Many people are under the impression that weight-loss surgery is a magic pill; you take the pill and magically lose weight with no effort. Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective tool in providing help with significant weight loss, but it is still just a tool. It is important for anyone thinking about having weight-loss surgery, regardless of which surgery you decide to have, to follow these ten essential tips for long-term success with weight-loss surgery.
- Train yourself to eat 3 meals per day, eating 4 to 6 ounces at each meal.
- Eliminate the word “snacking” from your vocabulary. You will find that your new intake after bariatric surgery looks a lot like a snack use to look like. Research has shown that people who snack or “graze” slow down their weight loss and sometimes even gain weight back.
- Identify your protein at each meal. Be sure to eat at least three ounces of protein at each meal, choosing pure protein like chicken or fish at most meals. Stable protein takes longer to break down and will stay in your stomach longer, creating the feeling of satisfaction for a longer period. Your goal is 20 grams of protein per meal and 60 to 90 grams per day.
- Add one or two protein shakes per day. Due to the limited intake during mealtimes, it is essential to add at least one protein shake per day.
- Slow down and take a minimum of 20 minutes to eat. It takes the brain this long to send the signals that you are satisfied. Eating too fast increases your chances of overeating.
- Before eating, take the time to cut food into pea-sized bites and chew thoroughly before swallowing to eliminate the chance of food getting stuck.
- Follow the 30-20-30 rule. No drinking 30 minutes before, the 20 minutes during and 30 minutes after you eat. It is important to get 4 to 6 ounces of food in during mealtimes, and if you drink with your meals, you will fill your pouch up with fluids and not have space for food. Fluids will also push food through your pouch faster, causing you to be hungrier sooner.
- Learn to be a mindful eater. Surgery was in your stomach, not in your head. Check in before eating to make sure you are physically hungry.
- Make taking your bariatric vitamins a priority. It is essential to take bariatric-specific supplements after weight-loss surgery.
- Remind yourself every morning of your “why” – why you decided to have bariatric surgery. Give yourself a daily dose of motivation.
Training yourself to follow these ten steps will drastically improve your long-term success with weight-loss surgery. I would love to hear from you! How have these tips helped you? Is there something you are doing that I did not mention that you think would help other weight-loss surgery patients?
Sending you warm wishes! ☺
Prudence- Registered Dietitian & Health Coach
Written by Prudence Ticknor, RD