Acknowledging Regain Post Weight Loss Surgery – Bariatric Edition

 
I like this topic.  I like to hit it straight on and discuss it because regain does happen.  I don’t like to dance around this subject.
 
I have this great job of helping my clients get prepared for their weight loss surgery procedure.  They are nervous and excited and ready for a big change in their life.  They are sick and tired of battling against obesity and all the health issues that accompany it.  
 
We discuss their travel and surgery itinerary in detail.  We go over the pre-op diet and we begin to discuss the post-operative guidelines.  I make sure that ALL questions are answered BEFORE they arrive in Mexico.  This reduces anxiety and gets them ready for what’s to come.
 
There is this big learning curve.  It’s like learning to drink water again, and learning how to chew food again.  It’s baby steps post-surgery … and the weight starts to fall off.  It’s such an exciting time.  It’s learning how to work with a new, tiny tummy.
 
Those first 12 months … that is the time to learn about nutrition and proper eating habits and macro-nutrients and how to balance them.  
 
Is weight loss surgery permanent?  
Well, it is a permanent adjustment to your stomach and in some cases, intestines.  What it is not is guaranteed is weight loss and maintenance for the rest of your life.  If you want those things, then you will have to work for them.  “Working for them” means eating the right diet and staying or becoming active. 
 
Weight loss surgery is a tool.  I know you have heard this so many times but what does this mean?  How is it possible that I can have over half of my stomach removed but yet my weight loss maintenance is not guaranteed?  How is it possible that I could regain weight with only half of my stomach?  
 
If I weigh 240 pounds when I have surgery, and I am consuming only 600 to 800 calories daily post-op, then it means that I am going to rapidly lose weight.  This is a true statement.  This makes sense.  Now, I just hit onederland!  And I am consuming 1000 calories a day.  I am still losing weight but it is going more slowly now.  The scale is not moving quite so quickly but I am still happy and getting closer to my goal of weighing 150 pounds.  
 
Two scenarios 10 months post-op
 
Scenario One: What does my daily diet look like?  What do 1000 calories look like?  
Well, on a good day, I have a protein shake for breakfast that I make in my blender.  I have some cheese and nuts as a snack and a tuna salad for lunch.  I made chili for my family for dinner and I ate some of that.  I had another half shake in the evening while watching Netflix.  Of course, this is a good day.  
 
Scenario Two: What does my daily diet look like on a bad day?  I think I ate 1000 calories?
I may have a fancy Starbucks latte before my work-day begins.  Sharon brought some muffins to the office so I had one of those with a half banana.  Hey! Banana is a fruit so stop rolling your eyes.  We went out for lunch with the girls from the reception and I ordered the cheeseburger but I only ate half the bun and a handful of French fries.  I was feeling hungry mid-day so I made a healthy decision and purchased a protein bar from the snack area.  I was feeling tired when I got home but the kids were starving so we ordered a pizza.  I only ate one piece of pizza and the second piece I only ate the pizza toppings.  I stayed up a bit later than normal and when I was feeling peckish at 8 pm, I got myself a small bowl of grapes and a glass of orange juice. WELCOME TO THE CARBOHYDRATE ROLLERCOASTER (and it’s hard to get off)   
 
If scenario one is a typical day in the life of my post-op bariatric client, then I can see how they are going to have success moving into the 2nd year.
 
If scenario two is a typical day in the life of my post-op bariatric client, then I can see how a regain is going to occur in the 2nd year.
 
See how easy that was to predict?  It is not the bariatric tool that fails, it is the patient that fails the tool by feeding themselves incorrectly.  
 
What happens if we have fed ourselves incorrectly and we have experienced a regain?  Is everything lost?  Of course, all is not lost! It is time to take control of your diet and make good food decisions.  You need to make a plan.  You need to get to the grocery store.  You need to do some food prep.  You need to be the boss again. 
 
