Your New Relationship with Food
After weight loss surgery, the way you eat will be much different than it was before. After you’ve completed the transitional diet stages that will help you adjust to your bariatric operation, you will need to learn how to eat in a way that addresses your unique needs.
Learning How to Eat
Because eating too much or too quickly can cause discomfort and nausea, you will need to adopt eating techniques that make it easier for your stomach to handle meals after weight loss surgery. These include:
- Taking your time. You will need to eat slowly. Try to allow 30 minutes for each meal and do not take less than 20 minutes to eat. Setting up a calm, comfortable eating area can help you avoid the urge to eat on-the-go or in front of the TV.
- Chewing thoroughly. You should try to chew each bite at least 20 to 30 times. This is especially important for dry or fibrous foods and things like pasta, bread, rice, raw vegetables and meat.
- Stopping when you’re full. It will take about 15 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full, which makes slow eating even more vital. As soon as you feel the pressure in your abdomen that indicates your stomach is full, stop eating.
- Adding foods slowly. Your body may have a reduced tolerance to foods that were once staples of your diet. It’s important to reintroduce foods to your diet slowly to test your body’s reaction to them. Stay careful and pay attention to what your body is telling you—if you feel any kind of discomfort, it may be best to avoid the food that caused it.
- Adding moisture. Moist foods are much easier to swallow and digest. Try adding moisture to foods with low-fat sauces, gravies and condiments.
- Eating multiple meals. Instead of eating three large meals, eat six smaller meals spaced throughout the day. Avoid snacking.
Learning What to Eat
You will need to carefully select your meals to provide your body with the protein, minerals and vitamins it needs. Your diet should be predominantly composed of lean proteins, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Though Dr. Taylor will provide you with specific dietary instructions after weight loss surgery, you will need to be aware of the right way to consume things like:
- Protein. Because protein is of crucial importance to the healing and muscle-building your body will be doing after surgery, it should always be the first thing you eat. Healthy protein choices may include fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, beans, lentils, poultry, soy and lean meat.
- Fluids. If you drink before or while eating, the liquid can fill up your limited stomach capacity and reduce space for food. Because of this, you should avoid drinking during and 30 minutes before your meals. However, you will still need about 8 cups of water or calorie-free liquid each day. When drinking, sip instead of gulping and do not use a straw.
Certain foods will need to be avoided indefinitely after bariatric surgery, including:
- High-fat foods, which can cause nausea and will add excess calories that slow your weight loss.
- High-sugar foods and beverages, which are loaded with calories and can cause dumping syndrome in patients of gastric bypass.
If you have any questions or concerns about how to eat or what to eat after bariatric surgery, do not hesitate to ask Dr. Taylor for guidance.