Regain is a scary 6 letter word. It’s what all post op patients are afraid of and try to avoid at all costs.
Post surgery after the honeymoon period ends, it is normal to gain back a few pounds but that’s where it needs to stop and not continue. So what can you do to prevent that normal small “gain back a few pounds” to stop right there – at a few pounds ?
Journaling is a powerful tool. If you take the time to write down what you eat and drink then you will know exactly what you are putting into your body and you will be able to do the calorie count and the nutrient count. It’s not easy to do and it takes time out of your day but there are all kinds of apps that will do it for you. You just need to download your preferred app and get to it! This is a great tool so try to make the commitment to start today, just for 10 days. Don’t just take it from me, give it a real effort and give it a real try.
Don’t drink your calories please. Eat your calories. Eat real food and drink filtered water. It’s so easy to drink 350 calories and not feel any satiety. That leads to eating 300 calories and before you know it, your nice 350 calorie dinner has just turned into a whopping 750 calories. I know that your 350 calories may be your super nutritious shake but if you drink that shake and then eat breakfast, you have just overdone it and weight loss or maintenance will not occur. Regain is going to happen. Our body does not register 350 calories of liquid the same way it registers 350 calories of food. There is no sense of fullness after the beverage compared to the food. Please watch your liquid calories closely.
Bariatric plate percentages can also help you to see your plate in a more healthy “bariatric” way. Your bariatric plate is gong to be a small dinner plate and it’s going to contain three sections which should be starch, veggies and protein. Your protein section is going to be about 3 ounces big – that’s the size of the back of your hand or less. On that section goes your chicken, or fish, eggs or meat. 3/4 of a cup is the size for your non-starchy vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots, lettuce (of any variety) etc. Lastly you can give yourself two tablespoons of starch. That is your bread, rice, potato, corn ,peas or pasta. If you wanted to skip the starch, great ! Just increase your vegetables and add a small serving of avocado or a drizzle of olive oil on your veggies. The “bariatric plate” makes things simple. You don’t have to count your carbs or your calories. You can see your plate and determine that your proportions and choices are correct.
Failing to plan is planning for failure – food prep and plan your meals out. Being hungry is the worst time to make food decisions. Don’t let that happen to you and have a food plan please. Food structure is a bariatric patients best friend. Make peace with it and take a bit of time to plan out two to three days in advance. Sure, we all see those food preppers online who figure out a week in advance what they are eating – and that’s great for them but it’s hard to do. Just take a few days at a time and don’t get overwhelmed. You can even have the same things for a few days in a row to make it easier and less expensive. Aim for three meals and two snacks every day.
Allow the bariatric experts to help you if you need support. Please reach out every opportunity you get with every question that you have – it’s not just our work to assist you. We celebrate in seeing you succeed.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Nutritionist and Bariatric Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery patients for 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric patients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens.
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