How to Eat After Bariatric Surgery

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How to Eat After Bariatric Surgery

by SarahD on June 15, 2011

Nutrition After Major Weight Loss Surgery

Getting back on track with eating can be difficult after any surgery (since pain killers reduce appetite and slow motility).  But when you opt to go through a bariatric surgery that is meant to help you lose weight (such as gastric bypass, banding of the stomach, or the removal of a portion of the stomach to make it smaller), you might not even know how to start eating again.  Many people experience an inability to eat without vomiting while others can only manage liquids.  Some people even end up overeating to the point that they stretch their stomach, negating many of the intended results of the surgery.  But if you know how to go about eating once you’ve undergone bariatric surgery, then you can achieve the weight loss you seek and experience the healthier lifestyle you’ve been craving.

For starters, your doctor should give you extensive instructions on how to eat after this surgery, including a plan for the weeks and months following the procedure that will start with a liquid diet and eventually lead to solid foods (after several weeks).  You may never be able to eat the same quantity of food that you were accustomed to consuming before (actually, that’s kind of the point) which means you’ll have to learn to eat smaller portions more frequently and include foods that give you the most nutritional value per portion.  But again, your doctor can relate all of this information.  What they may not be able to help you with is dealing with cravings and managing your hunger.

This issue is one that plagues anyone who is dieting, but most people can eat a little more here and there to manage.  When you have bariatric surgery, your capacity for eating is diminished but that doesn’t necessarily mean your hunger abates.  So what can you do when you’re feeling peckish and all you can manage to get down is a tablespoon of liquid every fifteen minutes?  For starters, you need to be very picky about what that liquid is.  Coke, for example, may taste great, but it’s not going to satiate your hunger.  Instead, opt for milk, a smoothie, or something that has some nutrients and slow-burning carbs that will make you feel full longer.

Another option is to consider supplements that will help to reduce your hunger.  There are many weight loss supplements on the market that claim to do this very thing, but keep in mind, before you go this route, that these products are not regulated by the FDA.  If you think back a few years, you can probably recall a spate of supplements that contained ephedrine, a plant derivative that aided in weight loss.  Unfortunately, it also caused heart problems that led to the death of more than thirty people before it was banned in the U.S.  So instead of taking it upon yourself to choose a supplement, consult with your doctor to find out which one (if any) is right for you.

Losing weight is never easy, and if you have reached the point that an extreme surgery is your best option, then you have a long and difficult road ahead of you.  But when you start paying attention to what you put in your body and you learn how to maximize your nutrition rather than the quantity of food you’re eating, you’ll be able to shed pounds, get healthy, and form good eating habits for life.

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