Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
10 Commandments of Bariatric Eating

Although the small details of the post bariatric diet guidelines vary between surgery practices, there are some universal principles that everyone agrees on.

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
1. You Shall Stay Hydrated 

Seems simple, doesn’t it? Drink at least 64 ounces of low calorie, sugar free, non carbonated beverages every day. (Not everyone agrees on caffeine.) Easier said than done when you have such a tiny stomach. How to fit such a large volume into such a small space?

Have a strategy.

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
2. Don’t Drink Your Calories 

Bariatric surgery controls portions of solid calories, not liquid calories. That’s because liquids pass through your stomach quickly. Translation: You can drink lots of calories without ever feeling full. 

Drinking soda pop, loaded coffee drinks, sugar sweetened sports drinks, and juice, etc. is a fast path to slowed weight loss or weight regain. Stick to drinks with less than 5-10 calories like these.

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
3. You Shall Eat Your Protein First

Protein is the foundation of the bariatric diet for a number of reasons.

You don’t necessarily need a lot more protein than you would have otherwise needed in life before surgery. But, with a smaller stomach, the protein takes up a larger percentage of the space in the stomach so there’s less room for other foods to fit in.

Eating your protein first helps guarantee you get what you need before you get too full. Start on protein shakes, then gradually add mushy, soft, then solid food protein sources.

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
4. You Shall Take Small Bites

Take bites only as big as a pea, bean, or pencil eraser to lessen your chances of vomiting or causing an obstruction.

Pro Tips:

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
5. You Shall Chew Thoroughly 

Chew each bite until it’s applesauce consistency. This will help slow your pace of eating, and will lessen your chances of vomiting.

Chewing also helps you enjoy your food more. So chew, chew, chew away!

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
6. You Shall Eat Slowly and Mindfully 

A MUST to assure you don’t overfill your stomach and cause vomiting. Putting your fork or spoon down between bites is just one of the Top 10 Mindful Eating Tips.  

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
7. You Shall Stop Eating as Soon As You Feel Full 

Eating slowly and mindfully is the key to getting this “commandment” right. Just one bite too many can be like “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Just one bite too many can lead to hours of distress.

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
8. You Shall Stay Accountable

Everyone does better with another pair of eyes on them. Accountability can take many forms: follow up appointments with your surgery practice, working with a dietitian, journaling, support group meetings, finding a weight loss buddy, etc. There's no wrong form of accountability except not being accountable. This is a critical factor important for long term success. 

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
9. Manage Emotional Eating

If you eat when you’re stressed, bored, sad, mad, lonely, etc… know that these feelings aren’t going to go away just because you have bariatric surgery. You’ll still want to eat when you’re stressed, bored, sad, mad, lonely, etc. after surgery too! After all, it's stomach surgery, not emotional surgery!

That’s ok. But having a new way to handle stress, boredom, sadness, anger, loneliness, etc. is important.  Emotional eating is a common cause of slowed weight loss or weight regain.

Post Bariatric Diet Guidelines:
10. You Shall Take Your Daily Bariatric Vitamins

Nutrient deficiencies are possible whether due to eating a smaller amount of food, or malabsorption caused by your surgery, or both.  

The vitamins you buy in a drug store/grocery store aren’t made for a person whose anatomy has been surgically altered as it is with bariatric surgery. You’ll usually require levels of vitamins and minerals higher than what an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement has. 

Bariatric specific vitamin/mineral supplements are formulated with higher levels of the specific vitamins and minerals you need. (affiliate link)

The Bottom Line

There are no standardized guidelines for the bariatric diet, so there are some differences in the recommendations between surgery practices. However, these 10 "Commandments" are universally accepted, fundamental principles of eating after weight loss surgery.

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