After weight loss surgery, you’ll need to follow a special diet.
Immediately after surgery, you’ll be put on a liquid diet. Once your gut is working properly you can move on to soft or ground-up foods, and finally to normal foods. You’re likely to have restrictions or limits on how and what you can eat or drink and how much.
You’ll be able to slowly increase how much you eat over time, although it’ll always be important to:
- eat small, frequent meals and not skip meals
- chew your food slowly and completely
- avoid eating while distracted
- stop eating when you feel full
- drink liquids at least 30 minutes before or after eating
- be aware of your calorie intake, including drinks
- avoid foods high in fat or sugar
- take vitamin and/or mineral supplements, as recommended
- make exercise part of your daily routine
- get at least 8 hours of sleep per night
- continuously re-assess your food intake and ensure you’re maintaining healthy habits.
Your dietitian’s role
Your dietitian will play an important role after weight loss surgery. A specialist obesity surgery dietitian can support you as you get used to the effects of the surgery. Your dietitian will monitor your nutritional status, your blood glucose levels and help you plan for life after the surgery. They’ll teach you how to change your diet and eating habits and remind you to take your nutritional supplements.
It can take several months to learn to listen to your body to know when you’re hungry and/or full. Your preferences towards a certain food may change, which can be frustrating for some people, so talk to your dietitian if you’re having trouble. You may find that you can no longer eat large meals, and you may not be able to finish your meals.
Dumping syndrome is a condition that occurs in some people who’ve had weight loss surgery. It’s caused by food moving from your stomach into your small intestine too quickly. It usually happens after you’ve had a meal that’s high in sucrose (sugar) or fructose (sugar found in fruit).
Dumping syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhoea, flushing, dizziness, rapid heart rate, sweating, hunger, fatigue and weakness. Your doctor can do tests to diagnose it and prescribe changes in diet and/or medication to relieve it.