Diets are restrictive, so the last thing you want to do is go on a diet after your bariatric surgery.
The most significant reason diets fail is that they put so many restrictions that people may or may not lose weight but lose their peace of mind. But you want to maintain the weight loss, and you’re worried you’ll eat more than you should.
So, what do you do?
Almost all hospitals and health care providers that perform bariatric surgery will provide after-surgery support. For instance, the team at West Medical offers patients plenty of options to patients to help keep the weight off.
Apart from support from your health care provider, you can create a healthy eating routine for yourself, especially if you are worried, you’d get back into an unhealthy binge eating episode. This is a valid concern.
Food is an essential requirement in life to satisfy physical, mental, and emotional needs. Anything that is so restrictive cannot be adopted as a lifestyle.
A healthy eating routine, on the other hand, is effortless.
How much should I eat after bariatric surgery?
The amount of calories that you consume daily after your surgery depends on the type of surgery you had, your age, your weight, your metabolic rate, your gender, as well as how physically active you are post-surgery.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, you can read about how many calories you need daily based on gender, age, and physical fitness level.
You can also use the tools and apps to make your own calorie and fitness plan to help you reach and maintain your desired weight. However, the best route for this would be to speak to your dietitian first to understand better your body and its needs from a healthcare perspective.
Once you’ve outlined these factors with your healthcare provider, here are some guidelines to follow:
- Follow your healthcare provider’s guidelines: The dietician assigned to you after your surgery will help you define specific guidelines for the type and amount of foods you can eat after your surgery. Following these guidelines is essential to ensure proper healing and avoid complications.
- Protein is your best friend: Protein is essential for healing and building muscle after surgery. Your dietician will likely suggest suitable protein sources for your meal plan, such as lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, and Greek yogurt.so it’s essential to include protein-rich foods in your diet.
- Limit carbohydrates and fats: Limiting your intake of these foods is essential because carbohydrates and fats can be more difficult to digest after bariatric surgery. It’s best to stick to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and choose healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and olive oil.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is vital for overall health and preventing dehydration after bariatric surgery. Drinking 64 ounces of water daily is advisable and avoid drinking with meals to avoid overfilling your stomach.
- Eat small but frequent meals: Your stomach will be much smaller than before after bariatric surgery. It’s vital to eat smaller yet more frequent meals throughout the day. Eat three to six small meals daily and avoid snacking between meals.
- Choose snacks wisely: If you want to snack, choose snacks that are low in sugar and calories. Soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks should be avoided because they can sabotage weight loss efforts. Stick to water, unsweetened tea or coffee, and low-calorie or calorie-free beverages.
- Get support: Sticking to a healthy eating routine or making drastic dietary changes after surgery is challenging. If you find it hard to maintain mindful and healthy eating, seek support from your healthcare team, family, and friends. There are plenty of support groups that you can reach out to, or you can also work with your registered dietitian to help you stay on track with your healthy eating routine.
How can I manage food portions at home?
You do not necessarily have to measure and count everything you eat and drink- this can be exhausting daily. That said, it is recommended that you train yourself to read labels and count calories for an adequate amount of time to learn and get used to the average serving and portion sizes. When eating at home, here is what you can do:
- Take one serving as the food label recommends and eat it off a plate instead of directly out of the box or packaging.
- Try as much as possible not to eat in front of the TV or when you are busy doing other activities like working on your computer, writing, or even studying. Pay attention to the foods you eat. Keep your focus on eating, chew your food well, and immerse yourself in the experience of the taste of the food.
- Chew your food slowly to give your brain enough time to get the message that your stomach is full. This usually takes about 15 minutes.
- Eat out of smaller bowls and plates and drink out of smaller glasses to train your body to eat according to the size of your crockery.
- Minimize your consumption of chips, dips, sauces, and snacks.
- Freeze food you will not eat or serve right away, especially if you have made too much. Or you can also meal prep them for the next day’s meals.
- Keep your eating times regular every day, and do not skip meals.
- If snacking, look for low-calorie choices and single-serving snacks. If you buy big box snacks, divide them with your meal prep so you are not tempted to overeat.
How can I manage portions when eating out?
It is easier to portion control when you are home but eating out can be a little more complicated. If you find yourself eating out often, here are some tips that you can try to keep your food portions in check:
- Try meal prepping to avoid eating out. Meal prepping lunch for work will make it easier for you to each lunch that has been home-cooked and prevent you from eating out.
- Compare the money you save eating homemade lunches versus eating out for lunch every day. You will save a lot more, which is another reason to minimize eating out.
- In restaurants, try sharing a meal with a friend. Appetizers, entrees, and desserts are good options to share.
- Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets
- Order a low-calorie appetizer or side dish or have a dressing on the side.
- Pick smaller size meal options whenever possible.
- Stop eating or drinking once you feel full.
- Have a glass of water before your meals.