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Best Practices for Maintaining a Healthy Diet After Weight Loss Surgery


By Dr. Dieter Pohl

Bariatric surgery helps patients lose weight, but is also a tool to help jumpstart the process of getting to and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Success depends on making changes to your diet and health that lasts for months and years after surgery. We’ve put together five best practices for maintaining a healthy diet after weight loss surgery to avoid falling into old habits and staying on the road to weight loss success. 

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is the number one reason for hospital readmission after weight loss surgery. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and in between meals is vital to staying hydrated. Drinking 64 oz per day is recommended, though this might feel difficult with a new, smaller stomach, it’s important to try and stay hydrated to ensure your new stomach heals properly. 

Prioritize Protein

Protein is an important part of your diet both for healing and weight loss after surgery. It’s also an integral part of maintaining muscle mass as well as healthy hair, skin and nails. Try to mix protein in with each meal to ensure your body is being fueled with what it needs. Lentils, various beans, as well as nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, so mixing in 60 to 80 grams per day can make a huge difference in your diet, and how you feel overall. 

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is based on the concept of mindfulness, which emphasizes a person’s focus on the present. Mindful eating involves slowly eating without distractions, measuring portions, eating to maintain overall health, and appreciating what you are eating. Distinguishing between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers such as boredom can help you maintain your diet, as well as avoid overeating. 

Keep a Log

Keeping a food journal of what and how often you are eating can easily help you identify ways to improve your diet, or make it more clear when your healthy eating habits begin to slip. Logging can help you ensure you’re drinking enough water, getting enough protein, and avoiding grazing. Practice writing down what you eat and drink, the time, and how you felt before and after to help build and maintain good habits. 

Take Your Daily Vitamins

Taking your daily vitamins is an important part of your daily routine. Supplements like multivitamins, calcium and iron are packed with nutrients to keep your body healthy. Be sure to discuss your post-op vitamin plan with your physician or dietitian.

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