One thing post-op patients must learn to do for after surgery is to sloooooow dooooooown while eating! Eating too quickly can lead to one bite too many and that one extra bite will likely result in nausea, possible vomiting, and stomach pain. We have some great tools and information to help ensure you slow down and enjoy your food.
Many patients find it helpful to use smaller utensils or even toddler utensils when eating to aid in taking smaller bites. It is much easier to chew your foods well when it is a smaller bite. Try putting your spoon or fork down between each bite to allow yourself plenty of time to chew well. It is also recommended you chew your food to “mush” or “applesauce” which can mean chewing each small bite about 25-30 times. Taking extra time to chew well can help ensure you slow down and recognize when you’re full and need to stop.
Eating off smaller plates such as saucers or salad plates can also help by limiting the amount of food in front of you. If there is less food you’re less likely to accidently overeat. Try eating your meals at the dinner table to avoid distractions which may cause you to miss your “I’m full” cue. Many patients report some type of a cue or signal from their bodies that tells them they’ve had enough. Signals such as a small hiccup, small burp, sneeze, nose itch, or just a “certain feeling” in their stomach are some patients have mentioned. Learning to recognize your signal or cue will take time and attention. Savor the flavor and enjoy the flavor of each bite you take! You may encounter foods tasting differently than you remember. Enjoy exploring foods you may now enjoy that you haven’t in the past.
Eating in a social setting can be challenging after surgery. Taking time to learn your “I’m full” cue can allow you to eat with friends or family and avoid potentially getting sick or feeling uncomfortable. Enjoy the conversation but don’t overdo it on the food!
Football season has arrived! It’s a fun and exciting time of year filled with football, friends and yes…food! Many tailgate foods are high in calories, fat and added sugars, but they don’t have to be! It is possible to eat healthy foods and still have fun at a tailgate party.
Eating healthy can be fun! You just have to mentally prepare yourself and have a plan so that you’ll be more likely to stay on track!
Bring your own dish
Fill up on non-starchy vegetables and lean protein sources!
- Black bean chili
- Turkey roll ups
- Deviled eggs made with plain greek yogurt versus mayonnaise
- Buffalo cauliflower bits
- Veggie tray with guacamole or hummus dip. You can also make dips using plain greek yogurt!
Don’t drink your calories
Alcohol and soda contain a lot of calories and sugar. Alcohol can alter cognition and make you more likely to make less healthy food choices and snack. Soda can also cause bloating. Make sure you are staying hydrated and drink plenty of water! Remember to wait 15-30 minutes before and after you eat.
Tailgating involves watching the big game, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around. Get up and move!
- Play yard games, throw a Frisbee, chase the kids, or toss around the football
- Walk around with friends and family and mingle or if there’s a dog around, walk the dog around or play catch
There’s always a lot of fun going on at a tailgate party. Remember to be mindful.
- Make sure to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and taste everything
- Pay attention to your portion sizes. Use small plates and/or bowls
- Practice bariatric plate distribution…50% protein, 25% vegetables, 25% starch
- Trust and listen to your stomach
Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss Receives National Quality and Affordability Recognitions
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee has recognized Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss with a Blue Distinction Center Plus designation in the area of bariatric surgery as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities demonstrate more affordable care in addition to delivering quality specialty care, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community, for patient safety and better health outcomes.
Jamie Carpenter, MS, RD, LDN, Bariatric Dietitian
Staying adequately hydrated post bariatric surgery can seem daunting since the stomach’s capacity is significantly reduced. The current recommendation is that patients consume 48-64 ounces (six to eight 8 ounce glasses) of low calorie fluids per day with the emphasis on water. It is recommended that patients SIP fluids throughout the day and NOT gulp or chug.
It is also recommended that patients wait a minimum of 15- 30 minutes before and after they eat before drinking fluids. It is especially important to wait closer to 30 minutes after they eat to prevent faster gastric emptying which can lead to dumping syndrome, nausea and vomiting. If a fluid and food are consumed too close together, then that food and fluid have to compete for space in that smaller pouch. If they drink too soon after eating, food can be pushed through the stomach faster and empty out of the stomach sooner and actually cause one to feel hungrier sooner as well. Another bonus to staying hydrated is that it helps decrease constipation and even decreases the risk of urinary tract infections.
Here are some tips to help our patients prevent taking a vacation from hydration!
- Invest in a nice water bottle (one without a straw so that extra air isn’t swallowed and avoid one with too large an opening to prevent gulping). Take it with you everywhere you go (i.e.: car, purse, work) to allow for more opportunities throughout the day to sip to the 48-64 ounce goal range.
- If tap water isn’t an option, keep a pitcher of filtered water or bottled water in the refrigerator. You can even add lemon or sliced cucumbers to add flavor!
- Choose non-carbonated, caffeine-free, low sugar, non-alcoholic beverages.
- Monitor your urine. If your urine is too dark/concentrated or you aren’t urinating at least every 4 hours after surgery, then you are not drinking enough fluids and are possibly dehydrated.
- Sip on an 8-10 ounce glass of water first thing in the morning to kick start your hydration for the day!
Anna Bryant, MS, RD, LDN, Bariatric Dietitian
Many patients will experience some degree of post-surgical hair loss. Most commonly this occurs between four and six months after having had bariatric surgery. The hair loss can often be caused by the rapid loss and stress the body will go through after surgery. This hair loss is called Telogen Effluvium and should continue no longer than six months post-op. The hair will grow back!
