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My Diet 1 year Post Op  Bariatric Edition

What exactly should my diet look like a year out?? 
I love this topic. It allows me to dig in deep and discuss nutrition and all the benefits of eating a diet of real food.
So you have made up your mind and you are about to start the pre-op diet. You have all the foods lined up and your bariatric vitamins are set up and ready to go. It’s a very exciting time and as you embark on the pre-op diet, you begin to think about what comes post-op?
I guide my clients through those first few weeks before surgery and then we dig in post-surgery over those first four to six weeks. I slowly add foods back to your diet. We build up slowly. We add back yogurt, cottage cheese, creamy vegetable soups, mashed avocado, mashed berries, refried beans, and peanut butter.
Next up we try an egg, some tuna, some salmon.
Moving up the scale we add some soft chicken, high-quality deli meats, a bit of cheese.
By week 4 I am probably giving you a “prescription” to eat some red meat, like a few bites of filet mignon.
From that stage, you are onto real foods only and I like to remove that protein shake that you have been drinking and replace it with “real food”. This is a build-up over a few weeks. There is no hurry and some of my clients move through this phase more quickly and some move through it more quickly.
What comes next? We’ve done the pre-op diet. We’ve had our surgery. We have moved through the post-op guidelines. What is the next stage?
I see the first six months to a year as a “trial stage”. We are trying new foods. Our new tummies like some of the foods and hate some of the foods. I ask you to try “said” food once again after a few weeks if your tummy doesn’t like it. 
Once we are at the 6-month post-op stage, we’ve pretty much-made peace with “SallySleeve”. She’s the new boss of us and she decides if we are eating something or leaving it alone. We know what Sally wants. We know what Sally likes. We have an understanding that if Sally eats too much, she will get angry and kick us in the butt. She’s a tough cookie and she knows what she likes.
At this 6 month stage, I find that a lot of my post-op clients are starting to add back a few of their favorite “old” foods. This gets a bit tricky. They have lost a good amount of weight and they are feeling so much better. Their labs have come back greatly improved. They have got their “groove” back… BUT they are still not at their “goal weight”. Adding these foods back STALL the scale and once they’ve experimented a bit with their “old habits”, they generally jump back on the wagon and get back to their bariatric lifestyle. This “experimental stage” lasts on average 6 weeks before they get fed up and fully understand that old habits breed old results.
Back on track, we go and the weight loss starts up again :). By year one post-op my clients are nearing the finish line. A lot of them have reached their goal weight but most of them are struggling with the few last lbs. It’s normal because as we get closer to our goal weight, the harder it is to lose weight. This is where the tough get even tougher and begin to log their foods and start that important walking program. They increase their fluid intake and eat a bit more protein each day.
So here we are one-year post-op. What should our diet look like? What kinds of foods should we be eating? How should we be feeding ourselves regularly? 
This is how our diet should look one-year post op….
We should be eating a diet of whole, live, fresh, natural, good quality food. We will still have a good restriction so over-eating will still be difficult. 
 What gets easier is eating “slider foods” so we are going to stay away from those.
  • We will be eating foods high in protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, seafood, meat, eggs.
  • We will be eating high-quality dairy products (NO low-fat products) such as cottage cheese, greek yogurt, milk
  • We will be eating small amounts of healthy fat like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, butter, cheese
  • We will be eating healthy carbohydrates like lots of low carb veggies and berries
So what does a healthy one-year post-op daily menu look like? How should I be eating? 
Here is a sample day for you to review…
  • Wake up and drink a cup of water followed by your tea or coffee (if you drink them).
  • Make sure to take your supplements!
  • Have Breakfast – one to two eggs with some spinach and a sprinkle of cheese
  • Make sure to drink water between breakfast and lunch
  • Lunch – Chicken salad / 3 ounces of chicken, one cup of greens and mixed veggies, salad dressing made with Greek yogurt, lime and cilantro – salt and pepper
  • Make sure to drink water between lunch and dinner
  • Dinner – a small piece of salmon with green beans topped with a pat of butter
  • Snack – a handful of almonds and a handful of strawberries.
  • Make sure to drink some more water in the early to late evening.


This is just a sample of the amount and kinds of foods you will be eating a year post-op. 
If you are at your goal weight and you don’t want to lose any more weight, I have some great options to get the scale STUCK so don’t be shy and reach out to me.
If you are following a one-year post-op eating plan like the one above and you are sleeping well and getting a walk in each day, the scale should still be moving approximately a half-pound to a pound each week.
Please remember that we are all biochemical individuals. We are not computers. We lose weight at a different rate and we gain weight at a different rate. We are constantly striving for a good and healthy diet and sometimes we are “rock stars” and other times are more difficult and we make poor food decisions. 
What I wanted to demonstrate is what a perfect post-op diet “should” look like one-year post-op. We are eating our way to good health by choosing foods wisely and keeping our blood sugars and insulin levels nice and low.
Here’s to you and your bariatric-groove!
Sheri – Your Bariatric Nutritionist RHN

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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