Nutrition and Fitness
Weight loss lifestyle tips
Establishing new eating and exercise habits is an essential part of achieving and maintaining a healthier weight. A weight loss lifestyle includes planning and creating small, high-protein meals, chewing every bite thoroughly, exercising 30 minutes a day, keeping a diet and exercise diary, and more. Your bariatric team will provide nutrition and fitness guidance and help you develop plans that will work best for you.
The bariatric surgery diet
A typical meal in a bariatric surgery diet includes protein-rich foods such as lean meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products (yogurt, cheese, etc.), as well as starches and whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eating protein helps you feel fuller longer. You'll be able to eat a variety of foods—in smaller portions, of course.
Tips for eating healthy and getting proper nutrition:
- Stay hydrated. Drink 64 ounces of fluid a day. Ensure that you drink between meals, not during meals.
- Eat several small, nutritionally balanced meals each day. Your bariatric program will give you advice regarding the variety of foods that are appropriate.
- Avoid desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first 3 ingredients. These high-calorie foods can sabotage any diet, so no matter which procedure you have, it's a good idea to avoid them. For bypass patients, eating high-sugar, high-fat foods can lead to dumping syndrome, an unpleasant side effect.
- Eat very small bites (the size of a pencil eraser) and chew thoroughly. Pieces of food that are too large may end up coming back up.
- Listen to your body's cues that you are full. Eat slowly and without distraction while you get used to having a smaller stomach. This will help you to recognize when you are full so you can stop eating before you feel discomfort.
- Avoid drinking liquids with meals. Do not drink anything 15-30 minutes before a meal and do not drink during a meal. Wait 30-60 minutes after a meal before drinking anything. Liquid causes food to empty from your stomach too quickly. The goal is to keep food in your stomach so that you feel full sooner and stay full longer.
- Take the recommended vitamin and mineral supplements. Because gastric bypass is a malabsorptive procedure, patients often need to take vitamin and mineral supplements to avoid vitamin deficiencies. Gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy are restrictive procedures, which means the body can still absorb nutrients from food, but doctors sometimes recommend supplements for these patients as well. Always follow your doctor's recommendations.
- Try new foods cautiously to see what you can tolerate. Some foods can cause nausea, pain, vomiting, or may block the opening of your stomach. That's perfectly normal. When you try new foods, do so carefully. Avoid problem foods for a while before trying them again.
Exercise: Start slowly and aim for 30 minutes a day
Regular exercise will maximize the amount of weight you lose. And as little as 30 minutes of exercise per day can reduce the risks associated with diabetes, premature death, heart disease, high blood pressure, and colon cancer, improve muscle and bone structure, and improve mental health.30
If 30 minutes a day seems like a lot right now, don't worry. Gradual increases in activity will get you there—and even small increases in activity levels can add up to better health. Simple ways to increase activities and burn calories can range from vacuuming and gardening to walking and housecleaning. Strength-building exercises can also help tone your muscles, which will help you burn more calories and may help reduce the amount of skin sag you may experience after losing weight.
Activity plan tips
- Ask your bariatric team for help in creating an activity plan. Your team will recommend appropriate activities for your fitness level.
- You should start exercising only after your bariatric team says it's okay. If you have certain symptoms that don't go away after exercising, like chest pain, dizziness, pressure or pain in your chest, stop exercising and call your doctor right away.
- Recruit a walking buddy from your weight loss support team.