Reasons Why You're Not Eating After Gastric Sleeve, Bypass, or Band (And How to Fix Them)

If you've recently had bariatric surgery, you're probably expecting to feel full faster and eat less. But sometimes the opposite happens: you struggle to eat anything at all! Here are the top three reasons why you're not eating after gastric sleeve, bypass, or band surgeries, and how to fix them.

1. Nausea and Vomiting

Due to Surgery

The most common reason is nausea and vomiting (N/V), which can occur as a side effect of the surgery. And let’s face it, who can eat when the thought, sight, or smell of food makes you green in the face.

N/V be caused by the anesthesia used during the surgery, as well as the disruption of the stomach and intestines.

Due to “User Error”

N/V can also be caused by what I call "user error" - factors that are within your control to change:

  • Dehydration
  • Eating too quickly
  • Eating foods that are high in fat or sugar

Now who’s responsible for those choices, hm? Your surgery is simply a "tool." It's up to you to use it properly so you feel the best and get the best results.

The good news, is that these factors are within your control to turn around at any moment should you decide to do so!


Dehydration is a sneaky culprit. When you don't drink enough fluid, your stomach starts looking like a deflated balloon - the sides get stuck together, making it uncomfortable and nauseating to fit food in there.

Your stomach should ideally look like a small inflated balloon. When it's "opened up" like that, food fits in much more comfortably.

Even mild dehydration (not quite meeting your 64oz fluid goal) day after day after day can lead to the "deflated ballon" scenario.

Dehydration is additive. This means you don't get to start fresh with a clean hydration slate every morning.

If you fall short and "only" drink 50 ounces of water one day (vs the 64 oz goal), you're 14 ounces shy and need to make it up the next day. So you'd need 64 oz +14 oz (=78 oz) the following day. 

If you fall short day after day after day and don't make it up, you slowly head into dehydration territory.

Eating Too Quickly

Eating too fast is another common issue. When you don't chew enough, large pieces of undigested food end up in your stomach. Hello nausea.

It can also result in overfilling your new tiny tummy and obviously your stomach can’t handle it. Hello vomiting.

And if you're eating too fast because you're getting overly hungry, it's a sign of another issue: you may be leaving too long between meal times.

Eating Foods that are High in Fat or Sugar

Eating foods that are high in fat or sugar is a no-brainer. Remember why you had the surgery in the first place?

What to Do

Rule out User Error:

See your doctor. He/She may prescribe medication to help alleviate these symptoms or may advise you to stick to a liquid diet for a period of time.

2. Fear

Another reason why you’re not eating after gastric sleeve, bypass, or band may be fear.

Are you scared to eat because you’re:

  • Worried about experiencing pain or discomfort?
  • Scared of vomiting?
  • Scared of gaining weight again?
  • Or that you’ll stop losing?

What to Do

Fear not, my friend! These feelings are common, but the good news is that many of them are within your control.

Follow the tips above for steering clear of nausea and vomiting.

Regarding the fear over your weight, keep in mind this is a marathon, not a sprint. Trust the process.

Weight loss is an outcome; it’s the result of consistently making (mostly) good choices. Put all your thought and energy creating new healthy habits.

It could also be helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor who can help you work through any emotional issues related to food and weight.

3. Don’t Know What to Eat

Another reason why you’re not eating after gastric sleeve, bypass, or band may be uncertainty about what to eat. Bariatric surgery can be a real game-changer for your diet, and it can be difficult to know what foods are safe to eat and what foods should be avoided.

But don't worry, I got you!

Here’s where I swoop in to save the day:


And if you need a little extra personalized help, you can work with me.

The Bottom Line for Your Bottom Line:
Not Eating After Gastric Sleeve, Bypass, or Band

If you're having trouble eating after bariatric surgery, don't panic.

These 3 reasons - Nausea/Vomiting, Fear, and Not Knowing What to Eat- are common and can be easily fixed. Of course, see your doctor for an assessment too. With the right care, you'll be back to your bariatric diet in no time.

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