Weight loss surgery is a major step toward losing weight, and it can be a life-altering experience if you are well suited to it. However, it helps to look at the surgery itself as only the first step on a journey. Surgery, when combined with proper aftercare, diet, and lifestyle changes, can provide excellent long-term weight loss benefits.
How Will I Need to Eat After Bariatric Surgery?
In the weeks after your bariatric surgery, your dietitian will provide you with a comprehensive nutrition plan to follow.
You will need to eat a diet of liquid foods for the first couple of weeks after the surgery, followed by a gradual transition into a diet of pureed foods for the 4-6 weeks that follow.
After eating soft and pureed foods for a while, you will be ready to begin the gentle transition to more solid foods.
Stay Well Hydrated
You will need to consume a lot of liquids to stay hydrated during this time as well. Most patients will require about 64 ounces of water daily to prevent significant issues with constipation, dehydration, or even kidney stones.
Take Your Vitamins!
You will also need to ensure you get the proper nutrients, and for that, a series of vitamin and mineral supplements are usually necessary, including:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
Your dietitian will most likely provide you with their recommended dosages for each of these supplements. If you make healthy lifestyle choices and stick to the recommended diet and hydration guidelines, it will help you experience better results and quality of life after bariatric surgery.
Be Sure to Get Enough Protein
After weight loss surgery, it is more important than ever to get adequate protein in your diet. This is because your body will struggle to maintain adequate muscle mass during rapid weight loss. Eating enough protein during the dramatic and rapid weight loss that follows bariatric surgery helps your body lose fat while retaining muscle.
Most dietitians will recommend between 60-100 grams of protein per day, depending on your type of operation, personal medical history, and daily activity level.
Eating enough protein after surgery will also help your body to maintain a healthy metabolism. Failing to eat enough protein may result in your body taking protein from your muscles, which can lead to insufficient muscle mass during weight loss.
How Should I Get My Protein?
The great thing about getting enough protein is that it is very easy to come by. You can get your protein from an incredibly diverse array of foods. While meat, eggs, and dairy all contain protein, you can just as easily get enough protein from plant-based foods like beans, lentils, and tofu. There are protein sources for every dietary preference, so you just need to pay attention to the amount in each serving of food you eat and make sure you are getting between 60-80 grams per day on average.
It can also be helpful to plan out your meals or make a list of your most common meals, making a note of the amount of protein per serving. You can then add up the amount of protein you are eating each day, so you know you if you are getting enough.
Avoid Sugary and Fatty Foods
Foods that are high in sugar such as cookies, pastries, candies, fruit juices, and other sugary snacks tend to cause digestive discomfort after bariatric surgery, and can also hinder your weight loss results.
Refined carbohydrates such as those found in white bread, pasta, processed cereals, and crackers also tend to interfere with ideal weight loss results.
Do I Need to Avoid Caffeine After Weight Loss Surgery?
It is a good idea to avoid caffeine for at least the first month after weight loss surgery. This is because your stomach will be more sensitive than usual during this time. After the first month, however, caffeinated drinks may be acceptable to drink provided you stay properly hydrated. Be sure to ask your dietitian before reintroducing caffeine, and remember to avoid sugary drinks like soda.
Why Do I Need to Stay Hydrated After Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric patients who return to the hospital after surgery come in for one reason more often than any other: dehydration. If your body does not get enough water, it will be unable to function properly, let alone at its best. It also requires water to burn off stored fat to produce energy.
It can be helpful to carry a bottle of water with you as you go about your day, and even more so when you leave home. Try to drink even when you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, and consume at least 64 ounces per day.
Paying attention to the color of your urine is an easy way to tell if you are drinking enough water. If it is clear and light colored, 5-10 times per day, you are most likely properly hydrated. If you need to go fewer times per day or if it is darker yellow, drink more water!
If you experience headaches, hard stools, dizziness, or feelings of thirst, drink more water. If you can’t drink enough water each day after bariatric surgery, talk to your surgeon.
Diet, Lifestyle, and Hydration All Play Important Roles in Weight Loss
If you follow the recommended diet, lifestyle, and hydration guidelines after bariatric surgery, you will be well on your way to experiencing weight loss results. Have you been considering weight loss surgery? We would be happy to discuss it with you to see if you would be a good candidate. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.