Having weight loss surgery means making a lifelong commitment to following a carefully prescribed program of good nutrition and regular exercise.
Diet Stages After Weight Loss Surgery
Dedicating yourself to a healthy lifestyle after weight loss surgery helps you achieve and maintain weight loss as safely as possible. Because weight loss surgical procedures change your digestive system, it is important to select the right foods and fluids, in the appropriate amounts, to ensure proper nutrition following your operation.
There are also eating techniques you must learn to aid in digestion, such as eating slowly and chewing thoroughly.
There are four diet stages after weight loss surgery. As a general rule, you will do best if you avoid foods high in sugar and fat, and eat foods that contain high-quality protein.
- Clear liquids that are low-sugar, non-carbonated, and decaffeinated
- Duration: 1 day or less
- High-protein, low-fat and low-sugar modified liquids
- Duration: 3 to 4 weeks
- Pureed, soft foods that are high in protein
- Portion control and proper chewing of food are important parts of this phase
- Duration: 3 to 4 weeks
- Begins about two months after surgery — you will stay on Stage 4 for life
- Foods that are low in sugar, saturated and trans fat, and contain high-quality protein
- You will be shown how to measure and estimate food portions to ensure appropriate portion sizes
Understanding Nutrition After Surgery
Now that you’ve had surgery, it’s important to follow the customized nutrition plan recommended by your dietitian.
After weight loss surgery, your small stomach pouch limits the amount you can eat at one time, and the types of food you can comfortably eat. Some patients may not be able to tolerate foods such as raw vegetables, bread, pasta, or red meat.
It is important to understand that over time, overeating is still possible and can cause your small stomach pouch to stretch. While weight loss surgery does help most patients keep overall calorie intake in check, leading to weight loss and the maintenance of a more healthy body weight, you can regain weight if you:
- take in a lot of calories from unhealthy foods
- snack/graze frequently
- eat large meals
- are not active on a regular basis
Seeing your dietitian as scheduled and understanding your nutrition plan is essential to success after weight loss surgery.
After surgery, your new, smaller stomach will require you to take smaller sips of fluid and drink every hour while you're awake.Your dietitian will talk about watching for signs of dehydration, such as headache, dry mouth, low urine output and constipation. It is also important to avoid drinking fluids during meals because it may wash the food through your stomach pouch, which may lead you to become hungry soon after eating a meal.
Your body needs protein to build and repair tissues, maintain healthy hair and skin, aid in digestion,and produce energy. Your dietitian will review how much and which types of protein (i.e. dairy, meat, fish and soy) are the best choices for you after surgery.
Carbohydrates are a good source of energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. As you progress in your diet plan, your dietitian will discuss the best sources of carbohydrates (i.e. complex carbohydrates: vegetables, beans, whole grains) to include in your diet.
Not all fats are alike. Your dietitian will review which types of healthy and essential fat to include in your diet. Fat:
- provides energy
- helps absorb and transport vitamins A, D, K and E
- helps maintain healthy nervous and immune systems
- helps keep your skin, hair and nails healthy
Vitamins and Minerals
Depending on the type of weight loss surgery you have and your nutritional status, you will be advised as to which vitamin and mineral supplements you need in order to maintain good nutrition and health.