Bariatric surgery involves physically changing the body, and the way you eat and drink. There are two main types of surgery performed: gastric banding and gastric sleeve surgery. Both involve reducing the size of your stomach to around a measuring cup size or 250ml, compared to a full-sized stomach that can hold up to 1.5L, or 6 cups! That’s a massive amount of difference! So you can understand why you feel fuller much sooner and don’t eat as much after having the surgery.
Before surgery there will be a million thoughts running through your mind, but here are some nutrition related points to help put your mind at ease. You will have appointments with the surgeon, some blood tests done, and see a dietitian to ready you for before and after surgery. An important part of getting ready for surgery is to complete a low calorie shake diet for 1-2 weeks prior to the surgery, which will clear your digestive tract and shrink your liver to make accessing your stomach easier, and making surgery safer.
Starting to make changes before going in for surgery makes things a lot easier on the other side. Good things to start doing include: sipping water all day instead of gulping down big glasses, having 3 meals a day, with a small snack in between if you need it, getting some smaller kitchenware that will make serving food look better when the portions are smaller, buying some chewable multivitamins (we can recommend good ones), and starting to prepare some dishes that you can freeze, blend, and eat afterwards.
After surgery, it won’t be back onto normal food straight away. There will be working through fluids and many different textures while your stomach heals and full foods can be eaten again. Suggestions will be made about textures and time frames, but you are important in determining what is working. Protein foods, such as meats, fish, and dairy products, will become the focus of your intake. It is important for helping you feel full, and maintaining lean muscle. Your new small stomach will leave you feeling full really quickly and can even leave you feeling not hungry at all. It is important to still consume small, regular meals and snacks, even when the amounts remain small.
Following up with the dietitian is as important as following up with the surgeon or doctor. They will ensure that you are eating and drinking appropriately. It is important to follow up regularly with a dietitian, to ensure that you are at your best nutrition potential, especially long term, so appointments are needed every few months.
Book in with us today, and ask about our bariatric package that includes visits, and can also include lots of other extras to keep you headed in the right direction.