Cheat Sheet

Weight Loss Surgery Cookbook For Dummies

From Weight Loss Surgery Cookbook For Dummies by Brian K. Davidson, David Fouts, Karen Meyers

Weight loss surgery can be an invaluable tool for losing weight and becoming healthier, but you have to use the tool correctly for success. When recovering from weight loss surgery, it's important to follow your doctor's instructions to ease back into eating and take care of your healing body. Long-term, you need to be mindful of portion sizes and of what foods are good for you and which ones you should avoid.

Eating Stages for the First Few Months after Weight Loss Surgery

The stages of a bariatric diet in the first months after weight loss surgery may vary, depending on your surgeon, and the length of time you follow each food stage also varies, depending on the type of weight loss surgery you had. Here's a general, four-stage plan for healing and weight loss success, but be sure to follow your surgeon and dietitian's instructions.

Stage 1: Clear liquids

Basically, clear liquids are just that: liquids you can see through. Water probably comes to mind, but several other liquids qualify as well:

  • Pulp-free juices that have been diluted 50/50 with water (orange juice and tomato juice are not considered clear liquid)

  • Clear beef, chicken, or vegetable broth (look for high-protein broths)

  • Clear, sugar-free gelatin

  • Sugar-free ice pops

  • Decaf coffee and tea

  • Sugar-free, noncarbonated fruit drinks

  • Flavored sugar-free, noncarbonated waters

  • Clear liquid supplements

Stage 2: Full liquids

Full liquids are liquid or semi-liquid at room temperature, pourable, and you can't see through them. You may begin these as soon as the second day after surgery if you're tolerating clear liquids.

Full liquids include all liquids on the clear liquid phase and the following foods:

  • Low-fat strained or puréed soups

  • Cooked wheat or rice cereals that have been thinned and are a soupy consistency

  • All juices (remember to dilute fruit juice 50/50 with water)

  • Skim or 1 percent milk; plain, low-fat soy milk; or buttermilk (or lactose-free milk if you're lactose intolerant)

  • Sugar-free custards or puddings

  • Sugar-free hot chocolate

  • Protein shakes with at least 10 grams of protein per 100 calories, less than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories, and less than 12 grams of carbohydrate per serving

  • No-sugar-added or light yogurt (no fruit on the bottom)

Stage 3: Smooth foods

Smooth foods (more commonly known as puréed foods) are foods that have been put through the food processor to smooth them out. You may follow this phase for up to four weeks depending on your surgeon's recommendations.

Smooth foods include:

  • Blended low-fat cottage cheese (great source of protein!)

  • Blended scrambled eggs

  • Mashed potatoes made with skim milk

  • Silken tofu

  • Sugar-free applesauce

  • Blended meats

  • Part-skim ricotta cheese

Stage 4: Soft Foods

In stage 4 you'll find it a little easier to get your protein requirements without using supplements. Your diet can include the following soft foods:

  • Finely ground tuna

  • Soft, tender, moist proteins like chicken salad (no onions or celery), turkey, veal, pork, beef, shrimp, scallops, and white fish that have been minced or ground in the food processor

  • Soft, cooked vegetables

  • Canned fruit packed in its own juice or water

  • Eggs

  • Low-fat soft cheese

  • Low-fat cottage cheese

  • Beans

  • Crackers

Tips for Eating and Drinking after Weight Loss Surgery

The way you eat and drink changes after you have weight loss surgery. The following tips help you to be healthy, successfully lose weight, and maintain weight loss after bariatric surgery:

  • Stay hydrated. That means 48 to 64 ounces of fluids a day. To drink that much you're going to have to sip, sip, and sip all day.

  • No straws or gum. They both bring air into the pouch, which can be really uncomfortable.

  • Don't eat and drink at the same time. Don't drink for 5 to 10 minutes before a meal and wait 30 minutes after eating.

  • Use smaller utensils and plates to control portions.

  • Use caution when introducing new foods. Introduce one new food at a time.

  • Vary the foods you eat. Variety is important in meeting nutritional needs and keeping it interesting.

  • Focus on nutrient-rich foods. Get the most nutritional bang for your calorie buck.

  • Take small bites. Each bite should be about the size of a pencil eraser.

  • Chew, chew, chew!

  • Eat slowly. Take 20 to 30 minutes to finish a meal.

  • Eat protein first. It will make you feel full longer.

  • Avoid high-fat and fried foods.

  • Avoid simple sugars. This includes candy, cookies, cake, and so on.

  • Listen to your body and don't overeat. Learn to tell the difference between being full and being satisfied.

  • Use a food diary. Keeping track of what you consume makes you more aware of what you're eating, and if you should have a problem, your surgeon and dietitian will want to know what you have been eating.

  • Take your multivitamins/mineral supplements and any other supplements as directed by your surgeon.

Visualizing Post-Weight Loss Surgery Portion Sizes

Your portion sizes will need to decrease after your weight loss surgery. You won't always have a food scale or measuring cups handy, though. This guide helps you visualize appropriate portion sizes, so you can avoid eating too much after weight loss surgery:

  • 1 cup cereal = a baseball

  • 1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables = a baseball

  • 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons avocado or peanut butter = a golf ball

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, salad dressing, or mayonnaise = a poker chip

  • 3 ounces chicken or other meat = a deck of cards

  • 3 ounces fish = a checkbook

  • 1 slice of bread = a cassette tape

  • 1 baked or sweet potato = a computer mouse

Understanding and Avoiding Dumping Syndrome after Weight Loss Surgery

Dumping syndrome is a condition that may happen to you if you've had gastric bypass surgery. It's extremely unpleasant, but you can avoid it if you stick to the recommended post-surgery diet.

Dumping syndrome usually causes the following symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Lightheadedness

  • Cold sweats

  • Abdominal cramping

  • Weakness

  • Fast heartbeat

Dumping syndrome occurs after you have eaten foods that are high in sugar, fat, or sometimes dairy, or consumed high-calorie liquids. When you're avoiding foods that are high in sugar, watch out for the terms sugar free and no added sugar. There's a big difference! Sugar free means it has no sugar at all. No added sugar doesn't necessarily mean no sugar. Some foods, like fruit, have natural sugar. Natural sugars don't tend to be as problematic as added sugar, but you still need to dilute fruit juice 50/50 with water, particularly if you're a bypass patient (though it's a good idea for everyone, just in terms of calories avoided).

Read ingredient labels and avoid foods with the following undercover sources of sugar:

  • Honey

  • Dextrin/dextrose

  • High-fructose corn syrup

  • Fructose

  • Glucose

  • Sucrose

  • Galactose

  • Fruit juice concentrate

  • Cane syrup

  • Lactose

  • Maltose

  • Turbinado

  • Brown sugar

  • Molasses

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