Following a procedure of obesity surgery, in particular a sleeve gastrectomy, it is essential to adopt a new lifestyle, to benefit from a stable and durable result and avoid complications. Among the strict new rules to respect, we have those related to food: how should you eat after a sleeve? What are the quantities during meals? And which foods should be avoided? The answers follow in this article.
Eating after a bariatric procedure must be done in phases. The important thing is to allow the body to get used to the changes, to gradually find comfort during meals, and to avoid pain and complications.
Here is the program that is generally followed by patients after a sleeve gastrectomy. However, patients should keep in mind that each person is unique. You should pay close attention to the state of your stomach, and you should stop eating immediately when you feel full:
After surgery: following your bariatric surgery, while you are still in the clinic, you can only take food in the form of clear liquids: water, herbal tea, tea, clear vegetable broth…
During the first 4 weeks: the food will be liquid, you will be able to consume smooth soups, thin liquid yoghurts, and liquid compotes.
Weeks 5 and 6: you will be able to start eating a variety of foods, but only blended. Little by little, you will be able to add purees and diversify the blended foods. During this period, your diet will be semi-liquid and sugar-free.
Week 7: you will be able to start eating vegetables and chopped meats, the food should be soft.
Thereafter: you can gradually return to a normal diet, while paying attention to your sensations and your digestive capacities by consuming each food.
One of the major changes following a sleeve gastrectomy is that you will only be able to consume small quantities at meals. You will feel fuller more quickly since the volume of the stomach has been considerably reduced. But this reduction in the amount of food is necessary in order not to risk dilating your new stomach, and to avoid discomfort and digestion problems.
You will be able to divide your daily diet into 6 foods per day, but you must wait at least 2 hours between each meal.
A little tip: use small dessert plates, so you will have an idea of how much you should not exceed at each meal.
In addition, you will have much less hunger during the day, since the part of the stomach removed during the operation includes the hormone that stimulates appetite. These are the mechanisms that will help you reduce the amount of food you eat and lose weight effectively over the long term.
After a sleeve gastrectomy, your surgeon and your nutritionist will tell you what foods to stop eating in order to avoid complications and new weight gain (and thus avoid returning to the clinic to have another obesity surgery).
Generally speaking, once the first few weeks are over, the patient can manage a little bit of everything: meat, vegetables, poultry, fish, fruit…
Fatty foods should be avoided, as well as all kinds of sweet food: pastries, sweets, etc. This prohibition also applies to soft drinks and any type of sweetened beverage. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided as much as possible, or even permanently banned.
But the most important thing is to take your time during meals, to take small bites and to chew well before swallowing.
Note that during the first few weeks after surgery, certain vegetables that are rich in fiber or cause gas should be avoided, but they can be reintroduced into your diet little by little afterwards; among these vegetables we find cabbage in all its varieties, as well as legumes, such as chickpeas, soybeans or beans.
In addition to strictly following the instructions given to you by your dietician and your surgeon, you will have to follow new rules and adopt new habits that will allow you to achieve the desired weight loss while enjoying maximum comfort and well-being in your daily life:
Pay close attention to the sensations given by your stomach: you should always be attentive to what your body and your stomach are telling you. If you feel that you are full enough and that eating more food will harm your stomach, then you should stop eating until the next meal. And if you feel persistent discomfort or pain in your stomach, then don’t wait and seek urgent medical attention.
Concerning drinks: as we have already explained, soft drinks and sugary drinks should be banned from your diet; you can very well replace them with vegetable juice or water that you can flavour (without adding sugar of course).
Do not drink before meals: following a sleeve gastrectomy, the goal when eating is to avoid uncomfortable situations and actions that may cause complications or vomiting; therefore, you should avoid drinking water before meals (about half an hour before meals), so that your stomach is not filled with water when you sit down to eat.
In addition to your new diet, regular physical activity: the rules of diet are extremely important following bariatric surgery, but in order to achieve the most satisfactory result possible, it is necessary to adopt regular physical activity, which will also help you stay healthy and trim. After your surgeon’s approval, you can gradually resume walking or jogging.