Time has a way of passing so quickly.  You wake up one day and you are 6 years post-op.  Does that mean that you are a bariatric senior and the rules from year one and two don’t apply to you?  Of course not.  They apply to you more than ever.  You are a bit older and your metabolism may be slowing down a bit more.  You may be having hormonal fluctuations.  You will need to be even more careful.  You will need to feed yourself correctly and make wise food decisions day in and day out.
 
This is why you hear the expressions “weight loss surgery is a tool” and “the struggle is real”.  
 
We need to constantly use our tool correctly in order to avoid the struggle of regain.  Your bariatric procedure is an advantage over not having surgery.  It gives you a fresh start.  You need to take that fresh start and then really make the changes you need to make.  I am talking about sodas, fancy coffees, fast food, inactivity, refined and processed carbohydrates.  
 
If you are feeling depressed because you’ve had a regain then I suggest that you grab one of my free nutrition plans and get ready to make some important changes.  All of my plans work if you work them.  They are based on real food – real, whole, live, fresh, natural food.  There are no tricks or gimmicks.  They will get you back to the place where the scale is moving and you are hitting your goals again.
 
This is the journey.  
 
I hear people say “I didn’t have weight loss surgery to live on a diet”.  Well, unfortunately, we cannot eat like teenagers and expect to have good health and our goal weight.  This is just the reality.  There is no surgery that you can have that enables you to eat pizza, hamburgers, and chicken nuggets while drinking soda and expect to remain healthy. 
 
I have never had a client tell me that they have had a regain from eating chicken and broccoli.  The reasons for regain are clear to me and they should also be clear to you.  It’s all the little decisions that you make each and every day that determine your outcome.
 
Join me in 2020 and let’s work together to improve our nutritional habits and our overall health.
 
Here’s to healthy long-term health.  We really ARE what we EAT.
 
Healthy Hugs to You!

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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My first top food picks for 2020 / Superfoods to the rescue? – Bariatric Edition

 
Superfoods?  Can they save us? 
 
Do I believe that ANY food has superhuman powers?  Can eating a few bites of kale save the day?  Will adding MCT oil to my coffee turn me into Superman?  If I just eat spinach, will I be strong like Popeye?
 
I don’t believe all the hype when it comes to what a lot of people term as “superfoods”.  If it was so easy, we all would take a multivitamin and never have to worry about our nutritional profiles.
 
Our bodies are much more complex.  I believe that not only we are what we eat, but we are also “what we digest”.  
 
Our digestive systems take a beating each and every day.  Eat, drink, repeat.  Our bodies work hard to digest, absorb and assimilate everything that we throw into it throughout the day.  
 
A lot of us have a digestive system that is compromised.  60 to 70 million people in the US live with issues such as GERD, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, IBS, Crohn’s disease, gallstones, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, ulcers, constipation, and gastro-paresis.
 
I know that most of my clients believe that if they are eating the right foods, they are getting those vital nutrients from those foods.  Then why is it that many people suffer from nutritional deficiencies?  What’s happening?
 
My bariatric clients tell me that they are eating the right foods, and they are sending me their food logs and they look terrific but their labs are still coming back a bit “off”.  This is where we need to go one step further and have a deeper dive into nutrition.
 
Our digestive systems are taxed.  They are not always able to complete their tasks and we should be supporting them.  Because we eat the kale, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are getting all the nutrients out of that kale. 
 
So how can we support our digestive system?  How can we make sure that it has what it needs to do the important job? 
 
Enter …. The superfoods.  Let me be clear about how I feel about the term “superfood”.  It gives the impression that if I eat just this “one food”, I will be healthy and strong.  This is not how I want you to think about superfoods.  
 
A termed “superfood” is only food with a super nutritional profile.  It is higher in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals when compared to other foods.  
 
It is not going to save the day or enable us to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  It is only a food that when added to our diets, can elevate our nutritional profile.  
 
If we eat “said food” one time, it is not going to suddenly make us healthier.  Good health comes from a mixture of a lot of things.  It doesn’t come from only eating kale.  Can you see where I am going with this?  Good health is eating the correct diet most days, exercising, sleeping right, lowering our stress levels, socializing with our favorite people. 
 
