Obesity surgery is usually performed after the candidate has tried other methods of weight loss without success. However, Surgery in itself is not the full solution. Learning new eating habits and following the diet correctly will help maintain weight loss over time. The recommended diet is low in calories and fat. Even small amounts of sweets or fatty foods could make weight loss difficult. Sweet and sugary foods do not contain vitamins or minerals.
Weight loss surgery reduces the size of the stomach, so it may take a while to get used to the change required in your daily diet and eating regime. Patients report a wide variety of complications after surgery. Most of these will go away in time, while others can be lessened with dietary adjustment.
Nausea and vomiting
These are the most common complications occurring in the first few months after gastric surgery. They can occur after eating too fast, drinking liquids while eating, not chewing enough or eating more than the stomach can hold. It is important to learn to eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Nausea and vomiting can also be triggered after trying new foods. If this happens, allow a few days to pass before trying something new. Notify a physician or contact our nutritionist if frequent vomiting becomes a problem.
It is important to prevent dehydration by drinking enough fluids. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you drink 1 ½ litres of water a day.
- Do not drink during meals: do not drink 30min before or after meals.
- Avoid fizzy drinks like Lemonade, Colas and Fanta.
- High calorie drinks such as sugar sweetened drinks and alcohol may prevent weight loss.
Adapt your diet in several stages, start with liquids and gradually increase to small meals of soft, high-protein foods. Each person is different and the dietary limits will also depend on the type of obesity surgery you have had. Meals should be much smaller than normal and foods eaten must be smooth in texture. During all stages of the diet, it is important to drink enough water.
The use of liquid nourishment such as soup, milk, fruit juice, buttermilk, yoghurt, pudding
Soya dessert: this stage should last for 1 – 2 weeks after surgery. Also at this stage, the following may be taken: cornflakes (soggy), yoghurts, mashed fruit, milky puddings and soups. Some patients may be ok with toast and biscuits as well. As each person can be different, you will need to determine what you are personally able to intake.
Breakfast: Protein drinks such as a milkshake or porridge.
Lunch: Soup without solid pieces.
Snack: one glass of fruit juice.
Evening meal: Protein drinks such as milkshake or porridge.
Snack: Yoghurt or soya dessert.
Two weeks after surgery you may advance to the soft or purée diet. You must use mash or puréed food up until four to six weeks after the operation.
Puréed meat, puréed potatoes and puréed vegetables can now be introduced. Fish or eggs are softer to eat than meat. It is important to make sure that all foods are puréed and are smooth in texture.
Breakfast: Toast (chewed thoroughly), margarine, jam or honey.
Lunch: Puréed meat or fish or scrambled eggs, puréed potatoes, blended vegetables.
Snack: One glass of fruit juice or puréed fruit
Evening meal: Toast, margarine, cheese spread or meat spread.
Snack: Yoghurt or soya dessert.
Typically, you will feel that you are ready to advance to a regular diet from weeks 6 or 7 post-surgery.
Ensure you are getting enough proteins
Protein is the nutrient used to build new tissue; therefore it is important to intake sufficient proteins after surgery to ensure proper healing. Protein in diet helps preserve muscle tissue, so that weight can be lost. Foods such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, etc, are high in protein. It is recommended that you eat fruit at least once a day. Do not eat whole wheat bread. In the first few weeks, try to avoid raw vegetables, green cabbage, sprouts, peppers, mushrooms and onions – these are difficult to digest; also avoid spicy, burned or fatty foods.
Things to remember
- Eat several small portions 4 or 5 times a day.
- It is important to chew your food well and eat slowly.
- Enjoy your food and concentrate on eating slowly.
- Let your stomach tell you when you have had enough.
- Do not drink during your meals and avoid fizzy drinks.
- Eat healthily and make sure there is enough variation in what you eat.
- Large quantities of high energy food such as ice-cream, chocolate, cakes, etc are not recommended.
- The way you eat is just as important as what you eat.
- Changing food habits in combination with physical activity will help to maintain weight loss over time.
We would strongle recommend our patients to have a look at www.BariatricEating.com This is a website designed specifically for patients who have already been for bariatric surgery. It provides patients what a vast library of recipies and tips to help you as you begin your weight loss journey.
Of course you are always welcome to contact the team here at International Surgery Group where we can give you some helpful advice over the phone or connect you with one of our specialist bariatric aftercare nurses or nutritionists.