Top 5 Tips to Avoid Dehydration
After Bariatric Surgery

water tips: small and big water bottles

Your stomach is smaller after bariatric surgery and chugging 64 ounces of fluid in one sitting just isn't happening. These pro tips to avoid dehydration are helpful in keeping you from a post surgery return trip to the hospital.

You see, your body’s need for fluid doesn’t change just because the size of your stomach is reduced. 

Dehydration is the #1 cause of readmission post op. And who wants frequent flyer miles at the hospital?!

Top 5 Tips to Avoid Dehydration

#1: Say Hello to Alkaline Water

alkaline water

Think water is just bland and tasteless? No wonder you have trouble staying hydrated!

It's time to upgrade to the good stuff! Water may all look the same, but don't let appearances deceive you. It doesn't all taste the same.

pH Matters

The pH level (1-14) plays a huge role in determining its taste. Alkaline water, with a pH level above 7.0, is the key to unlocking a whole new world of flavor.

If you test drinking water- bottled or tap- with pH drops (like you use to measure pool water), you can physically see the difference.

So say goodbye to the days of barely tolerating water, and hello to a newfound love for hydration. Trust me, once you've tried alkaline water, you'll never go back. Its one of my top tips to avoid dehydration...Because if you like water, you'll drink more water!


  • If you aren't a good water drinker because you "never acquired the taste for it," drink alkaline water.
  • If you were a "good water drinker" before surgery, and are having trouble post op because "water tastes funny," drink alkaline water.

Track Record Speaks for Itself

I have a perfect track record of converting self proclaimed "water haters" to consistent "great water drinkers" after suggesting alkaline water.

And once you realize you're a convert, you can easily have a machine installed at your tap so you don't have to lug those heavy water bottles and jugs anymore!

Are you ready to taste the difference? 

#2:  Meet Your New BFF

A Reusable Water Bottle.

A water bottle (or two, three, or four) is your new best friend on the journey to staying hydrated.

INVEST in a bottle. You're more likely to keep track of it! Disposable water bottles are too easy to leave behind. We've all been there...Start a bottle of water, don't finish it, then lose it, then get another. It makes it impossible to keep track of how much you actually drank.

So ditch the disposable water bottles and invest in a reusable one that fits your lifestyle. Not only is it better for the environment, it takes the guesswork out of your fluid status.

Choose a Water Bottle You Can't Resist

The bottle you choose to drink from makes a BIG difference in how much you drink...or don't drink.

Sometimes it's just as simple as picking a great color, a shape that fits just right in your hand or your cup holder, or the right cap/lid that makes drinking easier. 

There are endless reusable water bottles to choose from. You're bound to find one (or a few) you love!

Small and Frequent is Key

When it comes to hydration, small and frequent wins over large and overwhelming.  

It's easier to drink smaller bottles, more frequently, versus larger bottles. A smaller bottle is less overwhelming.

  • 4, 16oz bottles are easier to drink than 2, 32oz bottles or 1, 64oz bottle 

Don't believe me? Try it and see!

Carry Your Bottle With You Everywhere

You can't drink what you don't have. 'Nough said.

#3: Drink Other Acceptable Fluids


Think water is the only option for hydration? Think again, my friend! While water is still the boss of all beverages, there are plenty of other low-calorie, sugar-free drinks (under 10 calories) that can help you reach your daily fluid goal of 64oz.


If everything is tasting "a little too sweet" for your post op taste buds, try these tips to avoid dehydration by going au natural or diluting things a little:

  1. Ditch the artificial sweeteners and go for beverages with natural flavors that will make your taste buds spa water.
  2. Cut back (not necessarily out) on the flavor drops.
  3. Give your sugar-free drinks a lighter taste by diluting them with water or ice.

No need to limit yourself to just water. Hydrate in style! 

Pro Tip:

Water or any low calorie, sugar free beverages "count" toward the 64oz daily fluid goal.

#4: Sip, Sip, Hooray!

Sip, don’t gulp. Drinking too fast can cause stomach pain, bloating, nausea, or vomiting after surgery. 

You must be wondering then, how to fit 64 ounces of H2O in that tiny tummy of yours without chugging like a champion?

Here's a smart solution:

  1. Make it a goal to sip 1 ounce of fluid every 15 minutes. Repeat until you reach 64 ounces.
  2. Doing the math? .

Drinking 1 ounce every 15 minutes = 4 ounces per hour = 16 ounces in 4 hours = 64 ounces in 16 hours

So sip, sip, sip all day long in the early post op period! With time, drinking larger volumes at once will become a breeze.

Pro Tip:

Use a child sippy cup in the beginning. If you're a guzzler, it will force you to sip!

 #5: Have a Plan

“Failing to plan is planning to fail!” Plan to drink a certain amount within a certain time frame.

This requires knowing:

  • How many ounces your water bottle/glass is
  • How many bottles/glasses you need to finish each day to total at least 64oz
  • What time you need to finish each one

Like this:

Water Drinking Schedule

6am-10am: 16oz bottle

10am-2pm: 16oz bottle

2pm-6pm:16oz bottle

6pm-10pm: 16oz bottle

To Help Stick to Your Plan:

1. Set a Timer to Remind you to Drink:

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Thirst is NOT the correct cue. Simply drink because you have to…even if you’re not thirsty.

2. Stay Accountable by Using an App:

  • Hydro Coach
  • WaterMinder
  • iHydrate

My Personal Hydration Strategy

  • I have four, reusable water bottles, each 16 ounces.
  • Each one is a different color!
  • I fill them all up in the morning, because honestly, if I don't, I won't stop to do so.
  • I know exactly when each bottle needs to be empty.
  • I drink them in the same color-coded order every day.

It's a well-choreographed routine.

What I Do:

6am-10am: Yellow bottle 1st- A bright sunny color to start the day. 

10am-2pm: Green bottle 2nd- A healthy color to remind me to eat healthy green foods during the day too! 

2pm-6pm: Orange bottle 3rd- An energetic color to get me through the afternoon. 

6pm-10pm: Lavender bottle last- A nice calming color to help me end the day. 

Kinda silly, I know…but I have to tell you…It works like charm!! 😉

Tips to Avoid Dehydration:

Q: What About Caffeine, Carbonation, and Using a Straw?

A: Get the low down here.

Q: Do You Have Any Other Water Tips?
A: Yes! See my video tutorial on Fluid Drinking Strategies for more tips that cover the common post op barriers to drinking.

Hydrate away!

Like This Info? Allow Me to Join You on Your Journey!
Credible, Professional Advice and Inspiration Delivered to Your Inbox:
Subscribe to Tiny Tummy Tips Newsletter

You might like these