We don’t suddenly find good health at the bottom of a bowl of blueberries and this is why I don’t like the term “superfoods”.  
 
But, there are some foods that we can add to our diet, that have a high nutritional profile to support our digestive system and help it to do its job.  This is why there are on the top of my list and I have them in my fridge and I try to eat them every day.
 
This is “Sheri’s list of fantabulous foods” to keep handy….
 
1 –  Fermented Foods
 
Fermented foods are excellent at supporting our digestive systems.  They contain micro-organisms such as yeast and bacteria.  This is not some “new” food.  Fermented foods have been around forever.  They contain the “good bacteria” that are natural probiotics.  Some of the most popular fermented foods are yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, apple cider vinegar.  You can experiment and make these in your own kitchen or purchase them at your local supermarket.  The idea is to add a spoonful to each meal to increase the healthy bacteria in your body to aid with digestion, absorption, and assimilation.
 
2 – Avocados
 
Avocados, yes, they made my top 5 list AGAIN.  I know, I know, not everybody likes avocado.  I am not adding these to my list because I absolutely love eating them.  I am adding them because they are a wonderful source of healthy fat.  I eat a bit of avocado a few times a week because I realize how great they are.  They contain almost 20 essential vitamins and nutrients.  They are an excellent source of unsaturated fats and fibre.  They are loaded with B vitamins as well as vitamin E.  Is there anything avocado can’t do?
 
3 – Seeds 
 
Seeds are one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your nutritional profile.  They are small but pack a huge punch!  They are little powerhouses full of fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.  The best part is that they are so easy to eat and to add to your foods. Add them to your smoothies, salads, soups, and stews.  You can choose a different seed each week or you can mix them together.  Think chia seeds, pumpkins seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds – and the list goes on and on.  Get Sprinkling!
 
4 – Microgreens
 
Ah,microgreens.  What’s a microgreen?  It’s a baby version of the big version.  They are packed with vitamins and minerals.  The big versions of the greens are fantastic but the baby version is a “super” version of regular greens.  These teeny microgreens hold the power to grow the big green versions.  That tells you how important they are.  If you like the big greens, you are going to love the micro ones.  They are packed with flavour and they look beautiful.  You can easily grow them in your kitchen or you can now find them in your regular supermarket. Add them to your low carb sandwiches, soups, stews, salads.  Eat them on their own.  Go micro greens!! 
 
5 – Tahini
 
Tahini!  Have you ever tried this lovely paste?  Let me explain…. So many of us are becoming “nut-free” due to allergy concerns and issues.  Tahini is a seed.  It is creamy, ground up sesame seed paste.  It’s not a nut but we can use it as such.  It is loaded with healthy fats, fibre, protein, calcium, iron, and magnesium.  Wherever you use peanut butter, you can use tahini.  My favorite way to consume this calcium packed super seed is to make a salad dressing with it.  Add tahini, lemon, stevia, rice vinegar, salt, pepper and sesame oil together – mix well and add to your salad greens! It is delicious and versatile!  
 
There are so many foods that I would like to add to this list but let’s just start with these 5 foods.  I will add another 5 to this list next month and this allows us to take time to learn about food slowly while easing into any new foods we encounter.
 
Surprise yourself!  Try something new!  It may just become a part of your regular food routine.  Eat clean, stay healthy and love yourself.
 
 
 
 
Healthy Hugs to You!

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

For bariatric patients Bariatric Expert Amazon Line

Time for a “bariatric expert” multivitamin?  Here is a perfect way for bariatric patients to get it now on Amazon:  Bariatric Expert MultiVitamins.

Eat Like a Bariatric Expert with our Nutrition Plans.

Feel free to share your victories and struggles in our Facebook Group. I would love to connect with you.

Stay motivated with Bariatric Wristbands – post your results online!

 

Gastric Sleeve Plush Toy Keychain $11.99usd

Gastric Sleeve Throw Blanket $19.99usd

Plush Toy Gastric Sleeve Recovery Fun Pillow $13.99usd