If your hair loss starts later than six months post-op it could be caused by a nutritional deficiency in biotin, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, zinc, or most commonly protein. It is very important to come to follow-up appointments and have blood work checked regularly to ensure you are providing proper nutrition for your body.
Ways to prevent or stop hair loss post-op include:
- Meet daily goal of 60 to 80 grams of protein each day.
- Take all vitamins and minerals as recommended
- Eat a variety of nutrient dense foods
Don’t forget you can always reach out to one of the Registered Dietitans in the office for help!
Anna Bryant, MS, RD, LDN Program Dietitian
For most of us eating out is something we do on a regular basis but for many post bariatric surgery patients it can be frightening. Don’t be scared, be prepared! I always encourage patients to view restaurant menus ahead of time if available. Most can be found on the internet. When you view the menu ahead of time and make your decision prior to going to the restaurant you are much more likely to stick to your healthy choice.
Most restaurants are happy to help accommodate any specific food requests you may have. Don’t be scared to ask how your food is prepared or what condiments may come with it. In the event that a restaurant is not accommodating to your special food requests just make a mental note to avoid that specific place next time you’re going out. Remember, you can always pack your own meal and take it with you.
Make sure you are aware of your portion sizes. Splitting the meal and bill with a friend is always a good option. A pre-meal doggy bad is also a great idea. When your food arrives at your table go ahead and box up the portion you will not be eating that way you’re not tempted to continue to nibble as you socialize. The last thing you want to do is overeat and get sick while you’re out!
Eating out for convenience or as a social event can still be fun post-op. Just remember to keep the above information in mind. Don’t be scared, be prepared!
Amir Caldera – Mendoza, Surgical Weight Loss Patient
I am 33 years old and I am 1 year and 3 months post Bariatric Surgery. I decided to do the surgery because I gained weight after my pregnancy. The excess weight left me feeling sad, frustrated, tired and depressed. People called me names like “big whale” and “three hundred.”
I tried dieting, exercise and I hired a personal trainer but nothing worked for me. I would always lose a few pounds that would come right back. Eventually I had enough and I decided to go to a Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss seminar. That night was the first day of my new life!
Two weeks before my surgery I weighed 210 pounds. I followed the directions from Dr. Virginia Weaver and proceeded with my liver shrink diet. The day of the surgery I weighed 199 pounds. After the surgery I continued to lose a lot of weight.
Today, I weigh 120 pounds and I feel great! I wear clothes that look good on me and make me feel good. I eat healthier, I quit smoking, I have more energy and my depression is gone. I want to thank Dr. Weaver and her staff for all their help and support!
I am a happy girl again thanks to the best decision I’ve ever made!
Amir Caldera – Mendoza
Weight Loss is one of the top “New Year’s Resolution” made in America each year but if you are post op from Weight Loss Surgery you have already been working hard towards your goals. Here are three things to do to stay on track but keep it simple.
- Choose one healthy habit to work on at a time, not five. Part of staying motivated means setting goals for yourself that you can actually achieve. It is overwhelming to take on too much at one time and too easy to get discouraged when you inevitably are not able to do everything perfectly. Hold yourself accountable with some small changes or one specific goal. I always recommend focusing on adding something healthy and “good” for you rather than banning anything. Once you have mastered a new change and it has become habit, move on to something else you would like to work on. Always give yourself grace for slip ups.
- Keep a Journal. This cannot be overstated. It does not necessarily have to be a food or exercise journal but that is certainly a good idea! Make your journal fun and something that inspires and motivates you. Speak kindly to yourself in your words and keep up with “Aha” moments and encouraging things that people say to you as well as goals you have, feelings about how your life is changing, and something you feel positive about or are grateful for each day.
- Celebrate small and large victories. Rewarding yourself can be a fun way to keep up your motivation. You know those things you would love to have but never buy yourself? At the end of a good week, treat yourself with experiences and non-food treats. In little ways and big ways make sure you pat yourself on the back for all the good you are doing and forget focusing on the “bad.”
After making this life-changing decision, you owe it to yourself to do everything you can to stay positive and motivated. All of the hard work you have been doing and good decisions you have been making will pay off and you will have the healthier lifestyle you have longed for that will improve the quality of your life for many “New Year’s” to come. Happy 2017! Make it a great one!
Losing the weight after having bariatric surgery is fun and exciting but that doesn’t mean it’s always consistent. Many patients will experience weight stalls or plateaus. This can be part of normal weight loss, unfortunately. For most patients it is frustrating and can be discouraging. Don’t be discouraged! Check yourself!
When weight stalls or plateaus happen, I always encourage patients to food journal. It can be very eye-opening. It forces you to really evaluate the foods you’re eating or not eating. Are you getting enough protein? Are you eating often enough? Are you snacking too often? Are old habits creeping back in?
The next thing I ask patients to look at is activity level. Are you setting aside time for structured activity? Is your body used to the activity you are doing? Sometimes starting a new exercise plan or just increasing the intensity of your current plan can make a big difference. If you are hitting the gym and feel like you’re building muscle then you may need to pay more attention to your measurements than the scale. Muscle is denser than fat so you may notice a difference in your measurements even if the number on the scale isn’t moving.
The next time you encounter a weight stall or plateau simply ask yourself these questions. Remember, the team at Saint Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss is always here to help!