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Bariatric Re-Gain Basic Plan 101

Let’s talk about a viable solution for regain. 
At the bottom of this article, you will find a low-carb menu to download. Read the article first. Understand the rules. It’s easier to follow along when you get the gist 100%.
Regain. It is a very popular topic among my crowd. It’s popular because post-op bariatric clients can relate. Either they fear the regain or they have experienced a regain. When I write about this topic, it gets more clicks than most of my topics. 
Another super popular topic is low-carb/ ketogenic plans but I believe that they are extremely popular due to bariatric folks, searching for ways to maintain their weight loss or for those of us who have experienced a regain.
I work very closely with my bariatric clients who have had surgery with our group and there are some common threads that hold this community together. We are all seeking improved health. We all have that goal to get to our ideal weight and then maintain it. There are a few things that work every time. I see it time and time again. What’s the secret?
I call it “going back to the basics”. You know … that place you were BEFORE you started adding back your Starbucks coffee and just a bite of a bagel. That place where you wouldn’t dream of eating candy. The place where you didn’t crave a warm bowl of pasta or a fresh piece of white bread smothered in butter. Remember that place? The examples that I gave above, those are MY flaws. You can replace them with whatever it is that floats YOUR boat. 
We are all guilty of getting off track sometimes. It is a part of the journey and the last time I checked, nobody was perfect. It’s not realistic. What is realistic is to have a plan. That plan is to help you get out of the bowl of pasta and into a plate of salad. It needs to be something “doable” because motivation can only take us so far. After that, lifestyle takes over.
If I look around right now, I see a lot of us have lost our way. The anxiety of this pandemic is taking its toll. We are not exercising or eating right. We are not sleeping and our stress levels are THROUGH THE ROOF. May I offer a few suggestions? 
  • TURN OFF THE SOCIAL MEDIA – don’t allow yourself to slip into the world of FB or IG 
  • STOP WITH THE PANIC – it is out of our control 
  • MAKE SURE TO GET A BIT OF EXERCISE – it works wonders for your mindset
  • GET BACK ON TRACK WITH YOUR EATING – we ate all the donuts, enough is enough
  • GET SOME GOOD QUALITY SLEEP – the steps above will help with this.
  • CHANGE YOUR MINDSET – we are going to be here for a while so let’s settle in and count some blessings.
I have to do the above steps every day. I need to remind myself every single day. I need to NOT allow myself to slip into fear, panic, and anxiety every single day.  I need to take each day at a time and to not allow my brain to creep into the future. I am here now. I am healthy. I am blessed. I have my home, my family, my pets, my spirituality. I am going to be okay. We are ALL going to be okay.
Can we talk about food now? 
Ahhhh FOOD. Hands up if you are a foodie like me?!!
I think about food and recipes and cooking styles and how fun it is to feed my family and how creative I can be in the kitchen. I cannot draw to save my life but I can cook. That’s my “thing” and I think that a lot of you also love to get your hands dirty in the kitchen. I call it my “happy place” because it allows me to leave the world behind and dive into new recipes and ways to reinvent old dishes. 
When I talk to clients about re-gain, I ask them to provide me with a food log. A food log shows us when we mess up. Sure, you can tell me that you are eating a perfect diet but when you start to jot things down and take a hard look at what’s happening, 9 out of 10 times you will tell me exactly what is going wrong.  It will be obvious if you make a food log.
….It may be a quick stop on your way to work at the Dunkin Donuts window.
….It may be the fact you haven’t made time to prep your lunch and are suddenly at the mercy of the local restaurant.
….It may be that you are too tired to make dinner when you get home so the drive-thru is a simple option
….It may be all that take-out on the weekends to simplify your life
….It may the snack-attacks you get when watching the newest Netflix series.
I am guilty of everything above. I have to “reel it in” a lot of the time. When I find myself “spiraling”, I take charge and pull it back in. 
Enter “my clean eating plan”. What’s that? It is what it sounds like. I get rid of the junk. “Clean” for me means NO JUNK FOOD. It means no processed foods. It means that I am going to go super low on my refined carbs and eat a diet of moderate protein and fat – my carbs come from my veggies and berries. Easy stuff. 
I will shop around the exterior of the supermarket and if it comes in a package with a long ingredient list, it’s not getting into my shopping cart. 
My shopping list goes something like this: 
  • Lots and Lots of Vegetables
  • Berries (fresh or frozen)
  • Meat, Fish, Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt and Milk or a Milk substitute like almond or coconut milk (no sugar added)
  • Coffee Cream
  • Grass-fed Butter
  • Excellent Coffee Beans
  • Olive oil or Avocado oil
  • A Mixture of Nuts and Seeds (raw and unsalted)
That’s it, folks. That is what is getting into my shopping cart.
Here are some of the emails I am going to get … 
Can I have low-carb tortillas? 
You can but when I go back to basics, I don’t eat them. I use giant lettuce leaves.
Can I have diet soda?
No, you shouldn’t be drinking soda anyway – it’s one of the bariatric rules.
Can I have cereal? 
Most certainly not … boxed cereals are FULL of carbs and sugars.
Can I have peanut butter and cheese?
You can, but only a very small amount.
Can I have keto desserts or low carb desserts?
You can, but I eliminate these when I am getting back on track. They make me crave sweets.
What happens if I don’t like BLANK ___ (insert food here)?
Don’t eat it. I don’t eat things that I don’t like. Now if you don’t like fish and eggs and seafood and chicken, good luck to you. I cannot invent new foods for you. 
How much is a serving of vegetables?
If you eat one or two cups of broccoli … this is not important. Eat veg until you are satisfied.
The next step is to take two veggies and combine it with a protein (4 ounces) and create a dish.
Here are some sample dishes.
  • Chicken vegetable soup
  • Chicken salad
  • Baked chicken with broccoli and a side salad
  • Grilled salmon with cauliflower and a side salad
  • Steak with green beans and a side salad
  • Sauteed shrimp with veggies
  • Omelet with spinach and mushrooms
  • Hamburger patty with a salad
  • Greek Yogurt with Berries and almonds
There are so many dishes that you can create with two vegetables and a serving of protein.


If we stick to these very basic rules, the results are tremendous. The weight comes off if we are not at our ideal weight and if we are at our ideal weight, we will maintain that weight. 
Eating this way makes so much sense. Plus, if you have blood sugar issues or metabolic issues, you will stabilize your insulin levels. Your energy levels will soar. You will sleep better. You will not be constantly hungry. This is the way we should be eating all of the time. This is the type of “eating lifestyle” that we should aim for.
Sure, cake happens – but when it happens too often, we need to go back to the basics and take control over it.
Here is a menu that I put together a few months ago which is just a simple low-carb eating plan. 
Download it and use it and watch the scale and SMILE. It works every single time.
Don’t get fancy – get back to the basics.

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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