Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Specialist Dietitian at Ramsay Health Care | 29/05/2022
Following bariatric surgery, you will need to continue eating a healthy, high protein, low fat, calorie-controlled diet for the rest of your life to achieve and maintain your weight goals.
Some top tips include:
- Plan your meals a week in advance and only buy food that you want to eat. Use healthy recipes books for inspiration e.g The Bariatric Bible
- Periodically record what you eat and drink in a journal, app or website such as myfitnesspal (free), Nutracheck (cost involved) or weightlossresource.co.uk (cost involved) as a reminder of what you are eating during the day.
- Keep to three small meals a day and one to two healthy snacks if needed.
- Have protein in each meal and eat it first.
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. The more you chew, the easier your food is to swallow and digest.
- Only eat until the point of fullness and not beyond.
- Try to eat at the table or without distraction, so you can ‘mindfully’ eat your meal.
- Do not let high fat and high sugar foods such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweets creep into your diet. These are just as fattening after the operation as they were before. If you have these foods too often you will stop losing weight and could end up having a very unhealthy diet.
- Track your activity levels either in a diary or app; aim to increase this weekly or monthly
- Drink plenty of water and always have some water to hand.
- If you feel hungry between meals try taking a drink first as your body may be mistaking hunger with thirst. If you are still hungry then have a small snack such as a piece of fruit or a low-fat yoghurt.
- Ask for half portions at restaurants – it may be discounted and it will prevent you from being tempted to overeat.
- It is essential that you take your complete multivitamin and mineral, calcium and vitamin D, iron and vitamin B12 injections for life to prevent deficiencies.
Foods & drinks to avoid/limit:
- Food with empty calories – make wise foods choices and avoid foods with little or no nutritional value such as biscuits, crisps or sweets
- Alcohol - is high in calories and your alcohol absorption will dramatically increase after surgery. Avoid alcohol for the first 3 months following bariatric surgery.
- Fizzy drinks - as they cause bloating and can increase your small stomach size.
- High fat foods – they may make you feel nauseous and will not help you to lose weight.
- Tough meats - are hard to chew and hard to digest.
Things to avoid:
By Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Specialist Dietitian at Ramsay Health Care
- Avoid eating and drinking together - wait at least thirty minutes between eating and drinking. Drinking fluids with meals may lead to an overfull stomach and vomiting. It can also stretch your stomach and “wash” your food through too quickly so that you don’t sense the early signs of fullness and may lead to overeating.
- Avoid overeating - stop eating when you feel satisfied. Overeating will stretch your stomach pouch and may make you vomit.
- Avoid grazing - this often adds extra calories to your controlled diet. It also interferes with your body’s ability to burn fat as insulin levels will be consistently raised
- If you follow the above advice and work together with your dietitian then you should be able to lose around 70% of your excess body weight (the weight above a BMI of 25), in 1 to 2 years following your bariatric surgery.