Information is Power: Knowing What to Expect After Bariatric Surgery

Lifelong Habits for the Long-Term Success

The first year after surgery is a critical time that must be dedicated to changing old behavior and forming new, lifelong habits that will control your weight. Our series has taken you through the specific, gradual food phases that one must adhere to for the first several weeks post surgery. In the long term, however, certain diet and lifestyle changes are more likely to contribute to success.

These changes include:

  • EATING–Eat three well-balanced meals and two snacks per day.
  • DRINKING–Drink water rather than juice, carbonated, sweetened, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
  • VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTATION -Take a daily multivitamin, calcium + vitamin D, vitamin B12, and if directed, additional vitamin D, iron, zinc.
  • SLEEPING–Sleep an average of at least 7 hours each night.
  • EXERCISE–Exercise at least four times a week for 40 minutes or more.
  • PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY–Take personal responsibility for staying in control. Monitor weight weekly. Monitor intake to control weight.

Surgery itself will not lead to long-term weight loss. The way you eat after surgery must be permanently altered. Your long-term goal is to continue to restrict the volume of food while providing a more nutritionally balanced intake.

Even at this stage, there are foods you should avoid because they may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, pain, or vomiting.

Foods to avoid:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Dried fruits
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Granola
  • Stringy or fibrous vegetables, such as celery, broccoli, corn, or cabbage
  • Tough meats or meats with gristle
  • Fried foods
  • Breads

Over time, you may be able to try some of these foods again, with the guidance of your doctor. It’s possible that foods that initially irritated your stomach after surgery may become more tolerable as your stomach continues to heal.

To ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals and keep your weight-loss goals on track, at each stage of the gastric bypass diet, you should:

  • Eat and drink slowly
  • Keep meals small
  • Drink liquids between meals
  • Chew food thoroughly
  • Focus on high-protein foods
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar
  • Try new foods one at a time
  • Take recommended vitamin and mineral supplements

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Remember that if you return to unhealthy eating habits after weight-loss surgery, you may not lose all of your excess weight, or you may regain any weight that you do lose. If you live in the Las Vegas, Nevada area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She will work with you to find the right treatment for your unique situation.

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