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Food is Fuel Rethinking The Way We Feel About Food Post Weight Loss Surgery

My friends and family will tell you that I am passionate about nutrition, traveling and healthy living. I feel that it’s important to stay on top of the latest nutrition science and to be able to share it with all my clients.  I want you to also become passionate about nutrition post-surgery.

I am not always the healthiest I can be and not every meal that I consume consists of the ideal plate, but in my mind, I want to strive to be that person who adapts to a lifestyle where I don’t miss anything from the SAD – Standard American Diet. 

We cannot just stop eating after bariatric surgery.  We need to use food in order to drop the weight.  Food is the tool that will get us to our goal.  Food is not our enemy.  Food becomes our friend.  In order to be successful, we need to deal with our feelings about food and to understand how important it is to live our healthiest life.

We are always on a diet.  I hate to say this but most of us have a chronic history of being on a diet all of the time.  We are constantly restricting ourselves.  When I am working with a client, coordinating their bariatric surgery, one of the first questions they ask me is “what kind of diet will I be put on”.  And they are right, they will need to follow a bariatric pre-op and post-op plan but their next question is “after the post op guidelines, what kind of diet will I be on for the rest of my life”?…

Let’s talk about sustainability.  We cannot live our lives in the constant vicious circle of being on and off of a diet.  It messes with our moods and our metabolisms.  

My real goal will be to change the way my clients think about food.  What needs to be changed is the relationship with food.  What needs to be put in place is a new lifestyle where we eat real food, not the packaged stuff.  

We will always need to put the emphasis on high-quality proteins and healthy fats.  Carbs are used as quick energy but in the long run, they are not going to sustain us.  Our bodies are made in a way where we are going to first burn carbs, and then protein comes next and the last thing to burn is fat.  Our goal is to burn fat but this is the last thing that our bodies want to burn.  

My work also consists of teaching clients how to eat.  I encourage them to meet their protein goals and also their water goals.  I encourage them to think of food like fuel and to fuel their bodies correctly to get to their desired goals.  

Carbohydrates are a huge topic because I want clients to understand the difference between different kinds of carbohydrates.  When we understand how carbohydrates are processed in the body, we start to get the concept of living a low carb lifestyle.  We do not want to have our insulin levels high.  We want our blood sugars to be even throughout the day without any high spikes.  If we can accomplish this, we will feel more satisfied and less hungry throughout the day and with better energy.

Post-bariatric clients need to adapt to this lifestyle without feeling like they are on a diet.  I want them to understand that the SAD standard American diet is not a healthy way of eating and the closer they get to a whole food diet, the better they will feel and the better their results will be.  

Instead of feeling “I have to eat this way”,  I want them to say “I get to eat this way”.  Yes, they are fortunate to have a surgery for restriction and an eating plan that is sustainable, consisting of whole, live, natural, good quality food. Once they adapt to this way of eating, going back to the SAD will be disappointing.  Those types of processed and refined foods only lead to high blood sugar, high insulin levels and uncontrollable hunger with weight gain.  

Let’s all enjoy a simpler way of eating.  Let’s stick to eating real food.  Let’s continue to learn about food and what it does for us.  Let’s never get tired of trying to live a more natural lifestyle which includes more natural foods.  

Push on!  You’ve got this!

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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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