Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery) & Diet

Diet is very important post weight loss surgery, although it is just one part of a new healthy lifestyle.  Post surgery you will need to take your diet very seriously and think carefully about what you are eating, how much you eat and when you eat.  Each dietary stage is important post surgery and you should get advice on food choices and diets from your GP and dietitian.  Always take the advice you receive about diets and food choices seriously, it is important that you keep to a strict diet, particularly in the first year post surgery.  Immediately post surgery you will be on a liquid diet moving shortly to puree foods and eventually to solid foods.  The amount you eat will gradually increase, however you will always now need less food to feel full and if you overeat you will experience nausea and vomiting.  Always take advice about any supplements and vitamins you may need, this will vary depending on the type of weight loss surgery you have had.  Here are a few general points, which are valid for all weight loss surgery patients regarding diet and eating habits:

Eating Habits

Having weight loss surgery is like learning a whole new way of life and it is not just what we eat that we need to think about but also how we eat.  Post surgery and in the immediate months after it is very important that we chew all our foods very carefully before swallowing.  Take several moments to chew and allow your food to become broken down with saliva before swallowing.  It is tempting to sip water while eating to help you swallow and for food to travel more comfortably to the stomach.  It is best not to drink liquids while eating as drinking will make you feel full and could make you feel like vomiting.  Always drink plenty of liquids but not with food. Some suggest that you should drink 30 minutes after eating.  It is important to keep hydrated and it is recommended that you drink around 6-8 cups of water daily.  When drinking slip slowly only taking small mouthfuls at a time.  Water is the best option but you can gradually build in other types of liquids such as hot water and lemon or tea, however do avoid fizzy drinks and drinks high in caffeine such as coke or energy drinks.  Some drinks can be very high in sugar and can lead to dumping syndrome so always be careful when you are trying out a new liquid by sipping small amounts first.

If you are eating foods, which are tough and not easy to swallow consider grinding them or at least cutting them into very small pieces, for example some meats.  It is best to avoid completely foods, which are very tough and might cause problems such as nuts, pineapple and fruit with tough skins.  You may be unsure of some foods and not know if they are suitable or too tough.  Seek advice from your GP or dietitian before trying them if you are unsure.  When trying out a food for the first time try sampling only a small amount first, so that you know if it will suit you.  It may be that some foods that do not suit you in the early stages post surgery could be no problem six months later.  You can always go back to a food and try it out again at a later stage. 

Eat food high in protein content first, these are foods such as fish, dairy products, meat and beans.  Always stop eating when you feel full and if any foods are causing you discomfort stop eating straight away.  When you start on solid foods you will be consuming very small amounts (4-6 bites) at first, gradually the amount will increase as you pouch stretches.  You do not need to eat more than 4-6 bites during the early stages of your solid food diet.

It is worth investing some time researching different foods and dishes.  There are many books available on the subject and you can find weight loss surgery forums a great source of advice.  If you are struggling with new ideas for dishes or unsure about which foods you can eat always seek advice from your GP or dietitian. 

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