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Tips for Success print email
Changing your eating habits is a big commitment. And we want to do everything we can to help you succeed. These tips are designed to give you ideas, and encouragement, as you progress through the stages of your bariatric diet and continue with the lifelong changes that will help you achieve your weight loss goals—and improve your health.

Tips for creating your bariatric-friendly diet

1. Eat a balanced diet—Select nutritious food choices. Eat the protein portion of your meal first, and then, do your best to include a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains as your diet progresses.

2. Drink a minimum of 4 cups of fluid daily with a goal of 6-10 cups—Sip fluids slowly all day, at a rate of about ½ - 1 cup per 30 minutes. Choose mostly non-calorie beverages as well as limited amounts of low-calorie fluids such as skim milk and diluted, unsweetened fruit juice. Avoid drinking fluids 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after a meal or snack.

3. Avoid high-calorie foods and beverages—These will slow down or stop your weight loss.

4. Avoid sugar—Sugary foods can cause dumping syndrome and slow down or stop weight loss. You may use artificial sweeteners if you choose.

5. Select foods as tolerated—If you find that your body reacts negatively to a certain food, avoid it for a while, but not forever. Wait a month and try it again. Here are some tips to help with some commonly difficult-to-tolerate foods:
  • Tough meat—use a marinade or tenderizer
  • Fresh bread—toast each slice
  • Skins of fruits and vegetables–peel them off and enjoy fruits and veggies without the skin
  • Stringy vegetables—use a blender and strainer to separate indigestible fiber, but avoid celery
  • Membranes of oranges and grapefruit—remove them and enjoy
  • Coconut—Avoid

6. Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement—Take 1 tablet daily as prescribed for life. Ask your doctor if you may need additional supplementation.

7. Eat small meals 3 times a day plus 1-2 protein-rich snacks—Try to avoid grazing and snacking between meals.

Tips to remember at each meal

1. Eat at the table instead of in bed, in the car, or in front of the TV.

2. Eat small portions—Remember, your stomach is much smaller than it used to be. Eating small portions will help to prevent overstretching your new stomach pouch as well as side effects such as dumping syndrome (an adverse reaction to refined sugars, high-fat foods, and simple carbohydrates). Limit your portions size to ¼ - 1 cup per meal depending on your diet stage and ability to tolerate foods.

3. Eat protein first. The first half of each meal should be mostly protein, with a goal of 2-3 oz. of protein per meal. Finish with vegetables or starches.

4. Eat slowly—Take small bites of food. Each meal should take about 20-30 minutes. If your meals are taking less time, this means you're eating too fast. If they're lasting longer than a half hour, this may mean you're eating too much food at one sitting.

5. Chew foods well—Chewing your foods, especially meats, thoroughly will help to prevent symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and blockage of your stomach pouch. You'll need to avoid foods that are hard to chew—such as tough, dry meats, raw fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, and nuts and seeds—at first.

6. Stop eating when you are full—If you feel pressure or fullness in the area just beneath your rib cage, this is a sign that you should stop.

7. Avoid lying down for at least an hour after meals.

Tips for lifelong success

1. Make the commitment for lifestyle change—While surgery will trigger significant weight loss, you must do your part to maintain the weight loss by making lifelong changes to your eating habits. Choosing high-calorie and high-fat foods after surgery will only slow—or even stop—your progress. You need to make healthy choices and eat low-fat, nutritious foods most of the time.

2. Watch out for emotional eating—Identify emotional eating and learn how to deal with stress, loneliness, boredom, or the need for reward with other activities. Take up a new hobby, become more active, and change or avoid the situations that most trigger your desire to overeat.

3. Weigh yourself often—As you reach your weight loss goal, it's helpful to weigh yourself frequently. It can be encouraging to see how much you've lost. And it can also help you know when to make any needed adjustments if you notice the weight coming back on.

2. Keep active—Try to get some form of physical activity every day. Start slow, and work up to longer, more intense workouts as your fitness level allows. You'll find that regular exercise can improve your health as well as your self esteem.

3. Keep a journal of your progress—This will help you keep track of how far you've come as well as identify any early warnings that weight may be creeping back on. You can also use your journal to write down any negative reactions to certain foods as well as your daily meal plans and exercise routines. Bring your journal along to follow-up visits with your surgeon and dietitian to help give them an idea of how you're progressing.