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A New Way of Eating: Planning for Success After Bariatric Surgery


Meal planning is an important part of almost every weight loss program — and it's doubly important after weight loss surgery. Gastric bypass procedures reduce the size of the stomach to a small pouch known as a “stomach pouch.” Adopting an appropriate diet after bariatric surgery is necessary to ensuring patients meet daily nutritional needs and avoid discomfort.

Diet After Bariatric Surgery Jim O'Brien"I always tell patients to prepare themselves for big changes in the way they eat after surgery," said Erin Fox, a dietitian at Harper BMI in Detroit. "But it's hard to really understand the scope of the changes until you are living with them."
Planning what and when you'll eat becomes extremely important after surgery. Harper BMI dietitians will help you personalize a meal plan and behaviors that are right for you. Jim O’Brien, producer of the morning show at 94.7 WCSX in Detroit, worked closely with Erin Fox to develop an eating strategy that fits with his busy schedule and non-traditional work hours

“Weight loss surgery is a powerful tool, but even more important is the plan they lay out for you,” Jim wrote on his Highway to Health blog. “Erin Fox, the dietitian at Harper BMI, gave me some great advice about going to barbeques: Plan what you’re going to eat before you get there, including your carbs and protein, etc.”

While each patient is different, your new diet after bariatric surgery will usually include recommendations like these:

  • Eat breakfast within 60 to 90 minutes of waking. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, but too many of us skip it. Make time to eat breakfast within 60 to 90 minutes of waking. It will jumpstart your metabolism and help you burn calories throughout the day!
  • Eat every 2 to 3 hours. With a small stomach pouch, it's important to eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. Eat 2 to 4 ounces of food at a time. This will help you get the nutrition you need, but avoid discomfort associated with eating larger meals.
  • Plan ahead. Most of us lead busy lives, so it's important to plan our meals and snacks in advance. If you are always on the go, get a small cooler and bring healthy meals and snacks with you. It will reduce those vending-machine and fast-food temptations!
  • Eat protein first. Getting sufficient protein is crucial to your overall health and weight loss, so always eat your protein first at mealtime. You don't want to fill your stomach pouch with other types of food and leave no room for protein. Generally, you'll want to start your meal with protein, followed by non-starchy vegetables. Carbohydrates like fruit and whole grains should come last.
  • Take your supplements. Your doctor will customize a vitamin and mineral supplementation regimen for you. To avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies you must take your supplements as directed — every day. This includes drinking whey or soy protein shakes to meet your body's protein requirements.
  • Stay hydrated. You need to drink about 64 ounces of water a day to avoid dehydration, which becomes a challenge when your stomach pouch won't hold much volume. Get in the habit of sipping about 2 ounces of water every 20 to 30 minutes. And never drink when you eat; it can make you feel ill and vomit. Even if it doesn’t make you feel sick, you don't want to fill up with water when you should be getting your protein and other nutrients.

Visit our recipe exchange to find meal ideas for your diet after bariatric surgery, or contact us today at 877.362.9898 to learn more about Your New Self Bariatrics.

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About your new self at Detroit Center in Michigan

Detroit Medical Center is the premier provider of weight loss surgery in Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. DMC operates offices in the Madison Heights and Southfield areas of Detroit, Michigan, and serves other areas including Ypsilanti, Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Livonia, Monroe, Lansing, Dearborn, Novi and Troy. Your New Self also serves Canadian bariatric patients as a preferred provider for the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Your New Self at Detroit Medical Center boasts four expert bariatric surgeons who specialize in LAP-BAND®, REALIZE® Band, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass bariatric surgeries.

Patients interested in weight loss surgery should sign up for a free informational seminar to learn more about their surgical options and get started today.