Why Am I Not Losing Weight After Bariatric Surgery

This is a question we get all the time when people are considering a procedure. How do I avoid gaining weight after bariatric surgery? So here are a few initial guidelines for eating after you have had a gastric sleeve, bypass, balloon, lap band, or duodenal switch. For a grocery list, sample meal plans, and suggested exercising visit our post-surgery lifelong guidelines for success page.

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Lifelong guidelines for eating

  • Eat 3 meals per day and a protein supplement.
  • Avoid snacking. Snacking or eating throughout the day may keep you from losing weight. It may even cause weight gain because you are eating too many calories.
  • Eat protein first. Eat at least 60 grams of protein each day. Since you are eating less food, you will need to work harder to get enough protein. Try to include a good source of protein with each meal (such as eggs, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, or low-fat and fat-free dairy foods). Protein helps you maintain muscle while you quickly lose weight. Talk to your care team about protein supplements such as drinks and powders.
  • Eat small amounts. To keep the weight off, you should eat no more than 1 cup of food per meal. You risk gaining weight and making your stomach larger if you are eating more than this.
  • Eat slowly. A meal should last 20 to 30 minutes. When you eat too fast, you may eat too much before you feel full. It can also cause nausea, vomiting (throwing up), and pain or pressure in the shoulder or upper chest.
  • Eat mindfully. Please sit down to eat and enjoy your meals. Try setting your spoon or fork down between each bite, then wait at least one minute before taking the next bite. Stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied.
  • Chew all foods into a paste, the thickness of applesauce. The openings that lead into your stomach and from your stomach to your bowel (intestine) are very small. Foods that are not well-chewed may block these openings and cause discomfort. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit. To prevent this, cut your food into small pieces. Then, chew your food well. It may take more time to chew beef, raw fruits, and raw vegetables.
  • Slowly introduce new foods. Add one new food at a time so you know which foods you can and cannot handle. Some foods may cause problems after weight-loss surgery. This will vary from person to person. Talk to a dietitian if you have questions about any specific foods.
  • Avoid sugar and fat. Eat a well-balanced diet with lean proteins, vegetables, low-fat milk products, whole grains, and fruits. Follow the 10–10 Rule by eating foods that have less than 10 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar in a serving.
Woman eating and Watching TV

Do most people gain weight back after bariatric surgery?

Yes, most people do gain the weight back after bariatric surgery. Typical early weight loss following bariatric surgery ranges from 47-80% of excess weight, but typical weight regain is 15-25% of that lost weight. This can be very disappointing for patients who expect to keep the lost weight off. It is important to educate patients before their operation about realistic and attainable weight loss goals. Patients should also be aware of behaviors and lifestyle changes they can make to help manage and avoid regaining the lost weight.

In conclusion, the key to avoiding weight gain after bariatric surgery is to follow lifelong guidelines for eating. This includes eating 3 meals per day and a protein supplement, avoiding snacking, eating protein first, eating small amounts, eating slowly, eating mindfully, chewing foods into a paste-like consistency, and slowly introducing new foods.

Additionally, it is important to avoid sugar and fat and to follow the 10-10 Rule. By following these guidelines, individuals can successfully maintain their weight after bariatric surgery.