What can I eat after weight loss surgery?
Bariatric weight loss surgery is life-changing, and you will lose weight as a result of the surgery itself. You may also eliminate weight-related conditions, such as diabetes and sleep apnea, from your life. But in order to be successful in your weight loss, you must also make some changes to your diet.
Post-weight loss surgery, you will have more limitations. After 6-8 weeks however, you’ll be able to begin your permanent diet.
Your diet immediately following surgery
Your care provider will give you a detailed diet plan for your first weeks following your weight loss surgery. Adhering to this plan will help your body heal, minimize side effects, and help get you started in your new lifestyle. Your post-surgery diet may vary depending on precisely which bariatric procedure you elect, but will follow the same general principles.
- In the first several days after your surgery, you’ll likely be put on a liquid-only diet. In the hospital, that will include broth and water and in some cases juice — although it’s possible you’ll need to avoid juice in order to avoid stomach upset.
- You may be surprised by how little you can eat at first — it may be as small as an ounce at a time. Your doctor may recommend you only drink in small sips for several days.
- Somewhere in your second week post-recovery, you’ll be able to graduate to smoothies and other pureed foods — foods that will become a vital part of your long term diet, as they’re a terrific way to consume nutrient- and protein-rich food. In fact, once you graduate to this stage, you will want to start consuming powdered protein mix, at first in a thin, watery mixture, and later, as a part of smoothies.
- Each week, your liquids should get thicker and thicker — but you will still need to stay away from solid foods. You’ll need to eat frequently in very small amounts — 2-3 ounces. You’ll be able to add yogurt to your smoothie bases, and upgrade to creamy soups.
- Starting around week 6, your doctor will clear you to eat solid foods, which will fill you up more than your liquid diet. You’ll still be eating small, frequent meals, however.
- You’ll want to re-introduce foods slowly into your diet to isolate which ones you’re able to handle, and which ones you’re not.
- Take care to chew completely, and avoid high fiber foods.
Throughout this entire 6 to 8 week recovery period, it is absolutely vital that you consume enough fluids to avoid dehydration. You’ll need to drink approximately 8 cups per day — becoming dehydrated can make you nauseated, and even cause you to vomit, which can cause vitamin deficiencies, and land you back in the hospital.
Here’s a summary timeline of the post-op diet we recommend:
Post-Op Day 1- Bariatric clear liquids
Day 2-14- Full Liquid Diet
Weeks 3-4- Pureed or Soft Diet.
Week-5 Regular Consistency Diet
Your long term bariatric diet
Long term post-surgery, you will want to follow a high protein, low carb diet and avoid trigger foods such as sugary liquids and alcohol, especially close to meals. You’ll want to continue to eat small portions — although you’ll be able to handle more than a couple of ounces at a time — and chew thoroughly. You’ll also want to follow a strict vitamin regimen laid out for you by your doctor.