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Lifestyle is Key – Bariatric Edition

It is a delight for me when clients reach out because they are interested in starting keto.  It’s one of my favorite things to take about …. REAL FOOD!  I love food!!

Sure, in the beginning, it may be a bit of a “fad diet” that piqued their interest but I know that over time, if they adhere to the ground rules, they will feel so much better and it will turn into a long term lifestyle.

It doesn’t matter to me “why” they want to jump o the keto-band-wagon.  

What matters to me is that they will most certainly improve their health, start to feel more energy, see the scale move and have a better nights sleep.

When all these benefits are discovered, weight loss will be a side-effect of cleaning up the diet and eating real food again.

I think the proper ketogenic diet fits so well into a bariatric lifestyle and that is why I often encourage it but we need to learn and understand the fundamentals of a good ketogenic diet before we jump on the keto bandwagon.

But, I can tell you that I have many post-bariatric surgery clients who are following a ketogenic lifestyle to get to their goal weight and maintain it.

I also work on the daily with bariatric clients who have experienced a re-gain and they lose the weight again with a keto diet/ that then turns into a ketogenic lifestyle.

That is what we all should be looking for!  Lifestyle is key.

So now that you know you can eat in a ketogenic fashion, what are the rules?

You are going to need to come at it a little differently than the average person.

There are a few differences, starting with the fact that you probably can eat only small portions of food.

Some folks that eat too much fat or food at one time, may have “bathroom issues”.  It is these types of issues that prevent a lot of bariatric clients from thinking that they are able to follow a ketogenic lifestyle.

So if you have had bariatric surgery, and you want to start keto, here are some suggestions to get started!

  • Slowly reduce your carbohydrate load.
  • Slowly increase your intake of healthy fats.
  • Don’t jump into it quickly.  Ease into it over a two week period.
  • If you don’t have your gallbladder, take three weeks to ease into it.

So, let’s talk about what Keto looks like compared to a “regular diet”.

Bariatric Keto, in a nutshell, looks like this, the Standard American Diet (or SAD for short), flipped on its head.

Nuts and seeds are at the top of the pyramid, with berries.  Dairy products are below that.  Next, you will have your non-starchy vegetable category, followed by proteins and at the very bottom, you have your healthy fats.

The keto benefits start as soon as you omit the unhealthy processed carbs and you get your carbs through vegetables and low sugar berries.

The news keeps getting better because you don’t need to chow down on GOBS of fat – but you do need to restrict your refined carbohydrates.

So – if you are able to eat fat moderately, then keto may be exactly what you are looking for.

Remember, ketosis is triggered by carb restriction.  This is so important.

Now for even more good news …. 

We are going to eat some of the really good stuff that the regular keto community thrives on such as: 

  • Seafood, meat, poultry
  • lots of low carb veggies
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Berries
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • This diet works so well for bariatric clients because it gets us to stop eating refined and processed foods.  It gets us off the sugar merry-go-round.  It maximizes weight loss ad it helps us to feel satiated for a longer period of time.

Some other important points to this way of eating…

  • Eat carbs in the form of non-starchy vegetables and berries.
  • Eat protein but not too much.
  • Eat healthy fat with each meal.
  • Don’t be afraid of nuts and seeds.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • My blog next week is titled Keto-Cyborgs.  You are going to like my rant and understand how keeping it simple is the key to success.

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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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