid food, it's very important to chew your food thoroughly and eat very slowly. Wait two to three minutes after swallowing before putting the next bite of food in your mouth. Experts at our weight loss center caution patients that they will not be able to digest steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not thoroughly ground or chewed.
- For successful weight loss management, we recommend that you do not drink fluids while eating, as they will make you feel full before you have eaten enough food. Fluids consumed with meals can cause vomiting and dumping syndrome, which can lead to feeling hungry sooner after a meal.
- Don't eat desserts and other items with sugar if they have more than three to five grams per serving size.
- Avoid carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, food that is high in fat and food without nutritional value.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals. Eating after bariatric surgery will be much different than before.
- Consider dietary counseling. Dietitians and nutritionists can advise patients as to what foods they should be eating to help ensure they are receiving enough vitamins and minerals. It is also important to formulate a meal program that satisfies the patient's caloric requirements to maintain good health while continuing to support the loss of weight.
- Exercise. This is crucial to any bariatric weight loss management program. Exercise speeds up your metabolism, burns calories, and improves the overall health of your body. Experts at our weight loss center recommend that our patients meet with a personal fitness trainer and exercise physiologist who can design a custom program to encourage safe exercise. As you progress in physical capability, these programs will continue to be modified to promote maximum effectiveness without putting you at risk.