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Bariatric Surgery To live on a Diet Bariatric Edition

Why the heck did I have bariatric surgery if I now have to live on a diet? 
Ever see a friend or family member have bariatric surgery, lose the weight they needed to lose, and then regain a portion or ALL of their weight back?  
Are you a new post-op?  Are you reading the title of my blog above and shaking your head thinking, “That will NEVER be me”! 
Are you a new post-op who has heard the stories of bariatric patients gaining any weight back and believing that you will not ever allow that to happen to you? 
Are you a new post-op who is secretly judging other bariatric patients who have a regain, and believe that they are “out of control” people who have wasted their time and money having surgery?
Years ago, my clients believed that they could have bariatric surgery and then just continue their regular lifestyle habits after surgery and maintain their weight loss.  It wasn’t their fault.  They were the “pioneers” of this kind of surgery.   
Bariatric surgery wasn’t “mainstream” surgery until just a decade ago.  Back then, my clients were the brave souls who paved the way today for all the rest of us.  They were the ones who made it easier for everyone today who is considering surgery.  Their stories are the reason why we have a better chance of success today post-bariatric surgery.
Today you can log onto thousands and thousands of weight loss surgery facebook groups.  There are forums with a gazillion members waiting to tell you their personal stories.  There are nutritionists (like me), who are dedicated to weight loss surgery clients.  There is a ton of online support and information today.
Back in the day, this didn’t exist.  
Back in the day, nutritional science also led us down the wrong path.  We were told to eat “low-fat yogurt” and “low-fat bran muffins”.  We were sold creamy soups in boxes and tins of protein shakes. We ate all the processed foods and we thought that fruits would keep us slim.  We were afraid of eating eggs as they were supposed to give us high cholesterol.
Fast forward to 2019!  We now know that A LOT of that information was WRONG!  What the heck?  Is it our fault? Did we do something wrong to deserve this misinformation?  
Nutritional science has taken leaps and bounds.  We, as consumers, want more information. We want to know what we are eating and what the ingredients are.  We are taking more control over the decisions of what we choose to put into our fridge.  We are asking more questions.  
We now truly understand that bariatric surgery is only a tool.  It is how we choose to use that tool and what we decide to put into that tool that will determine our results long term.  
I like to teach my clients that bariatric surgery is a first step and not the last step.  Bariatric surgery used to be thought of as a “done and be done” surgery.  The mindset was, “I will have surgery and never have to worry about obesity again”.  
Today I work very hard with my clients ensuring that they understand that bariatric surgery is the FIRST STEP.  It is what comes afterward that ensures success. Surgery doesn’t ensure success.  You ensure your success by learning the bariatric rules and following them.  Sure, it’s easier to follow the rules because you have the tool but you still need to treat that tool correctly.
If we eat all the refined and processed carbs post-bariatric surgery, we will more than likely have a re-gain.  
If we stick to real food, we will lose the weight we need to lose and be able to maintain.  
I am not saying that you can never again visit a Burger King or Pizza is off-plan for the rest of your life.  Heck, I eat pizza on Fridays’ but I make sure not to eat it on Monday and Tuesday … know what I mean? 
We need to stick to protein and vegetables as our main diet and in the middle comes our nuts, seeds, berries and healthy fats.  We need to plan our meals because failing to plan means planning to fail.  How can we have any self-control at the deli counter if we are starving hungry?  
I like to think of the bariatric post-surgery meal plan as a strict meal plan with a bit of moderation added in when weight is stable.  We do need to adhere to a food plan post-surgery but that food plan can be really nice.  It is a fresh food diet.  Let’s go ahead and embrace this way of eating instead of fighting against it.
Let’s be realistic … when you are 15 months post-surgery and you have a regain of 7 lbs, it is easy to do a reboot and get back to the food basics.  We need to food prep and get some organized food habits happening. A bit of work and the re-gain will be gone again. 
BUT, when you are 15 years post-surgery and you have gained A PILE of weight again, it is not because you are eating pretty little egg and veggie omelets for breakfast.  The weight has come back on because you are stopping at Sonic and grabbing a breakfast bagel with a french vanilla latte. You’ve slipped back into really bad habits.
If you’ve had this happen to you.  Reach out to me!  There are options. 
My thoughts today about bariatric surgery are very different from what they were 13 years ago when I started working with clients. 
Yes, there is a right way to eat and a wrong way to eat. Because we have bariatric surgery, doesn’t mean that we can eat any old way. We need to follow some basic rules and we should be eating real food.  Real food is the stuff that doesn’t come in a box.  It is the food that we find on the outside aisles of our supermarkets.
It is a joy for me to see you have surgery and lose weight and it is even a bigger joy when I see you rocking your maintenance plan.
Here’s to you reaching your goals and maintaining them!
Hugs and Low Carb Wishes xo

Don’t forget to watch my FaceBook LIVE  on this exact topic Friday, November 22th at 3pm EST.


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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