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Patient Information

Postoperative Nutrition Guide

Your weight-loss journey doesn’t end after surgery. There’s still work ahead for you but you’re now in a better position to achieve success. Patients who see the most dramatic improvements commit themselves to a healthier lifestyle.

We encourage you to adjust your eating habits after gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or Lap-Band® surgery so you can lose weight and stay healthy. While your new diet may seem challenging at first, it becomes easier the more you keep at it.

Use the following information as a guide to help you reach your ultimate weight-loss goal.

Write down everything that you eat in a food journal. Be sure to include what you ate, how much you ate and when you ate it. As you continue to do so, you’ll become more aware of your eating habits and identify unhealthy trends. This simple, yet powerful technique can give you a more proactive approach to your diet.

Learn the nutritional facts of the kinds of food you eat. Your nutritionist or physician will likely recommend foods you should eat, as well as foods to avoid. By reading food labels, you can make informed choices for a healthier diet.

Take your vitamin and mineral supplements daily. This ensures that you’re getting the proper amount of nutrients every day. Remember to take only chewable or liquid vitamins or supplements.

Maintain a high metabolism by eating six small meals a day. This can fend off hunger throughout the day, saving you from unnecessary snacking. Be sure the meals you do eat are high in protein.

Eliminate carbonated beverages and beverages containing alcohol and caffeine from your diet gradually. These drinks can cause negative effects when ingested, such as inflammation, stretching of the stomach or increased appetite.

Drink liquids only between meals, not during. Eating or drinking at the same time flushes the food from your stomach, making you feel like you can eat more than you should. Drink liquids a half hour before and after meals to avoid this sensation. As your stomach heals from surgery, we recommend you sip small amounts of beverages at a time.

Eat meals slowly and focus on what’s on your plate. Dedicate 20 to 30 minutes to each meal and block out any distractions, such as your TV or smartphone. Doing so will help you pay attention to the type of food you eat and the amount. The moment you feel full, stop eating. Overeating can make you feel sick, and enough food may cause your stomach to stretch.

Wait at least an hour after eating before you lie down. This is time your body needs to digest food properly. Sitting up allows gravity to move food along and keep stomach acids from getting into your esophagus, preventing heartburn or other problems.

Energy to exercise

Eating right not only helps you lose weight, it can give you the energy you need to stay active. By maintaining a healthy diet, your body becomes better suited for exercise and other physical activity. Find activities that you enjoy and stick with it. We recommend exercising three to five times a week for 30 minutes or more to achieve the best results.

Don’t forget about protein

Keeping the right amount of protein in your diet is important for a number of reasons. Protein helps your stomach heal after surgery and builds the necessary muscle mass you’ll need as you begin to exercise. It can also limit hair loss.

Some patients neglect their protein intake since their diet requires eating smaller portions. Remember to read your food labels to make sure there’s protein in every meal. If you feel you aren’t getting enough, protein powders or shakes can help. Talk to your doctor about the proper amount of protein needed to stay healthy.